The Importance of Insider Threat Awareness

  • Published
  • By OSI Public Affairs

Each September, the Office of Special Investigations (OSI), and partners across the federal government, participate in National Insider Threat Awareness Month.

This year’s theme, “Insider Threat and Cultural Awareness,” encourages promoting awareness and understanding of cultural differences within the workforce, organizations and individuals to avoid social missteps and prevent unintentional harm that may lead to increased risk of insider threats.

There is no environment immune from the threat posed by trusted insiders. Recent events demonstrate the need for coordinated Department of the Air Force (DAF) Counter Insider Threat efforts, as bad actors have had catastrophic effects on U.S. national security, DoD, and the DAF. All individuals in government service have a role to play in deterring, detecting, and mitigating insider threats.

The DAF counts on each of us to play a critical role in protecting our people, resources and capabilities.

“We all play an important part, and have a responsibility in, protecting the Department from the threat posed by insiders,” said Brig. Gen. Terry Bullard, Commander, Office of Special Investigations. “While OSI focuses on threats that originate both inside and outside of the DAF, this month we recognize those threats that emerge within our ranks - and the need to detect them before they can visit damage and pain on the nation, the department, those who serve, and our loved ones and communities.”  

Most insider threats can be spotted through deliberate identification of behaviors, which often elicit concerns in family members, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. Effective Counter Insider Threat programs rely on timely workforce reporting of concerning behaviors or potential risks indicators. This facilitates early intervention and assistance to the greatest degree possible and enables mitigation of risks where they persist. Report concerning behaviors and any risks that could potentially harm you, your fellow employees and our Department.

When an individual identifies a concerning behavior, it is imperative that information is shared with personnel or organizations who have the capacity or authority to act. Your security is our priority and early detection is paramount to our success. OSI, in partnership with the DAF Counter Insider Threat Hub, seeks to help the DAF get ahead of insider threats and assist insiders before they engage in a negative event.

OSI is responsible for pursuing threats to our Air Force from the outside, but as insider threat practitioners, OSI is also on the lookout for threats from within the force.

“If you recognize concerning behavior, please don’t hesitate and elevate it to your leadership or law enforcement as soon as possible,” General Bullard emphasized. “Your actions may save the lives of others or help preserve our very national security.”

Within OSI, concerns about insider threat activity should be reported to the Insider Threat Branch, to the anonymous web based tip line:

Be aware. Be alert. Be vigilant.