Defense Criminal Investigative Service

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Defense Criminal Investigative Service
Seal of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service.
Seal of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service.
Agency overview
EmployeesApproximately 450
Jurisdictional structure
Federal agencyUnited States
Operations jurisdictionUnited States
General nature
Operational structure
HeadquartersMark Center, Alexandria, Virginia
Agency executives
  • Kelly P. Mayo, Deputy Inspector General for Investigations / DCIS Director
  • James R. Ives, DCIS Principal Deputy Director
  • Paul K. Sternal, DCIS Deputy Director, Investigative Operations
  • Vacant, DCIS Deputy Director, Internal Operations
Parent agencyOffice of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Defense

The Defense Criminal Investigative Service is the criminal investigative arm of the Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Defense. DCIS protects military personnel by investigating cases of fraud, bribery, and corruption; preventing the illegal transfer of sensitive defense technologies to proscribed nations and criminal elements; investigating companies that use defective, substandard, or counterfeit parts in weapons systems and equipment utilized by the military; and stopping cyber crimes and computer intrusions.


On April 20, 1981, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger established DCIS as a worldwide civilian Federal law enforcement agency that investigates suspected criminal activities involving DoD Components and DoD contractors. When DCIS was created, the criminal investigative functions previously assigned to the Defense Investigative Service were transferred, along with 100 personnel billets, to the Office of the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense (Review and Oversight). In October 1981, an initial cadre of 12 individuals of the DIS Special Investigations Unit began operating as DCIS special agents under the direction, authority, and control of the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense (Review and Oversight). DCIS was incorporated within the Department of Defense's Office of Inspector General when it was established in 1982.[1]

In 1997, DCIS became one of the first OIG investigative components to be granted permanent statutory law enforcement authorities comparable to the those possessed by the FBI. Upon passage of Public Law 105–85 (see Div. A, title X, § 1071(a)), DCIS special agents were granted the ability to carry concealed firearms, make arrests with or without a warrant, and execute search warrants. [2]


It is the obligation of the DoD Inspector General to "initiate, conduct, and supervise such...investigations in the Department of Defense (including the military departments) as the Inspector General considers appropriate" (IG Act Sec. 8(c)(2)) and to "provide leadership and coordination and recommend policies for prevent and detect fraud and abuse in...[DoD] programs and operations (IG Act Sec. 2(2))."


DCIS special agents investigate cyber crime within DoD.
DCIS special agents investigate cyber crime within DoD.
DCIS special agents protect critical military technologies.
DCIS special agents protect critical military technologies.

DCIS' current investigative priorities include:

Significant fraud and corruption impacting crucial DoD operations, with particular emphasis upon schemes impacting the health, safety, welfare, or mission‐readiness of U.S. troops.

Significant procurement and acquisition fraud and other financial crimes which result in multi‐million dollars losses, thus depriving DoD of critically‐needed funds that would otherwise be utilized to finance vital national defense initiatives.

Defective, substituted, counterfeit, or substandard products introduced into the DoD acquisition system, with particular emphasis upon allegations involving troop safety[3] and/or mission‐readiness.

Illegal theft, export, diversion, transfer, or proliferation of sensitive DoD technology, systems, weapons, and equipment, with particular emphasis upon allegations involving targeted foreign nations, organized international criminal organizations, or potentially hostile entities apt to utilize said items in furtherance of assaults against U.S. military forces.

Health care fraud committed by providers that involves (a) quality of care, unnecessary care, or failure to provide care to Tricare‐eligible service members, retirees, dependents, or survivors; or (b) significant direct loss to DoD's Tricare Management Activity.

Computer intrusions and other cyber crimes that result in (a) serious compromises of the Global Information Grid; (b) exfiltration of sensitive DoD data or large volumes of personally identifiable information pertaining to civilian DoD employees or service members; or (c) potential contractual violations on the part of a DoD contractor.


DCIS is led by the Deputy Inspector General for Investigations. The Deputy Inspector General for Investigations is cross-designated as the Director of DCIS. The Principal Deputy Director of DCIS reports directly to the Director and serves as the organization's second-in-command.

DCIS Headquarters is organized into two functional branches:

  • Investigative Operations
  • Internal Operations

Each branch is managed by an Assistant Inspector General who is cross-designated as a Deputy Director of DCIS.


DCIS is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, and maintains a presence in over 50 separate domestic and international locales.[4] Field offices are situated in the following locations:

  • Mid-Atlantic Field Office, Alexandria, Virginia
  • Northeast Field Office, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Southeast Field Office, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Southwest Field Office, Dallas, Texas
  • Western Field Office, Mission Viejo, California
  • Cyber Field Office, Alexandria, Virginia
  • Transnational Operations Field Office, Alexandria, Virginia

Each field office is overseen by a Special Agent-in-Charge who is responsible for overseeing multiple subordinate resident agencies and posts of duties located throughout the United States.

At present, DCIS maintains a presence in the following international locations:

Special agents[edit]

Pursuant to Title 10 of the United States Code §1585, DCIS special agents conducting, supervising, or coordinating investigations of criminal activity in programs and operations of the Department of Defense have the authority to execute and serve any warrant or other process issued under the authority of the United States; to make arrests without a warrant for any offense against the United States committed in the presence of that agent; and to make arrests without a warrant for any felony cognizable under the laws of the United States if the agent has probable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed or is committing the felony.

Authorization for special agents of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service to carry firearms while assigned investigative duties or other duties as the Secretary may prescribe can be found in 10 U.S. Code §1585(a).

Selection and training[edit]

DCIS special agents participate in firearms training at FLETC.
DCIS special agents participate in firearms training at FLETC.

To be considered for a DCIS special agent position, an individual must: Be a U.S. citizen, age between 21 and 37 years, pass screening, background investigation and have exceptional communication skills.

DCIS special agent candidates initially receive training at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) located in Glynco, Georgia. They attend FLETC's basic training course for special agents, the Criminal Investigator Training Program, which lasts about 12 weeks and represents the beginning of basic training received by DCIS special agents. Later, agents may return to FLETC to attend specialized training in contractor fraud, money laundering, computer crimes, advanced interview techniques, etc.

See also[edit]


  1. ^[bare URL PDF]
  2. ^[bare URL PDF]
  3. ^ In the event an investigation reveals potentially life‐threatening circumstances, the case immediately becomes a top priority.
  4. ^ "Department of Defense Office of Inspector General > Components > DCIS > Locate your DCIS Field Office". Retrieved 2019-06-20.

External links[edit]