71S Special Investigations

Welcome back. Thanks for joining us again today on commission, Ed. I’m Reed. Today we’re going to talk about a little bit of a mystery of a career field. These folks kind of operate in the background, but they are essential to successful operations, and that is the office of Special Investigations, or OSI.

Yes. These are the special investigators for the air force. They essentially function like a crime scene investigator, CSI, on behalf of the Air force, and are responsible for some of the more heavy topics that we have to cover here, such as the investigation of criminal activity, sexual assault, abuse. But they also do some other really important missions for the air force, such as investing terrorist activity or even doing some counterintelligence within the air force.

Yeah, that’s a really key point. Right. They’re internally focused. Their job is to make sure that the airmen that are a part of the United States Air Force are obeying laws, regulations, and are not insider threats. And that’s why it can get to be a pretty emotional and charged experience when you have to interact with some of our OSI agents.


Generally speaking, people are not very happy when they see or have to interact with OSI, which is unfortunate, because the people who fill these responsibilities are incredible professionals, very highly skilled, very highly trained. And my interactions with them have always been supremely positive. They’re humble, they’re professional and wonderful people to work with.

Yeah. And we can’t begin, again, to emphasize just how important it is that we are adhering to the own rules, our rules and regulation, that we are obeying the law, and that we’re keeping each other safe. As airmen, we have access to a lot of information that our adversaries want very much, and we need somebody paying attention and looking internally to make sure that we’re staying on the right side of that law.

Absolutely. And because this is such an important career field in that respect, it is extremely selective, very competitive to get into it. This is one of those career fields where they are going to select you. You don’t choose them.

You know, Colin, I was thinking about it. I don’t know that I’ve ever had a single student at officer training school that was going to be an OSI agent. I just don’t think that ever happened.

That doesn’t mean that it can’t happen, but it just shows how rare that you find the right fit of somebody who wants to not only be an officer, but then can also fulfill the role of being a special investigator within the air force.


Part of that training that’s required in order for you to become an OSI agent is an 18 week training course in Georgia, and it’s a federal law enforcement training program where you become qualified as a federal law enforcement agent. All officers that are in OSI are going to fulfill that training, and it’s incredibly challenging, and it needs to be given the heaviness of the material that they have to keep that they’re in charge of.

Absolutely. So after they finish their training there in Georgia, they can literally go anywhere, because we have Air Force personnel everywhere throughout the world. And anywhere that they go, there’s still going to be that potential for crime, terrorist activity, or some internal issues with counterintelligence.


They will lead almost immediately as well. They’re going to be leading a group of five to 20 similarly trained special investigators, and they’re all going to be doing the same job. That’s a really different dynamic than what we see normally with other career fields. Usually an officer and enlisted career fields can be very different, but in this case, they’re almost identical.


And the things that they’re going to be doing on a daily basis is doing interviews, investigating these allegations or criminal activity. They’ll be writing reports and generally trying to set up an environment where airmen feel safe and are willing to report anything that looks suspicious.

So both Colin and I, we’re not OSI agents, but we do have some contacts with some people that have been willing to come on our podcast. We’ll put a link in the description to that episode, and we’re more than happy to try and put you in touch with some people that can help guide you if this is something you’re interested in. It’s definitely not for everybody I know. For me personally, this is not something I’d be able to do. I already see enough darkness in the world doing my intelligence job. It’d be a lot harder if I was looking at who are supposed to.

Be the good guys.

But I’m sure grateful that these men and women are trained and professional and ready to do that job for us.


And even if you’re not interested in going into the career field, there’s still a reason for you to associate with these professionals, not because you did something wrong or you need to report something, but you may find yourself in a situation where you’ve been asked to investigate into a particular issue and you need some guidance from them. So, absolutely, you want to have a relationship with OSI that’s positive and will allow you to ask those questions and get the support that you need. That has certainly been my experience. There was a time while I was deployed where I was asked by my commander to investigate some pretty serious stuff that was going on in the squadron. And man, I am so glad that I had OSI at the ready to provide me that support and help while I went through that investigation.

Yeah, Colin, I’m glad you brought that up. These professionals are incredible resources and we hope that we can put you in touch with some of them so that you can get the help that you need. In addition, we hope that Colin and I are providing some content that is helpful for you along your journey to become an air force officer or to become a little bit better officer. Hit the links below like and subscribe. We’d love to hear from you. Anything else before we wrap up today?

Colin, always want to engage with you in the heritage room. Hear from you through email, through social media. Again, we love hearing from our audience and are so grateful that you would participate with us as we go through our own journey, as you go through yours on the path to becoming a better air force officer.

Thanks for tuning in to commission Ed.

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