QUANTICO, Virginia –
What does it take to join the Office of Special Investigations?
OSI may be the right fit for qualified individuals looking for a fulfilling and challenging career, said Special Agent Tamisha Turner, OSI HQ senior enlisted leader for enlisted recruiting.
“The enlisted force makes up the majority of our force,” she said. “We are unique because we employ Airmen with different skillsets from various Air Force Specialty Codes.”
Because of its comprehensive view of the Department of the Air Force, OSI offers opportunities for Airmen who may never have thought about serving in this realm before. In fact, according to Turner, recruiting Airmen from different career fields, is beneficial in many ways.
“Let's say we're running an investigation within the maintenance squadron, we may need to understand how certain processes work or how a person’s job title reflects what exactly they're responsible for,” Turner said.
That way, “we can consult with one of our agents that came from the maintenance career field, and they can educate us on those things to help with the investigation,” she said.
Recruiting enlisted talent throughout the Air Force, OSI can leverage a multitude of talents and experience, which overall helps advance our investigations, she said.
“Special Agents can provide insight into various investigations when they are familiar with the inner workings of various job backgrounds,” she said.
To date, Turner estimates that roughly over half of OSI’s total force is enlisted, including professional staff, who help with mission support and administrative tasks.
“OSI is constantly recruiting quality Airmen,” she said. “The target number for the enlisted force can vary each year depending on numerous factors. Now is a good time to apply for OSI duty.”
“People are retiring or separating from the military all the time. So, continuing the cycle of recruiting is key as far as our enlisted ranks are concerned,” Turner said.
First-Term Airmen (FTA)
OSI recruits enlisted personnel from all over the Air Force, Turner said the starting point for hopeful applicants is to know how to apply.
The first step is typically to apply online through the OSI Enlisted Agent Recruitment Portal. However, before applying, Turner recommends potential applicants review the basic information to ensure they are eligible to apply. If so, fill out an online application.
“Once we receive the application, we review it for accuracy and verify eligibility status
,. If everything is good to go, the applicant advances to phase 1, which requires applicants to complete and submit 12 to 13 documents within 45 days” Turner said.
Typically, OSI recruits FTA within their retraining window. Stateside-assigned first-termers may apply no earlier than the first duty day of the month during which they complete 35 months of their current enlistment (59 months for 6-year enlistees), but no later than the last day of the 43rd month of their current enlistment (67-months for six-year enlistees).
Meanwhile, overseas-assigned FTA must apply between 12 to nine months before their Date Eligible for Return from Overseas (DEROS) and must enter the 35th month of service (59th month for 6-year enlistees) on or before their DEROS.
Other Enlisted Personnel
This applies to enlisted in the ranks of senior airman (with less than six years in service), staff sergeant and technical sergeant (with less than 11 years in service.)
Technical sergeants with more than 11 years can apply on a case-by-case basis and should have command support before contacting their local OSI detachment for more information. Senior airmen who have not completed Airman Leadership School (ALS) can still apply; however, they need to complete ALS before attending training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.
The first phase takes roughly 45 days to complete, Turner said.
“After the recruitment team ensures all of the forms are ‘good to go,’” she said, “the applicant moves on to phase two.”
During the second phase, OSI officials contact the AFPC Assignment Functional who will coordinate with the applicant’s Career Field Manager (CFM) to request a conditional release from the career field. If disapproved, the process ends there.
If approved, Turner’s team will conduct law enforcement and financial record checks.
Additionally, AFPC places a code on the member’s record to prevent them from receiving an assignment during the application process. The application package is then sent to the local OSI detachment for the initial in-person screening, which consists of the initial interview and some required assessments.
If the detachment recommends the applicant for a full Agent Suitability Investigation (ASI,) they have 45 days to complete it.
When all background checks, documentation and other requirements are completed by the applicant and they are accepted into OSI, like any other AFSC within the DAF, where they are assigned will vary based on the needs of the organization,” Turner said.
“It’s all based on needs of the Air Force,” she added. “Some locations are busier than others with bigger caseloads. That drives unit manpower requirements at OSI units worldwide.”
“There are a lot of great things about the job,” Turner said. “There are also things about the job individuals should know before deciding. Potential applicants should do the research to find out as much as they can about what we do, our day-to-day operations.”
Turner also suggests talking with multiple agents because everyone has a different
work experience and perspective about the job as a Special Agent in OSI.
“When I speak to individuals who are interested, I try to encourage them to learn as much as they can about what we do before deciding to join the command,” she said.
As much as she wants to recruit new Special Agents, Turner is always realistic about what being a Special Agent entails.
“Whenever I do recruitment briefings, I make sure they understand OSI is not just about the cool and exciting stuff, carrying a badge and gun and wearing nice suits, etc.,” she said. “We encounter some unpleasant things and situations on the job.”
We also spend a significant amount of time on administrative things because we are required to document everything we do regarding our investigations and produce a report of investigation once it is completed. That's a huge part of the job. Organizational skills, good time management, accountability, good social skills, discipline, and integrity are some of the key qualities needed to be successful in the job.”
For Turner, joining OSI was the best decision she has made during her time in the Air Force.
“My expectations for being a Special Agent are realistic because we want to assist others in managing their expectations, so we can recruit the best people to fill the roles required for our mission,” she said.
(Editor’s note: If you have any questions on how to determine your eligibility to retrain into any career field, contact your base Career Assistance Adviser. Review the Enlisted Agent FAQ section of the OSI website to ensure you meet the minimum qualifications to apply, https://www.osi.af.mil/OSI-Careers/Enlisted/Enlisted-FAQ/. Enlisted Airmen interested in retraining into OSI should follow the link below or contact AFOSI.firstname.lastname@example.org.)