3 December 2020
“Becoming an Agent was the best decision I’ve ever made,” said Corey Bell, Staff Sergeant. Counterintelligence is an activity aimed at protecting an agency’s intelligence program from an opposition’s intelligence service. A U.S Army Counterintelligence Special Agent is attributed to investigations, operations, and also conducting surveillance on several entities inside the Army. There are five different objectives to Counterintelligence in a whole: identify, detect, exploit, disrupt, and neutralize FIE and insider threats and to safeguard our national assets.
“In the late ’90s, there was a rise in the amount of Americans selling secrets to foreign nations and it started to weaken national security,” said Special Agent Michael Degnan. When the amount of information being sold to foreign countries rose, that is when the jobs in the Counterintelligence field spiked. A lot of people took it as an opportunity to help their country.
The training for a Counterintelligence Special Agent is an 18 week course in Fort Huachuca, Arizona. The only other location to become an Agent is in Dam Neck, Virginia.
“I was recruited while stationed in South Korea. Then I had to complete an application packet and once submitted, waited to be selected. I attended the CounterIntelligence Special Agent course in order to become qualified,” said Degnan. Potential recruits have to be 20 years or older in order to attend basic combat training and must qualify for a top-secret security clearance. Approximately 40% of those that attend training will not make it through the course.
It takes maturity, adequate computer knowledge, and good typing skills to be able to effectively communicate the threat to the National Security.
“It requires a lot of research, talking to people, patience, and good communication skills,” said Degnan. With excellence at Fort Huachuca and successful completion of all training requirements, one is eligible for worldwide assignments or they’re also able to take part in a tactical, operational, or strategic counterintelligence unit. One may employ a variety of techniques they assist in. The typical US Army Counterintelligence Special Agent salary is $80,544. US Civilian Counterintelligence Special Agent salaries at the U.S. Army can range from $49,496 to $103,623. Opportunities in the private sector, local, and state governments have increased by almost 100% since 9/11. Every facet of the United States has Counterintelligence to protect their interests. Those individuals that start in the Counterintelligence field usually will work in that field, on average for 40 years.
Counterintelligence Special Agents within the U.S. usually dress in professional civilian business attire. In tactical environments, they typically dress in tactical civilian attire or attire that supports the operational security of their mission. Given the broad range of CI activities, specific assignments will dictate what clothing is acceptable, which can be civilian attire local to the world of operation. When forward deployed to combat environments and attached to military units on specific missions, agents may wear the military Combat Uniform but with rank insignia replaced with Department of the military Civilian “U.S.” insignia for investigative purposes. Although agents could also be issued other weapons on special assignments, they’re commonly issued a typical Sig Sauer M11 or M18 compact pistol as their primary weapon. For combat environments, special agents also are typically issued the M4 carbine.
In conclusion, the role of the Counterintelligence Special Agent is vital to the success of our National Security. Without protection to our information and technology, the United States would not have a place on the world stage like we do today.
“If I were to give advice to a potential recruit coming in this MOS, I would say watch your typing skills. If you could improve your typing skills that would be easier, I knew. Have good interpersonal skills, be willing to work with people, be open-minded, flexible, and be able to manage your time,” said Robert Everly, Sergeant First Class.