The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) is the federal law enforcement agency charged with conducting investigations of felony-level offenses affecting the Navy and Marine Corps – that is, crimes punishable by confinement for more than one year. NCIS also performs investigations and operations aimed at identifying and neutralizing foreign intelligence, international terrorist, and cyber threats to the Department of the Navy. In addition, it provides warning of threats and specialized defensive force protection support to U.S. naval forces around the world.
NCIS is comprised of some 2,000 personnel in over 40 countries around the globe. The organization is roughly 90% civilian, and its cadre of federal agents – about half its total personnel – is 98% civilian.
Criminal investigation is at the foundation of virtually all the organization does, but the NCIS mission is broad. Transnational terrorism has been and remains a key focus area for the agency. The al Qaeda threat made clear to NCIS that merely reacting to crime – the traditional law enforcement model – was no longer adequate. After the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000 and the events of 9/11, NCIS adopted a proactive model of law enforcement and a new strategy for engaging the threat. Today, NCIS’ mantra is: “Prevent Terrorism, Protect Secrets, and Reduce Crime.”