DAF OSI, Det. 223 keeps Team Tyndall safe from cyber, fraudulent activities

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Cheyenne Lewis
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The U.S. Military is constantly being tested by adversaries from every angle. While traditional war with service members running into battle might come to mind, nowadays, Americans today must also worry about threats online. The Department of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations’ job is to identify, exploit and neutralize threats across multiple domains.

The DAF OSI focuses on criminal, terrorist and intelligence treats. OSI, Detachment 223 at Tyndall Air Force Base conducts felony investigations every day to ensure good order and discipline is upheld across the installation, even in the cyber realm.

“Every location, on and off base, has their own problems,” stated Special Agent April Fohey, OSI Det. 223. “Crimes happen everywhere and people just aren’t paying attention to it.”

OSI Det. 223 can conduct criminal investigations related to felony crimes, which are frequently perpetrated online. As the internet has expanded and access to online websites becomes easier, children are at a higher risk to encounter possible predators than ever before. According to the FBI, more than 50 percent of victims of online sexual exploitation are between the ages of 12 and 15. The Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force Program is a network of over 5,400 federal, state, and local law enforcement organizations, dedicating to investigating, prosecuting and developing effective responses to internet crimes against children.

“Military families would be surprised to know how many predators are online for the purpose of identifying, grooming, and attempting to meet up with children to engage in sexual activities. It’s our job to take every measure possible to prevent adults from preying on innocent children,” said Special Agent Logan Fleming, commander, OSI Det. 223. “In an effort to identify, locate and arrest predators before they can harm any children, we’re standing up an ICAC program here at Tyndall.”

In order to not only neutralize, but prevent future cyber related crimes, Det. 223 must also consider where Tyndall will be in the coming years. More specifically, agents must consider what assets Tyndall will have and how it makes the base a valued target. One of the more common crimes Tyndall OSI investigates is economic crime, or fraud. This is due to the increased number of contracts and money being handled electronically to build the “Installation of the Future.”

“Because of the rebuild from Hurricane Michael, this is going to be the base where lots of fraud cases are happening,” Fohey added. “With the million-dollar contracts that are being handled here, it’s inevitable. We’re doing quarterly fraud working groups, regular briefings with the contracting officers and regular audits in order to identify and prevent any fraud.”

These are just a few examples of the many types of investigations Tyndall’s OSI currently handles.

“We already have F-22 Raptors and will be getting the F-35 Lightning fighter aircraft in the very near future,” Fleming added. “Those are 5th-generation fighters that the adversaries would like to collect information on in order to use, replicate or sell that information to other adversarial countries. Our job is to prevent foreign intelligence officers, co-optees, or anyone else from collecting sensitive or proprietary information from our installation or any other Department of Defense affiliated organizations in Northwest Florida.”

As Tyndall, the surrounding area and the world shifts into a new era of information warfare, more of our defenses are shifting towards virtual attacks with OSI playing a major role. Airmen and civilians can assist by notifying OSI of any potential suspicious activities, on or off-line. To make a report with Tyndall’s OSI Det. 223, call 850-283-1111 or submit an anonymous tip to www.osi.af.mil/Submit-a-Tip/.