The U.S Air Force (USAF) has officially designated the Department of Defense (DoD) Cyber Crime Center (DC3) as a Field Operating Agency (FOA) effective Jan. 15.

Since it was founded 23 years ago, DC3 has operated as a unit aligned under the DoD’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI). Following its designation as an FOA, DC3 is now aligned as an entirely separate agency under the Inspector General for the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force.

“DC3’s recognition as an Air Force FOA serves as a testament to the substantive evolution of its overarching capabilities and purpose,” said Jeffrey Specht, executive director of DC3. “I have every confidence this new structure and alignment will not only serve as a catalyst for DC3’s continued evolution to best meet Air Force and DoD mission needs, but will enhance our capacity and focus on amplifying effects for those we’re charged to support.”

DC3 got its start in February 1998 when then-Deputy Secretary of Defense John Hamre issued a directive instructing the Air Force to establish a joint DoD computer forensics laboratory and training program. Since its creation, DC3 has evolved and expanded its capabilities, services, and size, to address not only the “changing needs of its founding DoD law enforcement and counterintelligence stakeholders but those of the DoD and the U.S. Intelligence Community at large.” Over the years DC3 has worked to meet the “fast-evolving mission demands in cybersecurity and critical infrastructure protection, document and media exploitation, and counterterrorism.”

“Throughout its history, DC3 has delivered unparalleled digital and multimedia forensic services, training, analysis and technical solutions to problem sets in cybersecurity and critical infrastructure protection, law enforcement, counterterrorism and counterintelligence,” said OSI Commander Brig. Gen. Terry L. Bullard. “As an independent agency, we know that DC3 will continue this proud tradition and will to grow capabilities to safeguard our nation and enable key allies. OSI has been and will continue to be a proud partner in DC3 endeavors, and we look forward to the innovation and successes to come.”

Currently, DC3 has a roster of more than 500 military, civilian, and contractor personnel. Its focus is providing highly specialized digital and multimedia forensics, cyber training, cyber forensic and analytic tools development, cyber analytics, and cyber vulnerability sharing in support of the DoD, its national and international mission partners, and the Defense Industrial Base.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.