By Susan LeonardJanuary 31, 2014
FORT BELVOIR, Va. -- Brig. Gen. Phillip M. Churn, deputy commanding general for operations of the 200th Military Police Command, recently visited the Department of Defense Criminal Investigation Task Force (CITF) for a briefing about the command.
CITF, which is part of the 701st Military Police Group under the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, commonly known as CID, conducts worldwide criminal investigations of suspected terrorists and trains CID special agents to assist the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) with battlefield crime-scene processing and evidence collection at the point of capture. The task force was established in 2002.
To conduct terrorism investigations, CID special agents, often assigned to work in teams with analysts and attorneys, serve at CITF's headquarters at Fort Belvoir and in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
In Afghanistan, CITF teams assist U.S. military units with logistical security issues and the thefts of U.S. government property, and support Afghanistan rule of law operations.
In Guantanamo Bay, CITF teams assist the DoD Office of the Chief Prosecutor with investigations of suspected terrorists, including the detainees charged in the 9/11 attack on the United States and the USS Cole bombing in Yemen on Oct. 12, 2000.
Since Churn previously served as the director of the Afghanistan Detention and Corrections Advisory Team with Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435 and as the commander of the of the 333rd Military Police Brigade/Brigade Task Force for the Afghanistan National Detention Facility in Parwan, he said that he found it particularly interesting to learn how CITF provides reach-back assistance to the U.S. military in Afghanistan from its Virginia headquarters.
"It's nice to see the other end of the spectrum," Churn said. "This is a great organization with many talented people who are doing outstanding work and leveraging their talents to help develop prosecutions and provide support to the Army's combatant commands."
Churn, an Army reservist, added that he has known about CITF since he was first mobilized to Afghanistan and has been impressed with the unit, but wanted to learn more about it since more than half of CITF's military personnel are with the Army Reserve.
CITF has been training CID active-duty special agents, and Army Reserve and National Guard special agents, for deployments with SOCOM for the past two years and hopes to recruit and train CID special agents with the 200th MP Command for potential missions, according to Lt. Col. (Promotable) Cullen Wright, CITF commander.
While at CITF, Churn met with a group of special agents training to deploy with SOCOM in coming months. As part of their training, the agents concentrated on becoming more proficient in the use of weapons and night vision optics, and attended courses on cultural training, evidence-gathering, interviewing procedures, photography, land navigation, combat life-saving, medical evacuations and working with linguists. The agents also participated in numerous route marches of varying lengths in full combat gear and engaged in evidence-collecting exercises.
"What you're doing is impressive and crucial," Churn told the agents. "It's essential and my hat is off to you."
CITF also has linguists who review, analyze and catalogue documents and electronic media that was captured on the battlefield, and attorneys and analysts who review documents used in court hearings concerning "habeas" petitions filed by Guantanamo detainees.
Any CID special agents with the 200th MP Command interested in volunteering for future missions with SOCOM or in serving at CITF should contact Maj. Robert Elliott at firstname.lastname@example.org.