Army CID’s DAC Plans for Year of Innovation

By Ronna WeylandDecember 21, 2022

Army CID's Director's Advisory Council
Members of the Army Criminal Investigation Division Director’s Advisory Council (DAC) met in-person for the first time during a two-day conference at Quantico, Virginia, Oct. 25 and 26. (Photo Credit: Ronna Weyland) VIEW ORIGINAL

The Army Criminal Investigation Division Director’s Advisory Council (DAC) met in-person for the first time during a two-day conference at Quantico, Virginia, Oct. 25 and 26.

CID Director Gregory Ford opened the conference with his expectations for the council and the way ahead for CID as it moves into year two of the transformation and focuses on innovation.

Ford said he is pleased how the flow of information has improved since the creation of the DAC and said the council has been helpful in identifying key issues in the field and focusing on developing solutions to get to a positive change.

Formed in November 2021, the DAC was created in January to expedite and streamline communication between the field and the Director. The experience on the DAC is diverse and includes active-duty and civilian personnel from every facet of CID encompassing a variety of law enforcement experience.

“The importance of the DAC is to strengthen the flow of communication between the field and the Director to identify critical issues affecting CID employees’ day-to-day operations, to seek out solutions to issues in concert with CID leadership, subject matter experts, and HQ Staff, and to be a conduit to provide information and ideas to decision makers,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Danielle Bishop, chairperson of the council. “The ultimate goal of the DAC is to identify issues, find solutions, and influence positive change to transform and modernize our agency to ensure our relentless focus on operational excellence, modernization, talent management and partnerships.”

When information is provided to Bishop from the DAC members, she solicits the individual sections with those questions or suggestions to both garner responses, but also offer feedback from the field that can be utilized to influence change within the organization. The issues can range from recommendations to changes in CID policy, to questions about the future of the organization, and everything in between.

Bishop said the in-person conference aided the DAC in further collaboration and allowed for members to meet face-to-face for the first time. The group typically meets once a month via virtual meetings.

During the conference, the 22 members present received updates and an overview from the assistant directors from various aspects of the headquarters to include the Information Management Directorate and the Cyber Directorate.

Special Agent Fiona Fuller, from the Carolinas Field Office, said the conference was an “excellent opportunity to communicate directly with the different sections,” represented from the CID headquarters.

“I gained an immense appreciation for their work and the significant efforts that are being made towards the restructure of CID and the betterment of our organization, aligning us more closely with our federal law enforcement agency partners,” Fuller said.

She has served as an active member of the DAC since June 2022 and was selected to serve as the DAC’s Vice Chairperson in early October. She will continue to bring forth suggestions, questions, or commentary from the field, but will also oversee the execution and development of the five initiatives the DAC will spearhead over the next year.

“Communication is key, and our constituents are relying on us to ensure that there are clear lines of communication between the field and the HQ,” said Fuller. “This meeting enabled me to obtain tangible information straight from the source, but also present valid concerns from the agents and share their recommendations on the way ahead.”

Ford also gave direction on some areas of focus for the upcoming year. These areas included identifying technical equipment, vehicles, and standardized equipment needed for all agents and identifying any training deficiencies and taking corrective action.

Special Agent Eric Wright, Fort Lee Resident Agency, Washington Field Office, said he hopes the agency continues to utilize the DAC as a direct point of contact from the field offices to the Director because he believes the council is helping agents resolve issues at a faster rate.

Wright, who has been a member of the DAC for five months, said, “The agency has invested a significant number of resources in enhancing the criminal investigative mission by adding civilian team members, hiring experts from a variety of fields, and have worked to ensure our agency is improving our investigative operations.”

He is also part of a smaller working group within the DAC and the team is working to review the CID purview and compare it with other Military Criminal Investigative Organizations (MCIOs).

He said the in-person conference allowed him to interact more with the DAC members representing the field offices from across the globe and see firsthand the desire for each member to improve the agency.

“Many of the DAC members had different opinions about the variety of topics covered, and it brought different perspectives to the table during group discussions,” Wright said. “It was refreshing to see everyone who serves on this all-volunteer committee are passionate about the agency and the criminal investigative mission.”

Special Agent Justeen Peters, currently assigned to the Central Texas Field Office, has been with the DAC since its inception earlier this year. She said the DAC is unique because it encompasses the organization across different job specialties and pay grades.

“The council gives all agents a way to bring forth their issues so they can be presented unfiltered to decision makers,” she explained. “This is not the same organization, and it is evident starting at the top.”

She said her generation, and those who come behind her, like having “all the information” and “knowing why we are doing something.” In the past, “information never really filtered down or if it did it was watered down.” She believes CID is changing to accommodate a better flow of information.

“We have to keep in mind and manage our expectations at the field office level that CID is still a part of the Army, which inherently comes with red tape and compounding policies,” said Peters. “The in-person DAC meeting left me with a broader perspective on just how monumental a task changing an entire organization is.”

One example of a monumental task pertains to the agency transforming from active-duty military agents to civilian 1811 agents.

“The Director is adamant about retaining as many military agents as possible during the transformation because he recognizes that retaining talent is what will make CID’s mission successful,” she said.

The flow of information goes both ways. If an issue brought forth by the DAC cannot be resolved or changed the DAC can communicate why back down to the field offices.

“The DAC only works if it is utilized,” said Peters. “We have formed working groups within the DAC focusing on certain initiatives. We represent (the agents), and if for some reason (the agents) feel more comfortable reaching out to a DAC member that resides outside of your AOR (Area of Responsibility), do it. At the end of the day, we are here to support the Director’s vision of transparency and progression.”

Fuller said she believes “CID is headed in a direction that guarantees growth and modernization.”

The initiatives proposed by the DAC include building the initial equipment issue for new CID agents as well as policy changes. Due to the ongoing changes throughout CID, the multitude of initiatives will vary in time and effort and will be researched, developed, and presented by the DAC.

Upcoming initiatives the council will focus on includes:

- Office of the Judge Advocate General (OTJAG)/Witness Lists/Testimony

- Career Maps (Military, Civilians (all 1800 series))

- Army CID Purview more in line with other MCIOs

- Internal Information Program

- Continuing Education for Agents

The DAC will continue to hold monthly meetings to discuss topics or issues brought to members from their areas. Also, members of the council often partake in online group chats covering different areas of interest and concern throughout CID.

Ford continues to encourage CID personnel to ask the DAC members questions, share ideas, and help develop initiatives to improve the agency.

“The DAC has matured since its inception in February this year and has members that represent all facets of the organization,” said Bishop. “They are dedicated to making a difference and improving the organization and devote time and energy to the DAC in addition to their daily duties.”

The DAC will continue to identify organizational and structural issues, find solutions, and influence positive change to transform and modernize the agency.