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Squadron’s commander shares her thoughts on new position

Lt. Col. Andrea O’Connor assumed her position as commander of the 10th Field Investigations Squadron at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base on July 20. O’Connor previously served as director of the Air War College Preparatory Course, International Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Alabama.

Prior to her assignment at Maxwell AFB, she was the commander of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations Detachment 111, Edwards AFB, California.

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The Office of Special Investigations is the Air Force’s only investigative agency that handles military-related, felony-level crimes, counterintelligence matters and any criminal activity that involves fraud on Air Force installations in the Unites States, overseas and deployed locations.

AFOSI is similarly structured to the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Military parallels are the Naval Criminal Investigative Services (Navy) and the Criminal Investigation Division (Army).

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The 10 FIS’ area of responsibility includes the states of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania and some Air National Guard and Reserve locations in Kentucky.

O’Connor shared her thoughts about her new position at Wright-Patterson AFB:

What are your initial priorities and goals as the new commander of the 10 FIS?

O’Connor: Over the past month, I’ve been gaining a good appreciation for what our squadron’s role is here at Wright-Patterson. We have a great working relationship with the 88th Air Base Wing.

My first priority is to continue to be a good partner and provide good support to the wing as well as all the units in our area of responsibility.

My second priority is to identify and neutralize any potential threats on base that could affect Air Force families or Air Force assets.

How would you describe your leadership style?

O’Connor: I always try to be open-minded. Our mission, quite frankly, is to find the facts. If the facts were always just laid out very clearly there would probably be no reason to have AFOSI agents or investigations! I also work to ensure our team presents a professional image to our partners and organizations on base.

If we don’t promote an environment of professionalism, courtesy and trust, it would make it hard for people to come to us with sensitive information. It is important to me and the rest of my team to make individuals feel that they can come to us and we will take their concerns seriously.

When does a situation get elevated to your level?

O’Connor: It depends on the situation. Felony-level matters with an Air Force nexus are automatically elevated to us. Often, people are not sure what to do with their information. If someone sees or knows something, they can always report it to us – we may need to refer them to another organization or law enforcement.

For matters that involve non-military members, we have great relationships with all the local law enforcement organizations. If a situation occurs off base and has an Air Force nexus, we may run a joint investigation with local law enforcement or the appropriate state or federal agency.

When you’re not working, how do you spend your time?

O’Connor: Right now, we are still getting to know the area and need to find a good pizza place! Also, we purchased an older home and are currently fixing it up. We are also interested in exploring the bike trails, and we enjoy camping.

Is there anything you would like to add?

O’Connor: AFOSI is always on the lookout for outstanding Airmen who are interested in a challenging, rewarding career! Often, people think we only want to recruit people who understand criminal justice or have an investigative background. This is not true.

AFOSI needs agents who have a passion for working with other people, are willing to ask tough questions, have a curious, inquisitive personality – we can teach you the rest. It doesn’t matter what career field you are.

If you are interested in learning more about AFOSI, check out https://www.osi.af.mil/ and select “AFOSI Careers” or stop by and visit us here locally.

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