The United States Army Criminal Investigation Command (USACIDC) is a federal law enforcement agency that investigates serious crimes and violations of civilian and military law within the United States Army.
Headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, it was established as a major Army command in 1971. Worldwide, the organization has slightly less than 3,000 soldiers and civilians, of which approximately 900 are Special Agents.
The acronym "USACIDC" is used to refer to the Army command itself, while criminal investigation personnel and operations are commonly referred to using the shortened acronym "CID", which has its history in the original Criminal Investigation Division formed during World War I and is still retained today for continuity purposes.
With the onset of World War II in December 1941, the armed forces rapidly swelled in size and the Army once again became a force of millions, and the need for a self-policing law enforcement system rematerialized. However, by early 1942, investigations of crimes committed by military personnel were still considered to be a "command function" to be conducted by local military police personnel. The Office of The Provost Marshal General felt that the agents in the Investigations Department were not properly trained for criminal investigations, the only investigations taking place at the time being personnel security background investigations for individuals being considered for employment in defense industries. As the Army had expanded, the crime rate had risen, and local commanders did not have the personnel or resources to conduct adequate investigations. By December 1943, the Provost Marshal General was charged with providing staff supervision over all criminal investigations, and a month later in January 1944, the Criminal Investigation Division was reestablished under the Provost Marshal General's Office. The organization exercised supervision over criminal investigation activities, coordinated investigations between commands, dictated plans and policies, and set standards for criminal investigators.
After the war, the CID was once again decentralized, with control of criminal investigations transferred to area commands in the 1950s and further down to the installation level in the 1960s. A Department of Defense study in 1964 entitled Project Security Shield made clear that complete recentralization of the Army's criminal investigative effort was needed in order to produce a more efficient and responsive worldwide capability. Beginning in 1965, criminal investigative elements were reorganized into CID groups corresponding to geographical areas in the United States. In 1966, the concept was introduced to units in Europe and the Far East. However, this arrangement did not fully resolve all the coordination problems, and in 1969, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Agency was established to supervise all CID operations worldwide.
As the agency did not have command authority, in March 1971, Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird directed the Secretary of the Army to form a CID command with command and control authority over all Army-wide CID assets. On September 17, 1971, the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command was established as a major Army command, vested with command and control of all CID activities and resources worldwide.
Additionally, CID may perform the following special missions:
As criminal investigators, CID Special Agents typically dress in professional suits, business/casual attire, or comfortable clothing when appropriate for their daily investigative responsibilities. Due to the nature of their work, undercover assignments dictate further variations of attire to support specific undercover mission requirements.
When deployed to certain combat environments, and during other special times and circumstances, CID agents wear Army Combat Uniforms, replacing rank insignia with subdued versions of officer "U.S." collar brass and sometimes wearing "CID" brassards on their upper left arms.
CID agents continue to be soldiers of the Military Police Corps. For official photographs, and certain duty assignments, they wear the uniforms, rank and insignia of any other MP soldier of their respective ranks.