Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. --
Mark Clookie, the director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, traveled from Washington D.C. to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune recently to discuss with Marine Corps and Navy senior leaders how NCIS can best use its unique capabilities to help commanders accomplish their missions. “We just want to be clear on what they see as their priorities.” says Clookie.
“It is important for me, as the director to get out and see our field offices and meet with our people,” said Clookie. “It’s too easy, as I’m up in Washington, D.C., to get caught up in the politics and the business of running the organization, and thus lose sight of what it is we’re really all about. Coming here and meeting with command representatives helps me to understand and remind myself that we’re about protecting Marines, sailors, their families, their secrets and their equipment.”
NCIS is the primary criminal investigative and counterintelligence arm of the U.S. Department of the Navy. The NCIS force consists of approximately 2,500 personnel worldwide, in 165 locations in 41 different countries.
Clookie said more than 1,000 NCIS personnel have voluntarily deployed and worked shoulder-to-shoulder with the Marines and sailors currently deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, the horn of Africa and many other locations overseas, blending law enforcement capabilities and tactics.
“It’s (the NCIS) force that has to answer to all sorts of threats, whether they be criminal, foreign or internal threats such as the Fort Hood incident,” said Clookie. “It’s a big mission and we’re spread very thin.”
NCIS' history reaches back to 1882, but Clookie said the popular television show, “NCIS,” has definitely made more people aware of the agency's existence.
“The show is actually very entertaining and popular worldwide,” said Clookie. “If anything, it paints one aspect of our mission, much broader than criminal investigation.”
His visit to Camp Lejeune was not his first time aboard the base to familiarize himself with the needs of the Marines and sailors. Clookie added that the field office has done a great job partnering with the base and the local law enforcement. Strong relationships with the community means protection for the troops and their families from things like gang influence, drugs, internet and sexual predators and crime.
Clookie added his firsthand observations from his visit to Camp Lejeune would help him better address, evaluate and support the NCIS mission.
“We owe it to our Marines and sailors that when they’re out fighting the good fight for us, protecting our liberties and doing the mission of the country, not only to we need to do what we can to preserve them and protect them, but they need not to be worried about their families at home,” said Clookie.