My NCIS Career

NCIS Special Agent James A. Polk

The U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) is a federal law enforcement agency for the Department of the Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps. Its mission includes felony criminal investigation, counterintelligence, counterespionage, counterterrorism, cyber operations, force protection, and other security related issues, such as the protection of the high-tech Research and Development programs.

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I started my career with the agency in July 1986, when it was called the Naval Investigative Service (NIS). Thereafter, for 20 years, I hopped around the world, through Asia, Central America, United States, Europe, and the Persian Gulf region. In the United States, I worked in two large field offices, one in San Diego, the other in Washington, D.C. I also served on two forward deployed aircraft carriers, the USS Independence and the USS Kitty Hawk, the latter during Operation Iraqi Freedom. I specialized in counterintelligence and counterespionage. But I was always a criminal investigator at heart. As collateral duties, I served on Special Protective and Antiterrorism Teams (SPATS). I supported many dignitary protection missions, including a U.S. President, a U.S. Vice-President, a British Royal Family, and other military and civilian dignitaries, both in the United States and overseas.

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, I became involved in counterterrorism operations. I served my last NCIS mission in the Al Anbar province of Iraq as the Staff Counterintelligence Officer (SCIO) for the U.S. Marine Corps II MEF. In October 2006 I retired.

My career training started with a four-month basic course at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia. Thereafter, I attended myriad training from crime scene processing and homicide investigations to counterespionage and special surveillance operations. Before deploying to the war zone, I completed a four-week course in High Risk Operations Training.

NCIS ZodiacMy NIS/NCIS Assignments in Chronological Order

  • NIS Naval Station San Diego, California, Criminal Investigations
  • NIS Special Protection and Antiterrorism Teams (SPATS), U.S. West Coast
  • NIS Naval Training Center, San Diego, California, Criminal Investigations
  • NIS Yokohama, Japan, Regional Counterespionage Element
  • NIS Special Protection and Antiterrorism Teams (SPATS), Far East Asia
  • NIS Agent Afloat, USS Independence
  • NIS Yokosuka, Japan, Criminal Investigations
  • NCIS Washington D.C., Counterespionage Special Operations
  • NCIS Washington D.C. Headquarters, Office of Special Projects (OSP)
  • NCIS Washington D.C. Headquarters, Special Surveillance Team (SST)
  • NCIS Yokosuka, Japan, Supervisory Agent, Foreign Counterintelligence
  • NCIS Yokosuka, Japan, Supervisory Agent, Criminal Investigations
  • NCIS Agent Afloat, USS Kitty Hawk
  • NCIS Naples, Italy, Counterterrorism Special Operations
  • NCIS Staff CI Officer for the U.S. Marine Corps in Al Anbar, Iraq

Awards Received

  • Department of the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award for espionage investigation, code name Dragon’s Lair (June 1998)
  • CIA National Intelligence Meritorious Unit Citation for a counterespionage operation (March 2001)
  • Distinguished Service Award during Operation Iraqi Freedom, while serving in the war zone aboard the USS Kitty Hawk (2002)
  • NCIS Director’s Special Award for serving in the Strategic Counterintelligence Directorate in Iraq (2005)
  • NCIS Expeditionary Medal for high risk war zone mission in Iraq (2006)

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