A Research on the Work Structure of the Federal Bureau of Investigation

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When people think of the FBI (or also known as the Federal Bureau of Investigation), what usually comes to mind is the crime fighting, drug busting guys that break the door down to a suspect’s house dressed in dark blue with guns blazing and bulletproof vests on; but that would be the stereotypical thought of an FBI agent. What people don’t really consider is all of the people that work as agents from behind the scenes, whether it’s recruiting, doing the research or informing the action agents of what they’re up against.

The FBI was founded in 1908 by Attorney General Charles J. Bonaparte, where it was decided that the FBI would be the investigative force for the criminal justice system. The head guy is chosen by the President, who then sends him or her to be confirmed by the Senate for a term of ten years. The FBI headquarters is located in Washington D.C., where they provide support and direction to about 56 field offices in big cities and about 360 smaller offices (aka “resident agencies”) in less populated areas. There are virtually 35,000 people working as agents in multiple categories; such as language specialists, intelligence analysts, information technology specialists and scientists. As for whom the FBI agents work through, a lot of the time it’s through U.S. Attorneys. The FBI is overseen by a few entities-Congress watches them through Oversight Committees in the Senate and House keeps an eye over the FBI’s budget appropriations, programs and certain investigations. In cases, the results of investigations are looked over by the judicial system during court proceedings. The FBI is responsible to the Attorney General within the Department of Justice. An Interview through Milwaukee’s FBI Agency with Allan Wipperfurth brought to attention that the FBI doesn’t necessarily “report” to anyone but the Attorney General, it is more of a job that goes hand in hand and collaborates with other agencies such as the CSI (Crime Scene Investigators) and the NSA (National Security Agency).

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The duty of the FBI is to protect and defend the U.S. against foreign and terrorist intelligence threats, provide a large sense of leadership and to enforce the criminal laws of the United States to protect it and its citizens. Certain skills are required to become a laborer of this field and because of how demanding FBI agents’ jobs’ are, they must without a doubt possess one or more of the skills listed here: IT expertise, Military experience, investigative experience, physical sciences, diversified experience, law experience, accounting and finance skills, and foreign language proficiency. The Bureau has its own intel in everything, surveillance, IT, auto mechanics, accountants…if someone were to be skilled in any of those few categories they’d be a great use for the FBI. There was one skill that Allan made very clear was a necessity for working in the criminal justice field, whether it be for the FBI, the Police Department or any other branch-communication. “Interpersonal skills are absolutely the biggest part of this job, everything about this field revolves around good communication on your part, and receiving good communication on everyone else’s part.” There are so many categories of people that work under the general name of the FBI; Allan, for one, is a Special Applicant Coordinator that meets with anyone wanting to join the Bureau for the next ten years…he is required to go out to job fairs, high schools, colleges and info sessions to spread the word of what the FBI really consists of in career choosing. He also educates those already in the FBI that are looking for special skill sets to get into or get better at. “People don’t think about all of the ground work we do here for the FBI, when people think of us, all they think of is the action part of it and that’s why I like to go around and educate those interested as to what working for the Bureau actually consists of,” stated Allan during our interview. There are four programs that the FBI deals with, the Counter Intel Program which is punishing people who try to steal things belonging to the military, those trying to gain knowledge of government secrets. The second one is the Counterterrorism Program handing any group that wants to overthrow the government. The third program is the Ciber Program stopping criminals from committing cyber crimes, and last but not least, fourth is the Violent Crime Program-mostly battling white-collar crimes, fraud, street gangs etc..

Training for this job choice all depends on what branch someone would like to be a part of-as Allan described to me, there are two career paths: Special Agents (with about 13,000 employed) or Support Employees (consisting of about 23,000 employees). Education and training sessions will vary depending on which path would be chosen by said person. Certain qualifications have to be met to be able to become a Special Agent, like the person MUST be a citizen of the United States or of the Northern Mariana Islands, there is a minimum age of twenty-three years old, but turning thirty-seven years of age by the time said person is appointed isn’t allowed. A four year college degree is required, a valid driver licence, and that person must be willing to be positioned anywhere the FBI directs them to. Demanding terms, but for good reasons. Some fields they recommend an interested person start looking at would be Engineering, Law and Accounting; it’s critical to have knowledge in each of those categories to become an agent. Once selected into the Bureau, there is a twenty-one week FBI Agent Training held in Quantico Virginia, it is a top-of-the-line training facility to get instruction in practical application exercises, physical fitness, tactics to use on the defense and instruction in the use of firearms. Additional to that, there will be more training over the course of this career to keep up to date with the latest techniques and developments in the technological sense. To become a support employee of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the amount of schooling all depends on what area of expertise a person would choose to excel in for their career. For examples sake, a Forensic Accountant will be used. A Bachelor’s degree in accounting must be present, certain certifications from the CPA (Certified Public Accountant), CFF-AICPA Certified Financial Forensics), CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner), or CIA (Certified Internal Auditor) would be preferred as well. There should be a background work experience of public accounting-audit, forensic accounting or even government accounting. Forensic accountants undergo a six-week training course with a focus on the Bureau’s programs and systems. Also, financial investigative techniques and topics, legal training, available investigative resources, and expert witness testifying techniques are offered in the training course as well.

Mr. Wipperfurth finds his job both appealing, and not. He stated that the most frustrating thing about his job is how largely accountable he (and his office) are in all aspects. “Simple tasks, even, become extremely difficult because of the oversight of everyone around us. There is constantly someone watching us! Our every move, our whole depth for bureaucracy.” When asked about any benefits to criminals, his face kind of turned red as he replied with this statement: “In no way, shape, or form are we ‘benefitting’ criminals. The ONLY people we benefit would be the victims. End of story.” Although that may be how he thinks of it straight on, in a some way the criminal justice system does benefit the criminals. The FBI teaches them a lesson to help them (if they choose to accept the help and take the punishment seriously) get through the rest of their lives without problem.

Through this interview and assignment, I was able to get a good insight as to everything that I would need to know about entry into the Bureau, how the FBI fits into the criminal justice system, the duties and skills and a little bit of personal opinion from an FBI support worker. This information I will now have to give me a kick-start to more in-depth research on the job and everything amounting to it; making a decision as to what I’d like to do for a career. I do think I would prefer to be an action agent over a support employee, though, just because of my personal traits and my want to physically go out and be right in the action. I enjoyed this assignment very much, and look forward to continuing my research on the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


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A Research on the Work Structure of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2023, May 02). Retrieved from


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