WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus swore in the fourth civilian director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) at a ceremony aboard the Washington Navy Yard Feb. 17.
NCIS Director Mark Clookie was selected after an extensive review and selection process, which included a series of interviews with senior leaders from the Navy, Marine Corps and Secretariat, and Mabus made the official announcement at NCIS headquarters Jan. 21.
Mabus opened his remarks by addressing the agency as a whole and recognizing the abilities and accomplishments of its people.
"You're a part of that first line of defense against espionage and against terror," said Mabus. "You are expeditionary. You go where Sailors and Marines are. You go where the issues are."
Mabus then recognized Clookie's wife, three children and two brothers for their support throughout his NCIS career and noted how service runs in the family. One daughter is an NCIS special agent, another daughter is with the Department of Defense, and his son is a recent graduate of the Citadel. One of his brothers is a retired NCIS special agent and the other is a retired NCIS analyst.
Mabus then focused on some of Clookie's characteristics that demonstrated his capabilities to lead NCIS.
"He grew up in the agency, understands the issues agents have out in the field, understands the situations that confront you on a day-to-day basis, understands what it takes to be an agent in a place like Djibouti, or deployed on a carrier strike group or somewhere where the situation is not ideal, but where the Navy and Marine Corps needs you," said Mabus.
Mabus added that given Clookie's background, personality and his approach to the job, he thinks NCIS is getting a great new director.
"He is absolutely the right person for this job today," said Mabus. "I fully expect him to guide NCIS in a way that is incredibly effective and exemplary in terms of how this agency is governed and how this agency helps us do the three incredibly important things that you do - preventing and solving crimes, protecting our secrets, and helping to counter those who are extremists and terrorists who would do us harm."
Clookie began his remarks by thanking everyone in attendance, and specifically acknowledging his family.
"This is a special day of thanks for me," said Clookie. "I am deeply humbled and honored by my selection to be your new director."
He also recognized NCIS Deputy Director for Operations Greg Scovel and NCIS Deputy Director of Management and Administration Ralph Blincoe for their dedicated service to NCIS and their leadership throughout their careers. He then talked about his expectations for all NCIS agents and employees.
"As we look to the future and make plans to build upon the great legacy of those who served before us, our core mission will not change. Everything we do ultimately focuses on protecting our Sailors, Marines, civilians, their families and their property from criminals, terrorists and spies," said Clookie. "We should all recognize the awesome responsibility placed upon our shoulders and live up to the task."
Clookie said he would like all NCIS employees to focus on four fundamental areas - integrity, accountability, courage, and teamwork. He suggested using the phrase "I ACT" to remember these key concepts, and for everyone to incorporate them into their daily duties.
He reminded all NCIS employees that they are important to the agency's mission no matter what role they fill.
"Whether you serve in headquarters or in a field office, or a remote office overseas, or at a forward operating base in an active combat zone, you are a critical part of the NCIS team," said Clookie.
Clookie said he plans to visit each of the field offices in the coming months so he can meet with all employees face-to-face.
"I want to hear your concerns and suggestions so that I can gain insight and ideas into how we can carry out our mission more effectively," said Clookie. "There are many challenges which lie ahead. Together we will address each one of these."
NCIS is a federal law enforcement agency that protects and defends the U.S. Department of the Navy against terrorism and foreign intelligence threats, investigates major criminal offenses and provides law enforcement and security services to the Navy and Marine Corps on a worldwide basis. The agency is comprised of approximately 2,500 total employees, including 1,250 civilian special agents, in more than 150 locations around the world.
For more news from Naval Criminal Investigative Service, visit www.navy.mil/local/ncis/.