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Ten Years of Protecting the Nation

Area just outside SIOC control room.

Our strategic command center, which we call "SIOC," recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. Shown here, behind the glass, is one of its ultra-modern control rooms.

During a crisis, it’s the nerve center of the FBI—providing analytical, logistical, and administrative support to the investigative teams on the ground.

On a day-to-day basis, it collects and disseminates strategic information, assists senior decision-makers, and supports major field cases and tactical operations.

SIOC control room
SIOC’s main control room, which was recently named in honor of FBI emergency action specialist Juan Scott, who passed away in August after 17 dedicated years in the center
“It” is our Strategic Information and Operations Center, the FBI’s national command facility located inside our D.C. Headquarters. SIOC, as we like to call it, just celebrated its 10th anniversary last month.

Our “new” SIOC, christened in November 1998, is truly state-of-the-art. Teleconferencing capabilities connect us—24/7—to our field offices, Legal Attaché Offices abroad, other FBI personnel working overseas, and our federal partners. SIOC’s technology also allows for fast processing of terrorism, national security, and criminal-related information in order to get it to those who need it. And SIOC is connected to various databases inside and outside the FBI—a technological feat that makes information-sharing a lot easier.

Why do we call it our “new” SIOC? Because it has a predecessor—the smaller original SIOC, which opened in 1989. But as our mission in national security and international law enforcement expanded and we began handling more crises and special events as well as a broader flow of strategic information, we realized we needed something bigger. 

Architectural rendering of planned Director’s command staff/operations room.

Achitectural rendering of the planned Director’s Command Staff and Operations Room, base of operations for the FBI Director while in SIOC

Today’s SIOC is a 40,000-square foot facility that can handle up to eight critical events of varying sizes at any one time, while still maintaining its daily duties of disseminating information and supporting field operations. Inside its doors are 20 rooms, including crisis and operations areas, a control room, briefing and conference rooms…all equipped with the latest technological capabilities. Tying everything together are 70 miles of fiber optic cables and 35 miles of phone lines.

One of SIOC’s briefing rooms
SIOC's largest briefing room
The human touch. Of course, SIOC would not work without the dedicated people who staff it—both permanently and those assigned temporarily to our Crisis Action Teams. Right now, about three dozen FBI employees make up SIOC’s core group—agents, emergency action specialists, and telecommunications and electronics specialists. But during a crisis or major operation, SIOC’s ranks can swell to hundreds of people—including agents, analysts, and other professionals from the FBI along with representatives from federal agencies.

One of those dedicated SIOC employees was Juan Scott, who spent 17 years as an emergency action specialist before passing away several months ago. During last month’s 10th anniversary ceremony, a SIOC operations room was dedicated to Juan.

During the past 10 years, SIOC has been involved in hundreds of cases and special operations…from monitoring situations to all-out crisis management. Of course, it was a nerve center following the 9/11 attacks, but here are a few other examples:

  • The Y2K rollover and Borderbom (1999-2000);
  • The Olympics (in particular, Salt Lake City in 2002 and Beijing this summer);
  • The D.C. sniper case (2002);
  • Hurricanes Katrina (2006) and Ike/Gustav (2008);
  • Several national political conventions and presidential inaugurations (we’re gearing up for the next one in January); and
  • The Islamabad terrorist bombing (March 2008) that also injured four of our agents.

Over the next 10 years and beyond, SIOC will continue to manage crises, monitor special events, and serve as a 24-hour clearinghouse for strategic information…all in the name of protecting our nation.

- SIOC Fact Sheet
- Related story

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