Corps of Intelligence Police School opened
Feb. 24, 1941
The Corps of Intelligence Police, or CIP, had been in existence since 1917, and CIP agents served both with the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe during World War I as well as in the United States. But after that war ended, a military drawdown ensued, and the authorized number of agents dwindled dramatically.
When Congress passed the Selective Service Act on Sept. 16, 1940, authorizing an increase in Army strength to 1,640,000 men in less than a year, the CIP had only 42 trained investigators with a mission of providing internal security for a force of millions.
Two problems faced the Corps — finding qualified personnel and training them. The Secretary of War issued an order to open a CIP Investigators Training School in Washington D.C. Located in a single room at the Army War College at Fort McNair, the school accepted its first students on Feb.24, 1941.
Soldiers were recruited who were between 22 and 33, had at least a high school diploma (college education preferable, with training in law or accounting) and had completed basic military training. Officials hoped potential agents would already have previous experience as investigators in some governmental or law enforcement agency.
The authorization jumped from 42 to 188 personnel. Maj. Garland Williams reported for duty as the school commandant and CIP chief, and the school opened its doors.
Students learned principles of observation and description, espionage and counterespionage, bombs and “infernal machines,” undercover work and other investigative topics. Sixty-one separate courses and practical problems were listed in the course of study for the first class. Thirty-nine men successfully completed the first course; nine failed.
On Oct. 7, 1941, the school moved to Chicago and its name was changed to CIC Investigators Training School after the CIP became the Counter Intelligence Corps in January 1942.