At the direction of the Secretary of Defense, upon request of other senior OSD officials, or on his own initiative, the DoD SIOO conducts special inquiries into allegations of questionable or improper activities by DoD intelligence components. His staff of experienced professionals can move rapidly and focus on difficult or sensitive issues. The DoD SIOO is authorized to obtain specialized support if needed from the DoD components.

The DoD SIOO directs DoD components to investigate allegations of illegal or improper activities by intelligence elements. The DoD SIOO reviews and analyzes reports of questionable activities received from DoD intelligence components, the general counsels, and the inspectors general of the Joint Staff, Military Services, Combatant Commands, and the Defense intelligence agencies. Questionable activities of a serious nature are investigated and the results are reported to the Secretary of Defense and the Intelligence Oversight Board.