An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Spotlight | Jan. 19, 2024

Michele Starostka's Professional Journey

Special Agent-in-Charge

I began my law enforcement career in 2003 with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and achieved diverse experience working across various mission sets.  As a result of the experienced gained from working in a myriad of various mission sets throughout the years, I was called to serve in leadership.  I had the honor of serving as the Assistant Special Agent in Charge for the National Security Directorate for the NCIS Far East Field Office in Yokosuka, Japan (2020- 2023).  My leadership assignments, both professional and personally, have helped shape and mold me into the Army CID leader I am today. 
Today, I have the honor of serving as the Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Army CID Western Field Office.  In this capacity, I am responsible for the execution of Army CID’s operational mission, management of criminal investigations, as well as program management for Army CID offices at Joint Base Lewis McCord, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, and Fort Wainwright. The area of responsibility for this position includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, and Canada (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba).

As I have grown within my law enforcement career, I’ve discovered that many of the attributes of not just female agents but agents in general in the day-to-day roles as criminal investigators are characteristics and skills also needed in leadership roles.   Such as being a good listener who is collaborative, transparent, and empathetic. 

I’ve also discovered that your team is the most important aspect (or backbone) to a leader’s success. As a leader, building a high-performing team is crucial to mission success.  You do this by creating an environment that motivates, mentors, coaches, and supports your team to perform their best.  This requires the ability to set clear expectations and empowering your folks.  My team is responsible for an incredible mission, and consist of some talented agents, investigative analysts and professional support staff that truly anchor the Western Field Office. Showing up for this team is one of the main priorities for me as a Army CID leader.

Celebrating the victories and giving grace during the mistakes is important. Creating a feedback culture and allowing that safe space for your team to have candid but respectful conversations.  Providing the transparency needed even when it’s tough and promoting honesty, integrity and humility among your team is vital.


For me successful leadership is like training and completing an ultra marathon, there is a moment in every race where you can either quit, fold, or say to yourself, I got this and keep going. "You don't have to be so tough that it doesn't hurt, you just have to be tough enough not to quit." –Unknown