Ray has over 30 years’ experience as law enforcement and intelligence officer. He served for 23 years as an FBI Special Agent; 8 as a Strategic Planner with the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC); and 4 as a state Homeland Security Advisor.
Ray’s FBI career included 15 years investigating foreign espionage, major drug trafficking organizations, organized crime and National Security matters. He also served as a member of the FBI’s New York office SWAT team and was appointed Commander of the team from 1998 to 2001. Under Ray’s leadership, the NY SWAT team assumed an expanded role, being involved in high risk domestic arrests and providing overseas security and enhanced investigative capability for FBI teams deploying internationally in response to terrorism.
*Ray Holcomb and other FBI agents at Bagram Air Base in 2003
*Ray Holcomb with John O’Neil, ASAC(assistant special agent in charge) in charge of counterterrorism and national security of the new york division of the FBI. This photo was taken days before 9/11.
In 2001 Ray accepted an assignment to FBI Headquarters (HQ) where he was selected by then Director Mueller to stand up a new counterterrorism unit: the FBI Fly Away/Rapid Deployment Team. The team provided rapid deployment counterterrorism capability, responding to events domestically and worldwide. As the lead On-Scene Agent, he supervised teams that deployed to Turkey, Indonesia, Yemen, West Africa, and Afghanistan. The team received the National Foreign Intelligence Community’s Meritorious Unit Citation for achievements in the war on terror.
In 2003 Ray was promoted to Section Chief of the FBI’s Operational Response Section which managed the Fly Away Team, the FBI’s Military Liaison/Detainee Unit and the National Joint Terrorism Task Force, overseeing operations and budget of nearly 60 state-based terrorism task forces. In addition to overseeing Special Agents detailed worldwide to the various Unified Combatant Commands, the Military Liaison/Detainee Unit had oversight of the FBI’s interrogation of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. The Operational Response Section comprised a full-time complement of 58 Special Agents and 12 analysts.
At the direction of the Assistant Director of the Counterterrorism Division, Ray deployed to Afghanistan, serving as the On-Scene Commander of FBI personnel and resources stationed throughout the area of responsibility (AOR). His statement of findings led to the expansion of the FBI mission in the Afghanistan Theatre and established the rules for joint interrogation procedures. As Unit Chief, and later Section Chief, Ray also co-authored the complete revision of the FBI’s Rapid Deployment Team Manual which outlines guiding principles for activating and deploying investigative teams worldwide.
After retiring from the FBI, Ray assumed a position as Strategic Planner with the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). While serving as a Strategic Planner and ‘Red Cell’ member Ray provided guidance to the U.S. Government on counterterrorism issues, including countering violent extremism and conducting an in-depth analysis of counterterrorism preparedness on all levels of government.
Ray also had a leading role in the creation of the Joint Counterterrorism Awareness Workshop Series (JCTAWS); a two-day tabletop exercise bringing together all federal, state and local partners to assess the readiness of urban areas to respond to a complex terror attack similar to what occurred in Mumbai in 2008.
While Ray was a member of the NCTC Directorate of Strategic Operational Planning his team received the Director’s Award in 2008 for its work on the Hezbollah threat; the Director’s Award in 2009 for its work on the Mumbai Table Top Exercise; the Director’s Award in 2011 for its role in the development and management of the JCTAWS; and the Director’s Commendation in 2013 for the development and management of the European Counterterrorism Lessons Learned Workshop attended by ten nations, held in 2013 in Germany.
In 2014 Ray became the Homeland Security Advisor to the State of Delaware where he served directly under then Secretary of Safety and Homeland Security Lewis D. Schiliro.
In 2012 he was selected to be a guest lecturer at the Army Commandant’s National Security Program, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. Ray holds a Juris Doctor Degree from Seton Hall University School of Law. He practiced corporate and international law for seven years.