LTG Harry E. Soyster, USA

December 1988 - September 1991


Soon after his arrival at DIA, General Soyster directed the Defense intelligence effort in support of the successful US operation in Panama in 1989. This clearly demonstrated the benefits of increased cooperation and planning that had been achieved between DIA and operational force planners when compared to the 1983 Grenada incursion.

In 1989, the Agency provided threat data on "hot spots" throughout the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, and weighed the impact of changes in the USSR, Eastern Europe, and to a lesser degree, Asia on the rest of world. Intelligence support was provided to decisionmakers concerning the final Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, events surrounding the downing of two Libyan jets, the civil war in Liberia, the Flight 103 investigation at Lockerby, Scotland, and the Tianamen Square incident. Weapons acquisition issues, counternarcotics, counterterrorism remained a high priority throughout the Defense Intelligence Community.

The end of the Cold War resulted in a reevaluation of the intelligence mission throughout the Defense Intelligence Community as a new era began with the fall of the Communist Party in many East European countries, the reunification of Germany, and ongoing economic reforms in the region. Emphasis was placed on improved management of Department of Defense-wide intelligence production, but reduced resources threatened to impact negatively Agency objectives and manpower levels. Organizationally, General Soyster emphasized the functional manager system as a programming mechanism for working Unified and Specified (U&S) Command problems. The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communication, and Intelligence relationship to DIA was enhanced with authority, direction, and control prerogatives. The Deputy Director was converted to a civilian position.

Iraq's invasion on 2 August 1990 of Kuwait resulted in a coalition of UN forces that resolved to force the Iraqis from the country. DIA warned of threat in late July. An intensive and extensive 24-hour operation went into effect in DIA with daily tailored intelligence support to coalition forces, battle damage assessments, participation in daily press briefings, and the full range of printed product support to numerous consumers. All phases of the Agency's workforce and more than 2,000 people contributed to Operation DESERT SHIELD. DIA established a Department of Defense Joint Intelligence Center to integrate intelligence produced by all sectors of the Community. No combat commander has ever had as full and complete a view of his adversary as did US and coalition field commanders during DESERT STORM, and it remains as one of the greatest examples of intelligence support to operational forces in modern times. For its achievements during the crisis and conflict, DIA received its second Joint Meritorious Unit Award from the Secretary of Defense, personally presented by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin L. Powell, on 26 June 1991.