May 22, 2014 —
Prior to the opening of the Defense Intelligence Analysis
Center (DIAC) – now known as DIA Headquarters – in 1984, the agency was scattered
across the National Capital Region in buildings with varied safety and security
concerns resulting from age and poor construction.
The effort to centralize the agency and improve building
conditions began with DIA’s first director, Lt. Gen. Joseph F. Carroll, who
requested funds for a new building from Congress in 1963. Until the end of his
tenure in 1969, he petitioned Congress five more times to no avail.
Proceeding directors Lt. Gen. Donald A. Bennett and Lt. Gen.
Daniel O. Graham continued to request funds through the 1970s, primarily to
remodel Arlington Hall Station, but were rejected. In 1979, with the help of a
small committee, then-Deputy Director of DIA Rear Adm. Albert Kelln gave a
statement to the House Armed Services Committee supported by dozens of
photographs showing the dilapidated state of the buildings.
This presentation proved effective and, after so many
disappointing years, Congress appropriated $32.7 million in fiscal year 1981
and $73.5 million in FY 1982. Ground-breaking took place on April 21, 1981, with
a ceremony officiated by then-Director Lt. Gen. Eugene Tighe. By April 1984,
the building was formally completed, six months ahead of schedule and $500,000
under budget. Then-Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger dedicated the
building at its formal opening May 23, 1984.
For the vast majority of DIA employees, the standing up of
the DIAC symbolized the coming of age of the Defense Intelligence Agency. It
meant that DIA was here to stay.
Retired Lt. Gen. James Williams, the DIA director who
presided over the 1984 opening of the DIAC, spoke to current agency employees
May 22, 2014, to celebrate the building’s 30th anniversary. He said,
“If I think about how we fought to get this place, it was worth every ounce of