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This Day in History: Lt. Gen. Harry E. Soyster, Ninth DIA Director

By DIA Public Affairs

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Dec. 19, 2014 — Army Lt. Gen. Harry E. Soyster was appointed the ninth Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Dec. 19, 1988. Soyster arrived at DIA as the agency was at a high tempo of operations, providing intelligence concerning a number of “hotspots” throughout the Middle East, Africa and Asia, while also analyzing the impact of ongoing developments in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and elsewhere.

In Soyster's first year as director, the agency responded to requests for intelligence support relating to the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, the downing of two Libyan jets, the civil war in Liberia, and the investigation into the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. At the same time weapons acquisition issues, counternarcotics and counterterrorism continued to be important elements in the complex array of issues facing the agency. In 1989 the United States (and DIA) faced several international crises, to include the massacre of civilians in China's Tiananmen Square and the deteriorating situation in Panama that prompted the U.S. military intervention known as Operation JUST CAUSE. The next year, Iraq's invasion and occupation of neighboring Kuwait resulted in the formation of an international coalition to liberate that country (Operations DESERT SHIELD / DESERT STORM). During all of these operations, DIA provided daily, tailored intelligence support to U.S. and coalition forces. Soyster's rather eventful tenure as DIA director ended in September 1991.

Today, David R. Shedd serves as DIA’s acting director.  DIA uses all-source defense intelligence to prevent strategic surprise and deliver a decision advantage to warfighters, defense planners and policymakers.  The agency collects and analyzes key data using a variety of tools and deploys its personnel globally, alongside warfighters and interagency partners, to defend America’s national security interests.