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LTG James A. Williams, USA
September 1981 - September 1985
General Williams focused the Agency on enhancing support to tactical and theater commanders, improving capabilities to meet major wartime intelligence requirements, and strengthening indications and warning assets. In December 1981, President Reagan signed Executive Order 12333 giving the Intelligence Community a mandate for the years ahead.
In response to a requirement to improve intelligence support to the Unified and Specified (U&S) Commands' warfighting capabilities, the functional manager for intelligence processing was established in 1982. The Central America Joint Intelligence Team was established in 1984 as an interagency analytical task organization focused on insurgency in Central America. DIA also created the Intelligence Communications Architecture to improve DoD's ability to disseminate national-level intelligence to tactical commanders during contingency situations.
The concept of intelligence as a "force multiplier in crises" became a predominant theme in planning as DIA began structuring an all-source integrated data base to support the U&S Commands in assessing the threat as it existed in the field. General Williams established a Research Crisis Support Center at the Defense Intelligence Analysis Center (DIAC) to provide a centralized, operationally secure, all-source, crisis management center to support the National Military Intelligence Center and the U&S Commands. In an effort to enhance intelligence support to deployed commands, DIA introduced the concept of the National Military Intelligence Support Team (NMIST) in 1983. DIA activated NMISTs to augment intelligence support worldwide to the various U&S Commands during crisis operations. In May 1985, NMIST reached initial operating capability.
As events deteriorated in Nicaragua, DIA analysts provided extensive support to the US Southern Command. Other analysis focused on the Falkland Islands War and Israel's invasion of Lebanon. When 6,000 US troops invaded Grenada during Operation URGENT FURY in 1983, DIA's Task Force responded to numerous formal taskings for briefings, papers, or information, and distributed a wide variety of Intelligence Summaries to assist field commanders during the operation. The planning process for URGENT FURY was greatly facilitated by a number of intelligence products that had been prepared as early as 1979, bringing high praise for DIA's support and services. Other DIA analytical efforts during the year centered on the continuing crises in Nicaragua, Lebanon (Marine barracks attack), Iran and Iraq, and Afghanistan, as well as the Soviet shootdown of Korean Airlines Flight 007, the civil war in Chad, and unrest in the Philippines. A significantly larger number of hijackings, bombings, kidnappings, murders, and other acts of terrorism led to characterizing 1985 as the "Year of the Terrorist."
The capstone of the effort to build a corps of civilian professionals in DIA came in December 1981 when President Reagan signed Public Law 97-89, enabling legislation for a Defense Intelligence Senior Executive Service. Thus, DIA joined CIA and NSA in this achievement. President Ronald Reagan signed Executive order 12356, "National Security Information," in 1982. The order provided guidelines for classifying, declassifying, and releasing information.
A high point in General William's leadership was the Agency's move into the Defense Intelligence Analysis Center at Bolling Air Force Base, which consolidated major functions under one roof. The building was dedicated on 23 May 1984.
This page was last updated July 25, 2012.