DIA is first in all-source defense intelligence to prevent strategic surprise and deliver a decision advantage to warfighters, defense planners, and policymakers. We deploy globally alongside warfighters and interagency partners to defend America's national security interests.
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40 Years of History
The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) became operational on 1 October 1961 as the Nation's primary producer of foreign military intelligence. These short histories give a brief overview of our Agency's history.
The Origins of DIA
DIA – At the Creation is the documentary record of the Agency’s early tumultuous years as the first central Defense intelligence organization in United States’ history. Inside this book are 104 Department of Defense documents from 1961 to 1965 – some highly classified in their day – telling precisely when, how, why and by whom DIA was established. The story will be of interest to any serious student of the United States intelligence agencies.
Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM provided a significant challenge to the Defense Intelligence Agency and to the Defense Intelligence Community. This extensive chronology, the first of several unclassified publications, is a guide to day-to-day support provided to the warfighter. It is for soldiers and strategists, policymakers and scholars, but most importantly, the practitioners of intelligence -- our Nation's first line of defense.
Senior Military Intelligence Officers' Conference (SMIOC)
The Senior Military Intelligence Officers' Conference (SMIOC) brings together the leadership of the combatant command J-2s, the Service intelligence chiefs, and other Defense and Intelligence Community officials for a review of issues and concerns affecting the Defense Intelligence Community.
Military Intelligence Board
Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in an 8 February 1961 letter to the JCS conveyed his decision to establish a Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). The planning that ensued in the Spring of 1961 culminated in a 5 July 1961 memorandum from Deputy Secretary of Defense Roswell Gilpatric that stated: "After careful consideration of the issues and problems involved, Mr. McNamara and I have decided to establish a DIA . . . " and attached ". . . a draft DoD Directive creating DIA." Furthermore, the memorandum established the Military Intelligence Board (MIB) to advise and assist the Director, DIA, in the establishment of the Agency and in the exercise of his responsibilities.
DIA and the JCS/J2
One of the earliest traces of formal military intelligence cooperation was the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) created in l94l as a coordinating mechanism of the fledgling Joint Chiefs of Staff organization. (It can be argued, however, that the Joint Army-Navy Board established in l905 sought interservice cooperation in intelligence matters as U.S. involvement in World War I became imminent). The Committee consisted of the directors and representatives of the intelligence organs of the Army, the Navy, the State Department, the Board of Economic Warfare, and the Coordinator of Information (later redesignated by President Roosevelt in 1942 as the Office of Strategic Services, the foreunner of the Central Intelligence Agency).
Remembering the First Operation Babylift Flight
During the collapse of South Vietnam in 1975, President Gerald Ford ordered the evacuation of Vietnamese orphans from Saigon in the face of a massive North Vietnamese offensive. This mission, coined Operation Babylift, began April 4, 1975, and evacuated more than 3,000 orphans throughout the month.
This page was last updated January 25, 2013.