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.
Learn more about DIA »
2012-2017 Strategic Plan»
CONNECT WITH DIA
Relationship of DIA and the DCS/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).
In January l946 the National Intelligence Authority, with its staff arm, the Central Intelligence Group, was established by President Truman for the coordination, planning, evaluation, and dissemination of intelligence. Later that year, the congressional Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack recommended the integration of all Army and Navy intelligence organizations. "Operational and intelligence work required centralization of authority and clear-cut allocation of responsibility," the committee wrote. By l947 a realization had emerged that increased integration of Service intelligence and improved joint operations were essential to maintain pace with the widening global nature of U.S. security issues and technological progress. The National Security Act of 1947 was the first step toward reordering an outmoded system.
The National Security Act of 1947 left basically intact the JCS arrangement of the Joint Intelligence Committee within the Joint Staff. Thus, the JCS concept of part-time interservice committees supported by a full-time staff under a single director (Director of the Joint Staff) continued. During the War, the JIC's purpose had been to furnish "agreed military intelligence" in various forms to other agencies of the JCS and represent them on the Allied wartime Combined Intelligence Committee. The JIC did not unify military intelligence components, and it failed to produce composite national intelligence estimates.
The working level of the JIC was called the Joint Intelligence Subcommittee Staff. Officers from the Military Services were assigned full-time to this body, later renamed the Joint Intelligence Staff. Subsequently, the Joint Intelligence Staff became the Joint Intelligence Group (JIG), or the J-2. The JIG responded to the Director of the Joint Staff as well as the Joint Intelligence Committee. Reports from the Joint Intelligence Committee went directly to the JCS; the Director of the Joint Staff also reported directly to the JCS. Thus, the JCS received intelligence from the working level through two avenues.
The Joint Intelligence Committee alternated leadership between the Deputy Director, Intelligence of the Joint Staff and the senior military member of the Service intelligence organizations. Furthermore, each of the members of the JIC was also a member of the Intelligence Advisory Committee. The JIC composition included the Army G-2, the Chief of Naval Intelligence, the Chief of the Directorate of Intelligence of the Air Force, and the Chief of the JIG.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff were responsible in their corporate character for providing jointly agreed intelligence to the Secretary of Defense and to the heads of the Unified and Specified Commands; "joint intelligence" was actually a synthesis of departmental intelligence. Thus, to carry out this mission, the Joint Intelligence Group (JIG) in existence since 1948, had become the J-2 Directorate of the Joint Staff. In reality, however, the size limitations of the J-2 forced it to delegate much of the support responsibility to the Services. The major problem with this arrangement was that neither the J-2 nor the Services could resolve the differences that developed among the Military Departments.
In l948, President Truman appointed a commission under former President Herbert Hoover to examine closely the national security apparatus, especially the intelligence network. Concerning the National Military Establishment, the Commission noted that it lacked "centralized authority" which "should be placed firmly in the Secretary of Defense." Moreover, "... the continuance of intense interservice rivalries hampers and confuses sound policy at many points. One of our greatest needs is to elevate military thinking to a plane above individual service aims and ambitions." As for the JCS, they were described as "... too remote from related groups ..." such as the National Security Council and the CIA. "... A spirit of teamwork must govern interagency intelligence relationships."
The JIG had too small of an intelligence staff to effectively coordinate Service intelligence efforts. As a result, several problems developed:
- Each Service prepared its own estimate of the threat to U.S. security. These estimates were often self-serving in that they supported the Service's positions on roles and missions, weapon systems, etc. There was no single, authoritative military estimate.
- There was considerable duplication of effort, not only in what was being produced but also in the collection area.
- Neither the JCS nor the Secretary of Defense had an accurate picture regarding the total allocation of military intelligence resources.
The Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1958 stemmed from a widespread belief in the 1950's that the Defense Department needed major revision to provide for more effective, efficient, and economical administration, to eliminate duplication, and to encourage more comprehensive policies and programs. The intelligence system was not "in consonance with the objectives of the 1958 Act" which specified strengthening the channels of command from the President to the "combatant forces." Thus, the 1958 Act resolved several asymmetries concerning the "vague authority" of the Secretary of Defense. The Act removed all doubts about the Secretary's authority and placed the JCS in the chain of command, particularly in terms of responsibility for intelligence support to the Unified and Specified Commands. Subsequently DoD Directive 5100.1 (31 December 1958) was published assigning functional responsibility to the JCS and Military Departments for the provision of adequate, timely and reliable intelligence. Overall, the Act extended the centralization processes underway in DoD since 1947.
In November 1959, seven directorates (J-1--J-6, plus a directorate for military assistance) had been established in the JCS--including J-2, Directorate for Intelligence. The Joint Staff expanded from 210 to 400 officer billets for the seven directorates as one of the provisos of the 1958 Defense Reorganization Act.
Upon taking office in 1961, Secretary of Defense, Robert S. McNamara, conveyed his decision to establish a Defense Intelligence Agency in an 8 February memorandum to the Chairman of the JCS. Significantly, his deputy's recommended method of implementation, that is, an "evolutionary process," was incorporated into the final plan for activating DIA. This included assuming all responsibilities of the J-2 of the JCS.
Deputy Secretary of Defense Roswell Gilpatric reiterated Secretary of Defense McNamara's concept for establishing the DIA in a 5 July l961 memorandum to the JCS, Military Departments, et al. Briefly, he stated that the new agency would report to the Secretary of Defense through the JCS; it would not be a confederation; and DIA would not add an additional layer of administrative control. He described the principal objectives of DIA as facilitating unity of effort among all intelligence components of DoD as well as strengthening the overall capacity of DoD for intelligence.
On 1 August 1961 DoD Directive 5105.21, "Defense Intelligence Agency," was published with an effective date of 1 October 1961. DIA's primary operational responsibilities fell within nine general areas. DIA's requirements were to:
- produce and provide all DoD estimative and current intelligence, and establish and maintain the DoD indications center;
- provide the Secretary of Defense, his assistants, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, DoD agencies, the Unified and Specified Commands, the Military Departments, and other organizations in the National intelligence community with military intelligence;
- Manage the DoD intelligence requirements and collection activities;
- Develop DoD intelligence research and development requirements;
- cooperate with and mutually support the Central Intelligence Agency and other intelligence organizations;
- provide DoD representation on the United States Intelligence Board, its committees and on all other intergovernmental intelligence committees;
- give guidance to the DoD components on the public release of Defense intelligence information;
- integrate DoD intelligence automation and automatic data processing plans and programs; and,
- prepare and submit a consolidated DoD budget for intelligence activities.
DIA and the J-2--1961-1991
The J-2, until its abolishment on 28 June 1963, depended fully upon DIA's Office of Estimates to provide substantive intelligence. During this period, formal JCS actions (such as the review of the operations and contingency plans of the Unified and Specified Commands) continued to be staffed by the J-2, while the Office of Estimates directly received spot intelligence requirements from the commands. Moreover, the Office of Estimates became immediately responsible (in 1961) for producing Defense estimates which were forwarded to the Board of National Estimates. Before DIA, the J-2 had merely coordinated the Services' contribution. Reluctant to break with long established procedures, the Services continued to independently submit some of their estimates directly to the Board of National Estimates until 1963, when the practice was ended.
Thus, the DIA estimating mission was to provide the Secretary of Defense and his principal staff assistants, the JCS, the military Departments, and the Unified and Specified Commands with military intelligence estimates. The scope of DIA's responsibilities was more controlled and inclusive than the Services' former relationship with J-2's Estimates Division had been. The DIA mission emphasized the Secretary of Defense relationship and dropped that part of the J-2 estimates mission that provided for "the policy direction of joint target studies and projects." The DIA Estimates Office provided a central control point for the production of finished intelligence by "reviewing and coordinating as directed, the intelligence estimative functions retained by, or assigned to, the military departments," and providing intelligence for OSD contractors.
DIA revised its charter, DoD Directive 5105.21, on 24 June 1963, to provide for the continuation of intelligence staff support to the JCS following the J-2 disestablishment on 28 June 1963. While the J-2 had existed, DIA had been charged with providing the JCS with military intelligence and discharging such intelligence functions as the JCS assigned.
The disestablishment of the J-2, Joint Staff, on 28 June 1963 and assignment of its staff support functions to DIA on 1 July required relatively little readjustment by DIA. Two-thirds of the J-2 staff (the Current Intelligence Division and the Estimates Division) already had transferred to DIA when the Agency was activated. As had been previously envisioned in the original planning, DIA had reached a point in its evolution by the summer of 1963 where it had begun to overlap the remaining responsibilities and functions of the J-2. The general functional responsibilities of the J-2 elements assumed by DIA in 1963 included: plans and policy responsibility for COMINT, ELINT, and non-SIGINT functions; target intelligence support; security support of the Joint Staff; and Secretariat functions.
The internal functioning of the Defense Intelligence Agency was structured into three categories: l) Those which reported directly to the Command Element and either primarily supported the headquarters or served as liaison for the headquarters. 2) The management-oriented support functions whose mission extended throughout Defense intelligence as well as providing services for the Agency. 3) Those activities which were operational. Within the Command Element, the Secretariat contained a JCS and U&S Commands support group.
A Special Assistant for JCS Matters office was formed on 29 July l965 as a result of l963 exploratory reorganization studies which stressed that greater priority be assigned to improving DIA responsive intelligence support and increased DIA visibility within the JCS organization. The nucleus for this activity initially was under the Assistant Chief of Staff Plans and Programs reporting directly to the DIA Chief of Staff. An inspection by the JCS in l967 indicated that, "its efforts have contributed to improved support to the JCS and the Joint Staff." DIA benefitted also in that it facilitated its participation in Joint Staff actions. The Agency had made significant strides forward since 1961--including the continuing improvement in production quality and the ability to meet the requirements of the Services, the JCS, and OSD.
By 1970, successive years of internal and external critiques, inspections, and conjecture concerning the DIA raison d'etre had nurtured the presumption that a DIA charter revision was necessary. Central to the arguments for charter revision was the chain-of-command issue. In his 23 December l970 memo, Secretary of Defense Laird believed it necessary to clarify the relationship of DIA to the Secretary of Defense and the JCS:
The Director, Defense Intelligence Agency will report directly to the Secretary of Defense in the conduct and performance of his duties. The chain of command shall run from the Secretary of Defense to the Director, DIA. Guidance to the Director, DIA, shall be furnished by the Secretary of Defense and the United States Intelligence Board. The Director, DIA, will support the intelligence and counterintelligence requirements of the JCS as in the past. A separate J-2 organization within the OJCS will not be established.
On 24 December l970, the Chairman of the JCS in a memorandum to the Secretary of Defense wrote: "I note that your memorandum preserves the present role of Director, DIA, in support of the JCS . . . and that he will report directly to you in the conduct of his duties involving domestic investigative and counterintelligence activities, while in matters involving operational intelligence and foreign intelligence/counterintelligence activities, the chain of command would continue to run from the Secretary of Defense, through the JCS as prescribed in DoD Directive 5l05.2l..."
In 1974, the former Special Assistant for JCS Matters had become the JCS Liaison Division (JS). Manpower for the element was increased by 10 billets. Then, on 25 November 1974, JS became the J-2 Support Office, and its duties were expanded to emphasize DIA's JCS support role and the role of the Director, DIA, as the J-2 of the Joint Staff. In the words of the Director, Lieutenant General Daniel Graham:
"To place greater emphasis on my role as the J-2, OJCS, I have expanded the size of my J-2 Support Office which now reports directly to my chief of staff. This office serves as the DIA focal point for all Joint Staff matters and maintains a close relationship with the OJCS to insure prompt and responsive DIA support".
In 1976, a DIA-wide reorganization, established a bicameral organization and recast the Deputy Director's position as Vice Director for Plans, Operations and Support (VO). The J-2 Support Office (JS), a former CS/DP function, was subordinated under VO.
The J-2 Support Office (JS) continued unchanged in structure and function throughout 1976, and included a Control Branch (JS-1) and Intelligence Support Branch (JS-2). A Systems Planning Office (SP) was established under VO which provided for the planning and coordination of a cohesive, integrated Defense intelligence information handling system. According to the SP mission, "The specific objectives of such a system were: to provide better and more timely support to commanders of combat forces; improve the quality and timeliness of the intelligence input to the decision-making process; and to reduce undesirable duplication and promote efficiency and economy while providing for necessary survivability and redundancy."
DIA Director Lieutenant General Samuel Wilson characterized organizational changes in 1977 as "refinements to increase effectiveness." Consequently, the Deputy Director and Chief of Staff positions were reestablished to enhance command and control, and coordination of Agency activities. The J-2 Support Office was realigned and the Director's Staff Group was expanded to provide improved support to OSD and JCS consumers.
Another reorganization in August 1979, consolidated the Assistant Vice Directorate for Current Intelligence (DN), the Strategic Warning Staff (SWS), and the J-2 Support Office (JS) into a new Assistant Directorate for JCS Support (JS). The new directorate reported directly to the Command Element. This realignment was intended to enhance DIA support to the JCS by combining current intelligence production with the more traditional liaison and support functions generally provided by the J-2. The changes enabled DIA to focus on the operational intelligence needs of the JCS and satisfy them on a more timely basis.
By 1982, two charter revisions and considerable examination and revision of chain-of-command relationships had occurred. In conjunction with the establishment in DIA of the Directorate for JCS Support(JS) in August 1979, the Joint Chiefs of Staff had approved a clarification and enumeration of the responsibilities of the Defense Intelligence Agency in its role as the J-2 of the Joint Staff. DIA had overcome the "too many masters" problem cited by the Blue Ribbon Defense Panel in 1971 by concentrating on upgrading intelligence support to the JCS and Secretary of Defense. Emphasis in DIA production essentially had shifted from basic intelligence to current intelligence. The Agency's progress in improving intelligence support to the Unified and Specified Commands had been placed in balance with its role as a producer of national intelligence. Lieutenant General James A. Williams, following his first year as Director, summed up the progress in an open letter to the Agency:
"For the past 12 months we have worked hard to improve our support to tactical commanders, to increase counterterrorism/counterintelligence support and to enhance our initiative reporting and overall cooperation between analysts and policymakers. New efforts are underway in space warfare and in the exchange of high technology data as well as policy-related efforts to support the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff in Continuity of Government and Tactical Intelligence and Related Activities. These have received wide acclaim . . ."
Throughout the 1980's, DIA continued to provide intelligence support to joint military operations. For example, tailored intelligence production in support of the Joint Special Operations Command and the US Central Command, development of a C3 data base to support nuclear targeting, establishment of the Central American Joint Intelligence Team (CAJIT), development of the Military Intelligence Integrated Data System (MIIDS), development of the National Military Intelligence Support Terminal (NMIST) concept, management and communications architectures, and establishment of a crisis support center to provide centralized crisis management--were a few of the areas of the expanded relationship with JCS elements.
In retrospect, Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger had told Congress in 1974, "As a Defense agency, DIA had a responsibility to provide intelligence support to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Abolishment of the J-2 organization, per se, had no effect on DIA's clearly defined role to support the Joint Chiefs. However, it eventually raised some doubt in regard to DIA's role within the Joint Staff itself. I am happy to say that this functional uncertainty has been removed, and that the Director, DIA, is so fully involved--personally and organizationally--as the J-2 of the Joint Staff." In 1991, the JS organization was redesignated J-2.
Deane J. Allen, DIA Historian
This page was last updated May 18, 2012.