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Defense Intelligence Historical Perspectives is designed to provide an understanding of the Defense Intelligence Agency's (DIA's) participation in military and intelligence developments of the last half century. While history does not repeat itself, it does provide context, guideposts, and a framework for understanding the present. In some ways, the challenges confronting today's Intelligence Community personnel are similar to those faced by their cohorts from earlier generations. While they differ in their specifics, the basic questions surrounding the practice of foreign intelligence and the management of large intelligence agencies have not changed. Management challenges such as the definition of missions and roles, and analytic pathologies such as groupthink, mirror-imaging, and status-quo thinking were all problems confronted by analysts in the Cold War and in the 1990s, much as they are in today's global contingency and counterterrorism operations. Examining the ways in which personnel from an earlier period recognized, addressed, and resolved these sorts of problems—or failed at all three—can inform and hopefully improve current intelligence practices.
The goal of Defense Intelligence Historical Perspectives is to inculcate in DIA and the broader Intelligence Community DIA's historical role during the last 50 years, and to educate current and future analysts about the hard-won lessons learned by those who occupied their seats before them. To neglect this story, ignore the lessons of the past, is to invite failure.
This study examines the early history of the Defense Intelligence Agency with a particular focus on the various organizational challenges confronting the new agency and DIA's response to the Cuban Missile Crisis.
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This study examines the history of the Defense Intelligence Agency during the Vietnam War, examining DIA's early efforts to assess the expanding conflict, its role in the U.S. bombing campaign against North Vietnam, and its place in the important order of battle controversy. It also explores DIA's expanding role late in the war and after U.S. forces departed South Vietnam.
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This page was last updated May 18, 2012.