THE DIA MUSEUM
 
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The
Defense
Intelligence
Agency

Museum

Initiated in 2016 under the leadership of Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, and in close collaboration with Smithsonian Exhibits and Emmy Award-winning Interface Media Group, the DIA Museum was completed in 2020. Exceeding 10,000 square feet, the museum’s 44 exhibits, dozens of artifacts, eight interactive displays, six missiles, mannequins and many videos convey six decades of DIA history, including its 87 chartered missions, and honor its workforce. With compelling storytelling, visitors will learn of DIA’s global presence and how it shapes world history. Additionally, the museum’s Heritage Gallery takes visitors back to the founding of American military intelligence with George Washington, speaks to the successes of DIA’s predecessors — the Bureau of Military Information and the Office of Strategic Services — and shows how DIA formed from the bomber and missile gap controversies of the 1950s. With a better understanding of why DIA exists and the range of missions it fulfills, visitors will appreciate the Agency’s vital role in supporting national security.

An image of the D I A building at night, looking through the glass

The DIA Museum is designed around several themes, each addressing key areas in the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community where the Agency plays an important role. These include: Exposing the Truth, Supporting Operations, Bringing Them Home, Enabling Diplomacy and Staying Ahead Through Technology and Innovation. The museum also has three galleries: the Patriots Gallery, honoring DIA’s patriots who died in the line of duty; the Heritage Gallery, which addresses DIA’s origins; and the Lower Lobby Gallery, featuring the Torch Bearers Hall of Fame and other exhibits. Finally, the museum has the Heritage Theater, where guests can watch an array of videos about DIA.

Explore the DIA Museum

Exposing
The Truth

DIA’s foremost mission is to expose adversary intentions and capabilities to decision makers. Following over-inflated assessments of Soviet bomber and missile capabilities by military services in the 1950s, DIA was established in 1961 to provide impartial, unified intelligence for the Department of Defense. This section provides visitors with several examples where exposure by DIA helped to secure the United States.

Patriots
Memorial

DIA remembers and honors its fallen heroes through the Patriots Memorial and Gallery. The Patriots Memorial to serves as an ever-present reminder of the selflessness, dedication and courage to confront our Nation’s challenges.

Lower Lobby
Gallery

The Lower Lobby showcases seminal historic events and people who have made outsized contributions to DIA and the Nation. This area hosts two permanent and two rotating exhibits.

Supporting
Operations

After 25 years of supporting operations, DIA became an official combat support agency in 1986. This section of the museum highlights the many facets of supporting operations, including document exploitation, interrogations, analysis, HUMINT, targeting and biometrics. Ranging from conventional support, such as in Operation DESERT STORM, to special operations, such as the Abbottabad raid again Osama bin Laden, DIA has made a difference.

Bringing
Them Home

DIA’s involvement in the POW/MIA mission goes back to 1967 and the Vietnam War. By the mid-1980s, DIA had a proactive collection plan for intelligence related to all POW/MIA service members. Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Intelligence Community POW/MIA Analytic Cell was established with DIA as the executive agent. Today, DIA maintains its global POW/MIA intelligence support mission to ensure that military and civilian personnel are returned home.

Enabling
Diplomacy

DIA has a long history of diplomatic efforts. Supporting mutually beneficial endeavors, sharing intelligence and handling incidents abroad before they escalate have been core missions of DIA since its earliest days. One of the most effective ways DIA protects the Nation is by preventing war and conflicts, aiding our allies and encouraging disarmament.

Heritage Gallery

Long before the establishment of DIA, the Nation relied on defense intelligence for its creation, in defense of its sovereignty, and to protect its citizens. DIA continues this long legacy of support. The gallery takes visitors through 250 years of defense intelligence and relates key moments in Agency history.

Staying Ahead
Through Technology & Innovation

DIA is a constantly evolving agency by necessity and design. Historically, DIA has been a technological innovator. DIA’s push to stay ahead involves adapting new technologies for use in current missions, exploiting the technology of adversaries, and creating new technology to further improve the Agency and the Intelligence Community. When clandestine use is required, DIA’s Office of Technical Operations camouflages sensors to blend in to the environment.

Dive Deeper into DIA's
History with our
Museum Brochure
“They run the risks; they bear the tensions; they serve in silence. They cannot fully be thanked in public, but I want them to know that their job is vital and that the American people, and their president, are profoundly grateful for what they do.”
-Ronald Reagan, December 1981