DIRECTORS OF DIA
 
ABOUT / HISTORY / DIRECTORS / LTG HARRY SOYSTER

LTG Harry Soyster, USA
December 1988 - September 1991

Soon after his arrival at DIA, Lt. Gen. Harry Soyster directed the defense intelligence effort in support of the successful 1989 U.S. operation in Panama. In 1989, the Agency provided threat data on hot spots throughout the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and weighed the impact of changes in the USSR, Eastern Europe and Asia on the rest of world. Intelligence support was provided to decision makers concerning the final Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, events surrounding the downing of two Libyan jets, the civil war in Liberia, and the Tiananmen Square protests. Weapons acquisition issues, counternarcotics and counterterrorism remained a high priority throughout the Intelligence Community.

 

"Iraq's invasion on August 2, 1990, of Kuwait resulted in a coalition of United Nations forces that resolved to force the Iraqis from the country . . . No combat commander ever had as full and complete a view of their adversary as the U.S. and coalition field commanders had during Operation DESERT STORM, and it remains as one of the greatest examples of intelligence support to operational forces in modern times."

 

The end of the Cold War resulted in a reevaluation of the intelligence mission throughout the Intelligence Community as a new era began with the fall of the Communist Party in many Eastern European countries, the reunification of Germany, and ongoing economic reforms in the region. Emphasis was placed on improved management of intelligence production, but reduced resources threatened to negatively impact Agency objectives and workforce levels. Organizationally, Soyster emphasized the functional manager system as a programming mechanism for working combatant command problems. The relationship between DIA and the assistant secretary of defense for command, control, communication, and intelligence was enhanced with authority, direction and control prerogatives. Additionally, the DIA deputy director was converted to a civilian position.

Iraq's invasion on August 2, 1990, of Kuwait resulted in a coalition of United Nations forces that resolved to force the Iraqis from the country. DIA warned of this threat in late July. An intensive and extensive 24-hour operation went into effect at DIA, with daily tailored intelligence support to coalition forces, battle damage assessments, participation in daily press briefings, and the full range of printed product support to numerous consumers. All phases of the Agency's workforce and more than 2,000 people contributed to Operation DESERT SHIELD. DIA established a Department of Defense Joint Intelligence Center to integrate intelligence produced by all sectors of the Intelligence Community. No combat commander ever had as full and complete a view of their adversary as the U.S. and coalition field commanders had during Operation DESERT STORM, and it remains as one of the greatest examples of intelligence support to operational forces in modern times. For its achievements during the crisis and conflict, DIA received its second Joint Meritorious Unit Award from the secretary of defense, personally presented by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Colin Powell, on June 26, 1991.