LTG Samuel Wilson, USA
May 1976 - August 1977
Lt. Gen. Samuel Wilson began his tenure as DIA director in May 1976, and completely reorganized the Agency. The reorganization of DIA in July 1976 was the first step in the three-part plan of Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Ellsworth to improve the quality of defense intelligence. The second step was a series of 60 goals, which were the short- and long-term objectives mentioned by Wilson in his announcement of the DIA reorganization. The third part of the plan was to use DIA "as a crucible in which the producer and user can meet to forge the improvements in the product that both desire."
"Specifically, DIA staff supervision would be exercised for the secretary of defense by the assistant secretary of defense for command, control, communications and intelligence, with respect to resources, and by the assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs regarding policy matters."
DIA initiated in-depth studies to examine the short-term objectives, and the first changes were implemented in fall 1976. This was the beginning of many adjustments to the organizational structure of the Agency, which would continue over the next few years. These refinements were the roots for a period of stabilization that had fully materialized by 1979.
As the Department of Defense sought to centralize its activities to cope with pressures to reduce resources, DIA adjusted to the changed environment. The assistant secretary of defense for intelligence was designated director of defense intelligence, and a Defense Intelligence Board was established. The president also created a National Foreign Intelligence Board. DIA strengthened intelligence support to consumers in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and combatant commands , and and completed the modernization of the National Military Intelligence Center.
In 1977, a charter revision clarified DIA's relationship with the JCS and the secretary of defense. Specifically, DIA staff supervision would be exercised for the secretary of defense by the assistant secretary of defense for command, control, communications and intelligence, with respect to resources, and by the assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs regarding policy matters. Analytical efforts centered on the death of Mao Zedong, aircraft hijackings, the Israeli raid on Entebbe Airport, unrest in South Africa, and continuing Middle East dissension. The deputy director and chief of staff positions were discontinued briefly from July 1976 to September 1977.