VADM Thomas Wilson, USN
July 1999 - July 2002
When Vice Adm. Thomas Wilson became DIA director in summer 1999, DIA supported joint task forces that had more than 100 DIA personnel deployed, and had an additional 600 taking part in intelligence task forces, to an allied military intelligence battalion in Bosnia, and to National Intelligence Support Teams in Riyadh, Tuzla and Sarajevo.
Wilson set his sights on making DIA and the Intelligence Community more efficient and effective through four thrusts: attacking the database problem, creating an interoperable technical environment, preparing for the asymmetrical threat, and revitalizing the workforce. He later added a fifth thrust focusing on recruitment, career development and retention.
"A new war threatened to erupt in the Balkans as Albanian extremists in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia attacked government police and military troops around Tetevo, just across the border from Kosovo."
In 1999, the secretary of defense stated that Y2K was his number one priority for the year. Congress mandated a series of systems testing and contingency planning tasks for the Federal Government, including the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community. DIA certified its critical components as Y2K-compliant, and the transition from 1999 to 2000 went off flawlessly.
The Richard C. Shelby Center for Missile Intelligence was formally dedicated in December 1999 at the new Missile and Space Intelligence Center complex at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama. In January 2000, the Joint Intelligence Virtual Architecture program achieved operating capability. The program identified, acquired and provided automated tools to support the modernization of DIA analytical and production centers.
In October 2000, the USS Cole was damaged in a terrorist attack during a refueling operation in the Yemeni port of Aden. Seventeen American sailors were killed, and 39 more were injured. Islamic fundamentalists under the leadership of Osama bin Laden were suspected in the attack.
A new war threatened to erupt in the Balkans as Albanian extremists in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia attacked government police and military troops around Tetevo, just across the border from Kosovo, in March 2001. The Agency supported efforts to achieve a political settlement and avoid a widening of the conflict.
Vice President Dick Cheney made a historic visit to the Defense Intelligence Analysis Center on March 14, 2001. Wilson and other Agency members briefed the vice president on the General Defense Intelligence Program and the consolidation and realignment that had taken place within the program over the previous 10 years. Other highlights of the visit included a video-teleconference with senior intelligence officials in deployed forces overseas via the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System, and an address to the DIA workforce.
On September, 11, 2001, terrorists hijacked four American airliners and crashed two into the World Trade Center in New York City, one into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and one into the Pennsylvanian countryside. Seven DIA employees were killed in the attack on the Pentagon.