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News | May 22, 2014

DIA’s headquarters building turns 30

By DIA Public Affairs

Prior to the opening of the Defense Intelligence Analysis Center (DIAC) – now known as DIA Headquarters – in 1984, the agency was scattered across the National Capital Region in buildings with varied safety and security concerns resulting from age and poor construction.

The effort to centralize the agency and improve building conditions began with DIA’s first director, Lt. Gen. Joseph F. Carroll, who requested funds for a new building from Congress in 1963. Until the end of his tenure in 1969, he petitioned Congress five more times to no avail.

Proceeding directors Lt. Gen. Donald A. Bennett and Lt. Gen. Daniel O. Graham continued to request funds through the 1970s, primarily to remodel Arlington Hall Station, but were rejected. In 1979, with the help of a small committee, then-Deputy Director of DIA Rear Adm. Albert Kelln gave a statement to the House Armed Services Committee supported by dozens of photographs showing the dilapidated state of the buildings.

This presentation proved effective and, after so many disappointing years, Congress appropriated $32.7 million in fiscal year 1981 and $73.5 million in FY 1982. Ground-breaking took place on April 21, 1981, with a ceremony officiated by then-Director Lt. Gen. Eugene Tighe. By April 1984, the building was formally completed, six months ahead of schedule and $500,000 under budget. Then-Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger dedicated the building at its formal opening May 23, 1984.

For the vast majority of DIA employees, the standing up of the DIAC symbolized the coming of age of the Defense Intelligence Agency. It meant that DIA was here to stay.

Retired Lt. Gen. James Williams, the DIA director who presided over the 1984 opening of the DIAC, spoke to current agency employees May 22, 2014, to celebrate the building’s 30
th anniversary. He said, “If I think about how we fought to get this place, it was worth every ounce of effort.”