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News | Oct. 1, 2014

Happy 53rd birthday, DIA

By Office of Corporate Communications

The Defense Intelligence Agency began operations as the nation’s primary producer of military intelligence Oct. 1, 1961. Then-Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara established DIA to fill a critically important need for a central manager and producer of military intelligence for the Department of Defense and to support the requirements of the secretary of defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the military and policymakers. McNamara’s goal in establishing DIA was to remove service biases from military intelligence while streamlining the intelligence process and maximizing resources.

DIA’s first director was Air Force Lt. Gen. Joseph Carroll, who led the agency from 1961 to 1969. Carroll and DIA set out to obtain unity of effort among all components of DOD in developing military intelligence and to strengthen the overall capacity of DOD for collection, production and dissemination of intelligence information. DIA began operations with just 25 personnel working in borrowed spaces in the Pentagon. The services transferred intelligence functions and resources to DIA over several years, and DIA became fully operational in 1964.

Since 1961, DIA contributions have been instrumental in shaping significant events in U.S. history – from the first major challenges during the Cuban Missile Crisis to the current perils presented by rising state challengers, global terrorist movements, insurgencies and arms proliferations. DIA’s current challenges are further complicated by the convergence of the advanced pace of available technology, a complex and rapidly shifting international political environment and increasing competition for global resources.

Today, DIA has more than 16,000 uniformed and civilian personnel stationed around the world and deployed alongside our warfighters. DIA uses all-source defense intelligence to prevent strategic surprise and deliver a decision advantage to warfighters, defense planners and policymakers. The agency collects and analyzes key data using a variety of tools, and deploys its personnel globally, alongside warfighters and interagency partners, to defend America’s national security interests. DIA is committed to strengthening our intelligence operation, enhancing intelligence integration, fostering public-private partnerships, and providing unparalleled leadership across the defense intelligence enterprise and the intelligence community.