2010's - A Decade of Transitioning Missions

Nearly a decade after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, DIA was still heavily involved in supporting operations in several locations around the world, particularly with the emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant.

DIA deployed thousands of officers to Afghanistan, Iraq and other locations to focus on these missions.

However, events in Europe and Asia also stressed the need for concentrated effort on other no-fail missions.

The 2010s saw a refocus of Agency attention to Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

One of the early events of the decade was not a military or terrorist threat, but a humanitarian crisis.

DIA’s National Center for Medical Intelligence played a vital role in supporting safety, humanitarian aid and maritime shipping operations after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor crisis in March 2011.

Using data from multiple sensors and open-source materials, NCMI modeled nuclear contamination, assessed environmental and health risks, and provided continuous updates throughout the U.S. support mission — Operation TOMODACHI — until its conclusion in May 2011.

The decade saw some progress in the counterterrorism realm with the Abbottabad raid against Osama bin Laden.

After providing critical intelligence in 2003-2005 on an al-Qaida currier with links to bin Laden, DIA — along with the rest of the Intelligence Community — saw little progress for a year.

However, when the courier was finally found and tracked, he led the IC to a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Prior to the successful raid against again the compound on May 2, 2011, DIA deployed personnel to participate in the Joint Operation Abbottabad Intelligence Community Integration Team, which designed clandestine operations that provided insight for the mission.

DIA then provided personnel to the Joint Operation Abbottabad Media Exploitation Task Force to produce site exploitation spreadsheets, tippers and products.

In November 2017, nearly 470,000 files recovered in the raid were released to the public.

Despite bin Laden’s death, al-Qaida and its associated movement gained momentum in 2013 from the formation of ISIL.

DIA was heavily involved in analyzing the group and supporting operations against the group through the loss of its self-proclaimed caliphate in 2019. DIA continues to assist in counter-ISIL missions.

Boko Haram — an ISIL-aligned jihadist group based in northeastern Nigeria and active in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger — also gained considerable DIA attention in the 2010s.

Their Salafist-jihadist brand of Islam sought to establish a caliphate in Nigeria, and has claimed the lives of some 30,000 people while displacing over two million. DIA continues support to bilateral cooperation and counterterrorism efforts primarily via U.S. Africa Command.

As part of the Agency focused on al-Qaida and terrorism abroad, DIA made significant progress in supporting efforts against homegrown and insider threats.

DIA oversaw numerous initiatives to improve counterintelligence, law enforcement, investigative, and intelligence integration and information sharing from within DoD and with the FBI.

The improvements led to numerous new investigations and several arrests, earning the Agency a National Intelligence Certificate of Distinction, ODNI Team Award, and the Director’s Annual Team Award in 2013.

Traditional threats also required substantial levels of DIA visibility. The Russian military invaded the Crimea Peninsula in the Ukraine on February 27, 2014, capturing strategic sites across region and leading to the installation of a pro-Russian government.

Russia formally incorporated Crimea as part of the Russian Federation on March 18, 2014. Throughout the invasion, DIA provided decision makers throughout the government with updates and analysis.

In an effort to provide an assessment on Russian military intentions and capabilities, DIA reached back in time and reinvigorated a tried and successful product — Soviet Military Power — and published Russia Military Power on June 28, 2017.

The product focused on a resurgent Russia globally — seizing the Crimean Peninsula, destabilizing eastern Ukraine, intervening in Syria, and shaping the information environment — demonstrating that Russia continues to pose a major challenge to U.S. national security.

Expanding on other potential threats, DIA issued the Military Power publications on the Global Nuclear Landscape (2018), China Military Power (2019), Challenges to Security in Space (2019), and Iran Military Power (2019). The products were lauded by customers for their wealth of valuable unclassified information.

Assuming power in December 2011, Kim Jong-un bolstered North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs. North Korea conducted nuclear tests in 2013, 2016 and July 2017 with its first intercontinental ballistic missile, followed by claims of a thermonuclear weapons test in September 2017.

In May 2019, North Korea resumed short-range ballistic missile tests. DIA’s Missile and Space Intelligence Center has focused on analysis and assessment of North Korea and other foreign air and missile defense systems, ballistic missiles and testing to provide strategic and tactical advantage to U.S. and allied forces.

When the decade ended, DIA was well-positioned to address the full range of threats to U.S. national security. As with the 2010s, however, DIA could not predict that the major global event would be another humanitarian crisis — the COVID-19 pandemic.

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