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This Week in DIA History: Formation of the FVEY Partnership

By DIA Public Affairs

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With war looming for the United States in 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt approved a proposal for U.S. intelligence activities to exchange secret technical information with the United Kingdom. The initial formal agreement, known as the Atlantic Charter, established strategic aims and set the state for closer, formal intelligence cooperation. In May 1943, the two sides signed the British-U.S. (BRUSA) Agreement of 1943 to document information sharing and to establish an official division of labor against Axis ground and air force targets for the remainder of World War II. In 1946, with a resilient U.S.-Commonwealth relationship and facing ideological and expansionist threats from the Soviet Union, the U.S. and UK revised the 1943 agreement to include Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Shortly after the establishment of DIA in 1961, information sharing expanded again with the Carrol-Strong Agreement between DIA and the British Defense Intelligence Staff, enabling wider sharing between all FVEY members. This initiative was very different from the approach taken by the Soviet Union, which took active measures to limit intelligence cooperation and information sharing with its own Warsaw Pact partners. The disparity in intelligence cooperation between the FVEY partners and that of the Soviet Union-Warsaw Pact, combined with the FVEY ability to adapt readily to advancing technologies and organizational, bureaucratic changes, proved an important advantage throughout the Cold War.

Today, the FVEY partnership is the longest recorded formal intelligence relationship in history. For more than 70 years, through numerous conflicts and over the course of dozens of administrations, the FVEY relationship has proven to be an invaluable tool in safeguarding the security interests for each country. With the formation of a formal FVEY element in 2014, as well as the creation of a deputy director for commonwealth integration within DIA, the FVEY partnership is well postured to stay ahead of emerging threats.