Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, July 11, 2019 —
The need for a professional medical intelligence capability was made abundantly clear during the Spanish influenza epidemic in the midst of the First World War. In the interwar years, the surgeon general established medical intelligence support by providing detailed guides for civil public health and sanitation conditions to help prevent a similar epidemic-like situation. As the likelihood of the U.S. entering into World War II increased, the need for an organized staff became a high priority.
Fast forward to 1963, DIA absorbed medical intelligence as a division of its production branch. Although temporarily pulled from DIA's missions, Congress mandated the permanent transfer of the organization, then called the Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center, to DIA in 1992.
In July 2008, leaders from across the U.S. Intelligence Community dedicated NCMI at a ribbon cutting ceremony at Ft. Detrick, Maryland. Ceremony speakers included DIA Director, U.S. Army LTG Michael Maples and Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence James Clapper. "The National Center for Medical Intelligence is the critical link between Department of Defense force protection and broader homeland health protection," said Maples. "It demonstrates the vital contribution that medical intelligence makes to public health security."