Soon after General Perroots arrived at the Agency, Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger presented DIA with its first Joint Meritorious Unit Award for intelligence support during the TWA and ACHILLE LAURO hijackings, the Philippine crisis, and the counterterrorist operations against Libya. This award echoed the changing national security environment featuring the new threats of terrorism, global volatility, and low-intensity conflict.
Follow-on crises requiring extensive DIA support included the US bombing of Tripoli, the ousting of "Baby Doc" Duvalier in Haiti, and the fire at the nuclear reactor at Chernobyl. General Perroots ordered the development of the Operational Intelligence Crisis Center which greatly enhanced DIA's capability to respond to crisis situations. Moreover, to relieve overcrowding in the Defense Intelligence Analysis Center (DIAC), the Agency leased a building in Arlington, Virginia.
During this time, the Agency focused on the shifting national security environment and other key issues including changes within the Soviet Union, counternarcotics, warfighting capabilities and sustainability, and low-intensity conflict. Steps were taken to improve Department of Defense-wide automated data bases and to apply additional resources monitoring terrorist groups, illegal arms shipments, and narcotics trafficking. Arms control monitoring also resulted in increased demand for intelligence support from DIA.
The National Military Intelligence Center was upgraded, renovated, and collocated with the Joint Chiefs of Staff National Military Command Center to permit fusion of operations and intelligence during crises at the national level. The Goldwater-Nichols Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 designated DIA a "Combat Support Agency." As a result, DIA quickly sought to increase cooperation between with the Unified and Specified Commands and develop a joint intelligence doctrine.
The Deputy Directorate for Unified and Specified Command Support and Plans (CSP) was finally approved in 1987. The National Military Intelligence Support Teams, which fell under CSP, reached full operating capability in January 1987, and could deploy three two-man teams in support of a crisis. During this period, they deployed on a number of exercises to test equipment, gain credibility, and overcome logistical issues.
Intelligence support to US allies in the Persian Gulf intensified as the Iran-Iraq War spilled into the Gulf. DIA provided significant intelligence support to Operation EARNEST WILL and incidents such as the Iraqi rocket attack on the USS STARK, the destruction of Iranian oil platforms, and Iranian attacks on Kuwaiti oil tankers. The "Toyota War" between Libya and Chad and the turmoil in Haiti added to the heavy production workload as did unrest in the other parts of Latin America, Somalia, Ethiopia, Burma, Pakistan, and the Philippines.