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The Director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency is a three-star military officer and is the highest ranking intelligence officer in the Department of Defense. He is the primary military intelligence advisor to the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and also answers to the Director of National Intelligence. The Director of DIA also commands the Joint Functional Component Command for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance which is subordinate to US Strategic Command. The Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence is the top Office of the Secretary of Defense intelligence civilian and is the primary military intelligence advisor to the DNI in his capacity as Director of Defense Intelligence.
As the first director of DIA, General Carroll faced the profound challenge of creating a new centralized intelligence organization in the face of the military services' opposition and at a time of increased Cold War tensions. General Carroll not only initiated DIA operations, he established precedents and procedures that would allow it to carry out its mission: to produce and manage foreign military intelligence for the Department of Defense. Such support was essential at a time when the United States was still solidifying its superpower status and facing ideological challenges as well as threats to national security.
The year 1969 began with the inauguration of a new President, Richard M. Nixon. That change in the nation's chief executive was echoed by a change in DIA's directorship later that year. With General Bennett's assumption of command, there was a change in the style but not substance of the organization's leadership: in other words, DIA had another strong, dedicated director to lead it through some very challenging times.
Admiral de Poix continued the reorganization of the Agency begun by his predecessor, General Bennett. Streamlining the organization had become critical since severe manpower cutbacks had taken a major toll on the Agency. DIA manpower had been cut by one third after Vietnam. By 1973, nearly all elements had been consolidated and realigned.
In October 1974, General Graham began a comprehensive overhaul of DIA production functions, organization, and management. The end of the Vietnam War produced many refugees and heightened concern for American POW/MIAs. Intense Congressional review during 1975-76 created turbulence in the national Intelligence Community. Amid these issues, massive resource decrements were faced by DIA and the entire Defense intelligence community.
General Wilson, who began his tenure as the Director, DIA in May 1976, completely reorganized the Defense Intelligence Agency. He assured the J-2's of the U&S Commands and the Services, however, of his "commitment to the pursuit of excellence within DIA, particularly in support of the operating forces." He pledged that one of his major goals as Director would be to stress "the importance of military operational intelligence requirements."
In 1978, the Deputy Secretary of Defense observed that, "The DIA has made laudable progress in improving the quality of its intelligence products and in focusing more sharply on the needs and concerns of its consumers. I am prepared now to support several additional steps which I believe will enhance the Agency's analysis and intelligence community standing." This resulted in a major reorganization of DIA, completed under the stewardship of General Tighe in August 1979, which established a basic infrastructure that lasted nearly a decade.
General Williams focused the Agency on enhancing support to tactical and theater commanders, improving capabilities to meet major wartime intelligence requirements, and strengthening indications and warning assets. In December 1981, President Reagan signed Executive Order 12333 giving the Intelligence Community a mandate for the years ahead.
Soon after General Perroots arrived at the Agency, Secretary of Defense Caspar 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.
Soon after his arrival at DIA, General Soyster directed the Defense intelligence effort in support of the successful US operation in Panama in 1989. This clearly demonstrated the benefits of increased cooperation and planning that had been achieved between DIA and operational force planners when compared to the 1983 Grenada incursion.
The Secretary of Defense appointed Mr. Nagy as Acting Director for the interim period from September through November 1991, the only civilian to be so named. In this capacity he provided continuity during a critical time when decrements against Agency resources caused reconsideration of many managerial issues and review of traditional threat priorities throughout the Defense Intelligence Community. He served until Lieutenant General James R. Clapper, Jr., USAF, assumed the directorship.
General Clapper came to DIA following the collapse of the Soviet Union as the predominant focus of US intelligence and in the aftermath of Operation DESERT STORM. DIA improved crisis management and support to the decision maker and warfighter based on the experience gained during the Gulf War. The end of the Cold War led to the most fundamental reexamination of US national security policy since the 1940s.
General Minihan came to DIA in the midst of critical events in the Balkans. In the summer of 1995, the Croatian Army launched several successful offensives in the Krajina region, NATO launched air strikes against targets in Bosnian Serb territory, and Bosnian Serb forces overran Srebrenica, a UN declared "safe area." In the fall on 1995, the major players in the Yugoslav crisis agreed in Geneva on the basic principles for peace in Bosnia.
General Hughes faced critical challenges in the area of terrorism in his first year as Director. In the wake of a terrorist bombing of US barracks at Khobar Towers on June 25, 1996 that left 24 dead and 500 wounded, DIA re-examined its counter-terrorism capability. Former DIA Director, Lieutenant General James Clapper, USAF (Ret), was selected as participant on the Khobar Towers Bomb Blast Assessment Team.
As Vice Admiral Wilson came on board in the summer of 1999. During Wilson's tenure DIA supported a Joint Task Forces deploying over 100 DIA augmentees and providing more than 600 personnel to intelligence task forces, to an Allied military intelligence battalion in Bosnia, and to National Intelligence Support Teams in Riyadh, Tuzla and Sarajevo.
Vice Admiral Lowell E. Jacoby was appointed as Acting Director on July 2002 and became the official Director on October 2002.
Major General Michael D. Maples, U.S. Army, was appointed the 16th DIA Director on November 4, 2005. He pinned on his third star on November 29. LTG Maples also commands the Joint Functional Component Command for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance for the United States Strategic Command. LTG Maples served as the Vice Director and Director of Management of the Joint Staff prior to assuming his responsibilities as DIA Director and Commander, JFCC-ISR.
In a ceremony held at the Defense Intelligence Analysis Center on March 18, 2009, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Ronald L. Burgess Jr. became the 17th director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and assumed command of the Joint Functional Component Command for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (JFCC-ISR) for U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM). Prior to assuming his new position, he served as the director of intelligence staff and as the acting principal deputy director of national intelligence, Office of the Director of National Intelligence.