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Defense Intelligence Agency-DIA

Updated on April 2, 2014

DIA & the American Warfighter

Greetings, please allow me to share with you a recent Intelligence Community assignment that I submitted at American Military University. The parameters of the assignment presented by our professor, was as follows: Professor’s Statement/Question: DIA is an all-source defense agency designed to prevent strategic surprise and deliver a decision advantage to warfighters, defense planners, and policymakers. In this day and age of massive budget deficits and increased Congressional oversight do you think DIA has become redundant?

Section I: Introduction:

The goal of this paper is to present a theoretical reasoning that confirms DIA’s mission, role and capabilities within the American Intelligence Community are of immense value to the United States government’s National Security agenda. Moving forward, the focal point of this document will revolve around assessing the DIA/warfighter relationship and establish that in a post 9/11 world, it is the DIA/warfighter symbiotic relationship that places the United States military in a position of high probability of mission success.

Section II: DIA’s Mission and Capabilities:

Today the ever evolving role of the United States military is constant as the enemies of the United States are an amalgamation of state and non-state actors that are willing to challenge the intestinal fortitude of America’s government, military and non-combatant private citizens. Therefore DIA’s commitment to provide “all-source defense intelligence to prevent strategic surprise and deliver a decision advantage to warfighters, defense planners, and policymakers” ( 1) can be perceived as a needed service to the American warfighter and DoD upper echelon defense planners and policy makers. It can also be ascertained that the executive branch of United States government who must make complex decisions regarding the utilization of the American military would be in need of sound DoD generated intelligence that would provide the President and his cabinet members with the insight needed to make prudent choices. Moving forward beyond the vital role that DIA plays within the American National Security agenda, a case in point can be made for its empirical mission capabilities such as possessing the expertise to “collect, process, exploit, and analyze foreign military and defense-related information, and then produce and disseminate timely and relevant all-source analysis.” ( 2) It can be argued that it these aforementioned core attributes that afforded the American warfighter a distinct edge on the battlefield since 1961. Although some may contend that DIA’s primary role was providing the executive branch policy makers with insight into America’s Cold War nemesis the former USSR. However a counter to that assertion would be as the realm of geopolitics transformed with the tearing down of the Berlin Wall symbolizing an end to approximately forty years of the USA and Russia competing for the hearts and minds of the international community, DIA evolved as well, above and beyond its Cold War mission status. At present, the global community with the use of modern technology is making the world a much smaller place to exist in. The challenges and threats that the enemies of the United States can gain access to via cyberspace are endless. Therefore, DIA’s vast Information Technology component is directed by The Directorate for Information Management and Chief Information Office (DS). The DS is charged with providing “agile, secure, global IT enterprise, driving information dominance throughout the operational spectrum in defense of our nation, by leveraging technology across all classification domains through One Secure Environment (OSE).” ( 3) In addition to DIA’s cyber warfare prowess the DoD agency also leads the way in Measurement and Signature Intelligence (MASINT) technology which is crucial to monitor, contain, disrupt and eventually destroy the nuclear weapons development programs in Iran and North Korea. DIA’s expertise in MASINT technology places in the position to “within the Department of Defense (DoD), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) provides central coordination for MASINT collection efforts.” ( 4 ) Thus, placing DIA in the integral role within the American Intelligence Community and overall National Security priorities while keeping senior level policy makers informed regarding genuine threats in the domains of “intruder detection, strategic missile launch warning, and nuclear weapons test monitoring. Other MASINT-based ATSS currently in development will perform a variety of roles--e.g., non-cooperative recognition and engagement of surface and air targets, active missile detection and countermeasure, fratricide prevention, vehicle survivability and intelligence gathering operations.” ( 5 ) It can be ascertained that DIA’s mission, role, and capabilities as they relate to both the warfighter and the larger Intelligence Community is that of a position of leadership and with the current geopolitical climate of the rise of the Peoples Republic of China, a deteriorating relationship with Russia, an unstable nuclear obsessed Iran and North Korea; suffice it to say DIA’s mission is imperative to America’s National Security priorities.

Section III: Is DIA Redundant?

In regarding evaluating the possible redundancy of DIA’s mission, role and capabilities it can be argued that when viewing the mission statements of the additional sixteen Intelligence Community members and one can find a sense of encouragement as the missions of the American IC overlap producing for the proponents of a safe and secure America not a sense of redundancy; to the contrary one can perceive a spirit of unity of purpose. That being stated, DIA’s history and modern day strategic vision encompasses a broad range of capabilities that are centralized on the overall well-being of the American warfighter. The United States is now emerging from decade of conventional warfare in Iraq and American troops are still deployed and putting their lives on the line in Afghanistan. These facts make it very difficult to judge DIA as a redundant intelligence agency. However, reality dictates that today’s global economic crisis has produced adverse effects worldwide including the United States. Thus, economic concerns may lead a portion of American government officials to harshly scrutinize, second guess, and assign doubt as to the value of DIA.

In summation the argument that places DIA’s worth to the United States National Security agenda on the pendulum can arguably be evaluated as to the American warfighters victories over the preceding fifty two years of DIA’s existence. Most would agree that the aforementioned evaluation process as to what is considered a victory in the realm of conventional warfare is highly subjective. However the United States is currently a nation at war, therefore one only need to take a comprehensive view of the American warfighters performance in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the United States’ on-going global war on terrorism. To reiterate, DIA’s value is based on the individual or groups perspective, however proponents of a strong, safe and secure United States of America homeland as well secure American interest abroad may view DIA as a high value Department of Defense Military Intelligence agency that is vital to U.S. National Security.

Section IV: Selected Bibliography:

1. DIA is first in all-source defense intelligence to prevent strategic surprise and deliver a decision advantage to warfighters, defense planners, and policymakers. DIA deploys globally alongside warfighters and interagency partners to defend America's national security interest.

2. DIA Directorate for Information Management and Chief Information Office (DS) delivers secure digital intelligence through IT supremacy, ensuring vigilant awareness, and enabling decision advantage anywhere at any time. One agile, secure, global IT enterprise, driving information dominance throughout the operational spectrum in defense of our nation, by leveraging technology across all classification domains through OSE. DS must succeed for the nation’s intelligence enterprise to succeed. Intelligence and information today are inherently digital; the nation trusts us to securely distribute that information so those involved in defense—from top decision makers to individual warriors—can secure our country. To fulfill this trust, we partner with those who contribute to the intelligence mission. Defense Intelligence Agency Strategy Strategic Vision: 2012-2017;

3. The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) works to provide science-based analysis of and solutions to protect against catastrophic threats to national and international security. Specifically, FAS works to reduce the spread and number of nuclear weapons, prevent nuclear and radiological terrorism, promote high standards for nuclear energy’s safety and security, illuminate government secrecy practices, as well as track and eliminate the global illicit trade of conventional, nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. FAS was founded in 1945 by many of the Manhattan Project scientists who wanted to prevent nuclear war and is one of the longest serving organizations in the world dedicated to reducing nuclear threats and informing the public debate by providing technically-based research and analysis on these issues.


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