The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)

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Introduction

 The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) is an intelligence gathering outfit of the United States Government which mainly focuses on military and defense intelligence. The agency was formed in 1961 and has been active for about 55 years. The DIA is a part of the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community[1]. It was created to avoid strategic surprises and so at to deliver tactical and strategic advice to defense planners during both wartime and peace. However, as has been the trend in recent years, financial cutbacks in government agencies are threatening the relevance of the agency. This paper provides evidence to show that the DIA is not becoming redundant in the Intelligence Community of the United States.

 Since the year 2012, the US has been accruing debts of about 1 trillion dollars per year. This has put pressure on many government organizations to implement cutback strategies to increase the organizations’ effectiveness in the face of the huge budget deficit. However, even is this state of affairs, the DIA is increasing its efficiency in collection of covert intelligence. Moreover, it is even overtaking organizations such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in collection of human intelligence.

 Currently, the CIA and the Department of Defense (DoD) are in competition regarding the launch of drone strikes that target suspected terrorists. However, in the present world, using conventional military intervention such as drone strikes is frowned upon. Therefore, the country makes use of covert intelligence gathering so as to avert unproductive strife and wars. This is where the relevance of the DIA comes in. although it has been claimed that the organization is not allowed expansion of its payroll, the existing officers will be used in clandestine operations. The financial cutbacks will see the removal of agents from warzone fields such as Syria and the Middle East and have them focus on less aggressive but equally critical missions such as the neutralization of militants in terrorist cells inside the country. This approach has probably been inspired by the CIA who also utilized it by withdrawing from hot zones and into more strategic espionage areas. This can be demonstrated through the fact that the CIA is responsible for the training of most DIA field agents[2].

 While some may use the fact that cutbacks have increased interagency rivalries and turf battles with respect to intelligence gathering to show how the DIA may be disadvantaged since the CIA and the DoD are older and more powerful in the community, the liaison between the DIA and the CIA during the training of agents can be used to prove that the DIA is not redundant. Moreover, such interagency coordination snafus, if they exist, no longer play out for significant periods. This is because since the attack on 9/11 which was partly a result of failed interagency liaison, agencies have paid more credence to working together instead of fighting over jurisdictions[3]

 Another means to look into the DIA’s relevance and significance during financial cutbacks is to compare the roles of its peer agencies in the intelligence community. DIA’s peer agencies in the intelligence community include the National Security Agency (NSA) and the CIA. This is so as to cross examine the roles to find out if the roles overlap and if the DIA performs roles that are already handled by the other two older organizations. The CIA is indubitably the most revered intelligence gathering agency in the United States. However, it has been receiving bad repertoire due to the nature of its covert and clandestine operations. Its mandate is to perform covert operations on foreign countries and analyze information that is relevant to the national security of the country[4]. Moreover, the CIA is responsible for collection of information crucial to the making of policies by the administration. However, due to a myriad of bad reputation and failures, the agency has been supplanted in their role of advising the administration. This bad reputation faced by the CIA has been a welcome opportunity to the DIA since the latter agency is being preferred over the former in matters of strategic consultancy.

 The DIA in contrast to the CIA has different roles. The sole mandate of the agency has been the collection of military intelligence from foreign countries so as to aid the country in different strategic positions. First among these positions is in the designing, producing and distributing of weapons. Another position is in the movement of the nation’s troops. Other positions include advising the administration on foreign military capabilities, foreign military strategies, foreign battlefield intelligence, foreign shifts in diplomacy and administration and other changes in foreign economies and policies. Thereby, it can be concluded that even with financial cutbacks that call for interagency liaisons, the two agencies do not have common roles that could mean obsolesce of either one of them.

 Moreover, the two agencies report to and assist different departments of the governments. The CIA has a heavy bearing on the civilian section of the government since it advises each sitting administration. The DIA however has a heavy bearing on the military section of the government. In essence, DIA advises military officials, defense officials, combat commanders and other policy makers. This provides for a scenario where the DIA cannot be made redundant since the position they hold in the nation’s affairs cannot be filled by any other agency. This is inclusive of the NSA too.

 When comparing the roles of the NSA and the DIA, not many roles coincide too. The NSA for example, is responsible for collection of information from all over the world for counter intelligence purposes[5]. The NSA however has the special task of safeguarding the nation’s information systems and communication networks. Although the NSA collects military intelligence from foreign countries like the DIA does, the former places precedence to intelligence regarding the use of information technology. Therefore, with interagency liaisons resulting from financial cutbacks, the NSA will lead the other agencies in fronts regarding information technology intelligence. This however does not spell redundancy for the DIA however since it only presents a chance to learn from the best.

Conclusion

 While the nation has been experiencing financial cutbacks in budgetary allocations, government organizations have been forced to result into means of coping that might reduce their effectiveness if not properly managed. Therefore, some have challenged the relevance of the Defense Intelligence Agency in the presence of other more media-prolific agencies such as the CIA and the NSA. However, this paper has proven that the DIA cannot become redundant seeing that the role it plays in ensuring national security is unique and cannot be filled by other agencies. Moreover, the effectiveness of interagency liaisons since 9/11 has enabled the agency to operate with minimal rivalry from other agencies in the intelligence community.   

Bibliography

Bruijn, Hans De. "One fight, one team: the 9/11 commission report on intelligence, fragmentation and information ." Public Administration, 2006: 267-287.

Connell, Anne. "The architecture of smart intelligence: structuring and overseeing agencies in the post 9/11 world." Calofornia law Review, 2006: 1655-1744.

Priest, Dana, and William Arkin. "A hidden world, growing beyond control." Washington Post 19, 2010.


[1] Priest, Dana, and William Arkin. "A hidden world, growing beyond control." Washington Post 19, 2010.

[2] Priest, Dana, and William Arkin. "A hidden world, growing beyond control." Washington Post 19, 2010.

[3] Connell, Anne. "The architecture of smart intelligence: structuring and overseeing agencies in the post 9/11 world." Calofornia law Review, 2006: 1655-1744.

[4] bruijn, Hans De. "One fight, one team: the 9/11 commission report on intelligence, fragmentation and information ." Public Administration, 2006: 267-287.

[5] bruijn, Hans De. "One fight, one team: the 9/11 commission report on intelligence, fragmentation and information." Public Administration, 2006: 267-287.

 

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