Why did the DIA Create the Defense Clandestine Service (DCS) Similar to the CIA’s National Clandestine Service (NCS)?

The Defense Intelligence Agency under the orders and management of the Pentagon created the Defense Clandestine Service to assist the Department of Defense with collecting intelligence pertaining to foreign militaries instead of just focusing on battlefield intelligence.  The Pentagon has decided to renew and expand the program formerly known as the Defense Humint Service to send undercover intelligence operatives to work hand in hand with the CIA.  The CIA, after two wars, has stretchered its resources to the limits and is unable to focus its attention on the issues which most interest the DOD and the Pentagon when it comes to foreign military threats such as Iran and China.  DCS “case officers” will train and deploy alongside their CIA counterparts, working out of US embassies around the world and working under CIA station chiefs.  DIA operatives, because of their military backgrounds, are believed to be better equipped to collect specific information about military technology that the Pentagon requires to thwart any national security threats.  However, there are still some issues looming around about the creation of undercover slots for the newly formed DCS, as all slots in US embassies are taken by the CIA.  Even so, the Pentagon and the CIA both agree that the newly formed military spy agency is necessary and will be very helpful in assisting the CIA mission abroad. 

Although the Central Intelligence Agency’s National Clandestine Service (NCS) is responsible for all foreign intelligence collection, the Defense Intelligence Agency created the newly formed Defense Clandestine Service (DCS).  Under the Department of the Defense’s management, the DCS will join the NCS in solely collecting foreign military and defense intelligence to satisfy the DOD and DIA’s intelligence collection requirements.  This paper will attempt to answer why was this service created if the CIA’s NCS was conducting the same operations?

This research paper will attempt to answer why the Defense Intelligence Agency created the Defense Clandestine Service (DCS) similar to that of the Central Intelligence Agency? Was the DIA’s intelligence collection requirements unfulfilled by the CIA’s NCS, or was it nothing more than bureaucracy in order for the DIA to get some recognition and funding? How does the DCS organizational structure differ from the NCS? And what are the DCS’s operational purposes and priorities?

In a scholarly article by Mark Ambinder, the author mentions the goals of the creation of the Defense Clandestine Service (DCS) and broke it down to its basic operational elements. During week one’s assignment, I hypothesized that the reason the DIA created its own spy agency was because it was dissatisfied with the CIA’ National Clandestine Service collection and intelligence.  However, after reading this article, it became apparent that the DIA had a different reason.  The DCS will “conduct human intelligence (HUMINT) operations to answer national-level defense objectives for the President, the Secretary of Defense, and senior policy-makers.” DCS case officers “conduct source operations in every region of the world, alone or in teams. They use their innate intellect, flexibility and creativity — augmented by knowledge of the culture and comprehensive training — to recruit and manage HUMINT sources whose information answers national-level defense objectives.” (Ambinder 2012)  This simply means that the DIA will deploy its spies to support warfighters and collect information pertaining to foreign militaries, defense, and national security, which in turn will allow the CIA to “rebalance its own objectives” (Ambinder 2012) and focus more on narcotics, proliferation, cyber-intelligence, China, and Russia.

This article also brushed upon another reason why the DIA wants its own intelligence service. The reason is that most case officers with the DIA were soldiers “thus subject to different and more stringent rules of conduct, and because the Defense Intelligence Agency hasn’t generally been the place where talented would-be intelligence operatives would base their careers. Many HUMINT officers serve transiently.” (Ambinder 2012)

Similarly, a peer reviewed article by Adam Entous closed the loophole of why this DCS was created.  According to this article the DIA is “restructuring is part of a broader shift in emphasis by the U.S. military after a decade of expensive, troop-intensive land wars” which will solely focus on “collecting tactical and operational intelligence used day to day by troops on the battlefield.” (Entous 2012)  The article discussed how the DOD is increasing its “role in the collection of sensitive intelligence about global threats to the U.S” that “would complement, rather than compete with, the CIA.” (Entous 2012)

Furthermore, a government scholarly publication by Army Sgt. 1st Class Marshall was dedicated to explaining yet another side of coin for the creation of the DCS.  According to Sgt. 1st Class Marshall “the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency shared his vision of accelerating change and building capacity within the agency” (Marshall 2012).  This article touched on how the director of the DIA viewed the creation of this defense spy agency and how he believed it was a “major adjustment for national security.” (Marshall 2012) The DIA director continued his analysis by mentioning his intention to capitalize on professional development and leadership within the agency by stating that the “DIA has a “fairly healthy budget,” and he said he has made professional development one of his priorities.” (Marshall 2012)

Another peer reviewed article by Greg Miller explains even further to why the creation of this newly formed spy agency was highly required.  This article discussed the new rule of the defense spy agency how it would not interfere with the CIA’s mission.  On the contrary it emphasized that the newly formed HUMINT intelligence service “does not involve new manpower . . . does not involve new authorities” (Miller 2012) and how the DIA is only “shifting its emphasis as we look to come out of war zones and anticipate the requirements over the next several years.” (Miller 2012)

Likewise, another article by Greg Miller explained in more details the intentions of the DIA to expand its spy networks overseas and turn the agency from a war-fighting support service to a full intelligence collection agency that rivals the CIA in size.  The DCS will be tasked to collect the Pentagon’s top intelligence requirements that are but not limited to “Islamist militant groups in Africa, weapons transfers by North Korea and Iran, and military modernization underway in China.” (Miller 2012)  This article also brushed up on the anticipated problems the creation of this new spy agency would create however according to the DIA director Lt. Gen Flynn, the DIA’s readjustment won’t obstruct congressional inquiry stating that “We have to keep congressional staffs and members in the loop”, continuing “that he believes the changes will help the United States anticipate threats and avoid being drawn more directly into what he predicted will be an “era of persistent conflict.” (Miller 2012)

Finally, a scholarly article by Joe Wolverton talked about the government expanding its spy network by adding an intelligence service to the DOD.  It stated that the DCS’s mission will be “human intelligence (HUMINT) operations to answer national-level defense objectives for the President, the Secretary of Defense, and senior policymakers.  The civilian and military workforce of the DCS conducts clandestine and overt intelligence operations in concert with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and our Military Services to accomplish their mission in defense of the Nation.” (Wolverton 2013) In addition to that, the article elaborated about the US government intentions of mixing up the defense intelligence by hiring civilians that meet the requirements so that “Soldiers (“warfighters”) and spies working together to “protect our national security” globally” is achieved (Wolverton 2013).

The Defense Intelligence Agency under the orders and management of the Pentagon created a the Defense Clandestine Service to assist the Department of Defense with collecting intelligence pertaining to foreign militaries instead of just focusing on battlefield intelligence.  The Pentagon has decided to renew and expand the formerly known as the Defense Humint Service to send undercover intelligence operatives to work hand in hand with the CIA.  The CIA, after two wars, has stretchered its resources to the limits and is unable to focus its attention on the issues the DOD and the Pentagon are most interested in when it comes to foreign military threats such as Iran and China.  DCS “case officers” will train and deploy alongside their CIA counterparts, working out of US embassies around the world and working under CIA station chiefs.  DIA operatives, and because of their military backgrounds, are believed to be better equipped to collect specific information about military technology that the Pentagon requires to thwart any national security threats.  However, there are still some issues looming around about the creating of undercover slots for the newly formed DCS, as all slots in US embassies are taken by the CIA.  Even so, the Pentagon and the CIA both agree that the newly formed military spy agency is necessary and will be very helpful in assisting the CIA mission abroad. 

The hypothesis of this research question was that the DIA was dissatisfied with the intelligence collected by its counterpart, CIA.   This was proposed based on the evidence gathered form the studied reports and journals.  This studied materials at first glance hinted to the dissatisfaction of the DIA with the information it was receiving from the CIA.  However, after further review and analysis, it became clear that this was not the issue.  The CIA was doing everything in its power to provide the DIA with intelligence related to its core mission, battlefield and military intelligence.  The CIA was stretched to its limits given it was fighting many wars at many ends and had exhausted its manpower. 

The real issue here was that the Pentagon and the DOD had finally decided that an intelligence agency should have its own spy program.  The DIA’s DCS was created to tackle the issues that the CIA simply did not want or could tackle. These issues were foreign military capability and intentions and battlefield tactical intelligence.  The DIA, as a result, was forced to initiate or expand upon its own collection apparatus.  The DCS was tasked with the collection of foreign military intelligence, capabilities, technologies, and intentions.  The DIA is believed to be better prepared to tackle such a task.  Due to its military nature, the DIA’s spy program consists of military human collector as well as newly recruited civilian case officers.  These case officers’ core mission is to collect the DIA’s priority intelligence requirements (PIRs) as well as to develop and recruit foreign agents and establish their collection networks.  Further,  DIA’s spy core is believed to be more suitable and fit for these types of intelligence operations because of the majority of their case officers have some sort of military background, which uniquely qualifies them to conduct such operations.

Although this project is still in its infancy phase and will continue to grow and recruit until 2018 (Wolverton 2013), the DIA is already facing significant challenges to establish this program.  Based on the analysis of the subject, one of the issues facing this program is professional development and training new case officers.  The Pentagon, DODO, and CIA agreed that the development of new case officers will be conducted alongside the CIA (Miller 2012) to avoid unnecessary spending and help build the comradery between the two intelligence services.  The second and most focused on issue was the stationing of these DIA new case officers.  Due to the limited number of slots for intelligence officers within the State Department, placing DIA case officers was presumed to be a considerable challenge.  After reviewing and studying the material gathered for this research, only a partial answer was provided for this challenging problem.  Both the CIA and State Department mentioned that if necessary, they will make up more covert slots for DIA case officers.  These slots would be in the shape of military liaisons, advisors and attachés. (Entous 2012)

This program seems to be highly needed within the US intelligence community.  It could have substantial significant on the intelligence collected by the US intelligence services.  This significance could come in the shape of operational success and the collection of actionable and valuable information needed by US policy makers and military commanders to correctly steer the US in the right way, exercise sound foreign policy, and defend the US national security.  

All in all, the Department of Defense and the Pentagon have decided to create a spy agency under the Defense Intelligence Agency to primarily collect intelligence related to foreign militaries and defense in order to fulfill the Pentagon’s top intelligence requirements on other regions besides Iraq and Afghanistan.  The other evident reason that led to the creation of this agency is desire of the US intelligence community and Pentagon to rebalance the CIA’s work load and allow it to focus on the areas which the National Clandestine Service specializes in.  The Pentagon has decided to renew and expand the program formerly known as the Defense Humint Service to send undercover intelligence operatives to work hand in hand with the CIA.  The CIA, after two wars, has stretchered its resources to the limits and is unable to focus its attention on the issues which most interest the DOD and the Pentagon when it comes to foreign military threats such as Iran and China.  DCS “case officers” will train and deploy alongside their CIA counterparts, working out of US embassies around the world and working under CIA station chiefs.  DIA operatives, because of their military backgrounds, are believed to be better equipped to collect specific information about military technology that the Pentagon requires to thwart any national security threats.  However, there are still some issues looming around about the creation of undercover slots for the newly formed DCS, as all slots in US embassies are taken by the CIA.  Even so, the Pentagon and the CIA both agree that the newly formed military spy agency is necessary and will be very helpful in assisting the CIA mission abroad.  This literature review made it very clear that my hypothesis that the DIA was dissatisfied with the intelligence collected by its counterpart the CIA is not valid and clarified the actual reason behind this new change to the intelligence community.

 

Sources:

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Entous, Adam. “Pentagon to Create New Spy Service.” Wall Street Journal (Online), Apr 23,

            2012. n/a, http://search.proquest.com/docview/1008905652?accountid=8289.

Evans, Mike. “Pentagon creates a new intelligence agency.” thetimes.co.uk (2012),

http://www.lexisnexis.com.ezproxy2.apus.edu/hottopics/lnacademic/?

Marshall, Tyrone C. Defense Intel Agency Director Outlines Changes Under Way. Lanham,

 United States, Lanham: Federal Information & News Dispatch, Inc, 2012,

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Miller, Greg. 0004. “Pentagon revamps its spying program.” The Washington Post, 4. Regional

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“Pentagon creates new spy service.” The Guardian (London) – Final Edition. April 25, 2012

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Reilly, Sean. “New DOD Agency to Optimize Human Intelligence Collection Efforts.”

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http://search.proquest.com/docview/1014428328?accountid=8289.

Schmitt, Eric. 2012. “Defense Department Plans New Intelligence Gathering Service.” New York

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