instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads

At the Creation, 1961-1965: Origination Documents of the Defense Intelligence Agency

At the Creation is the documentary record of the Agency’s early tumultuous years as the first central Defense intelligence organization in the United States history. Inside this book are 104 Department of Defense documents from 1961 to 1965--some highly classified in their day--telling precisely when, how, why, and by whom DIA was established. The story will be of interest to any serious student of the United States intelligence agencies.

Before DIA was established in 1961, the Army, Navy, and Air Force managed their own intelligence programs according to their needs. Wasteful duplication, unsatisfactory coordination, and conflicting intelligence estimates frequently resulted. There was keen competition and bias in intelligence products. Several post-World War II presidential commissions confirmed that central management was best for Defense intelligence and the Secretary of Defense should be in charge.

On February 8, 1961, Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara directed the establishment of what would become DIA. The Agency opened for business on October 1, 1961 under Air Force Lieutenant General Joseph F. Carroll, DIA’s first director. General Carroll started with 25 military and civilian employees in the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Today, thousands of employees work for DIA all over the world. After 40 years managing Defense intelligence, DIA is an indispensable part of the U.S. intelligence community.

The DIA History Office Staff is publishing this collection as the origination document volume in a series on significant Cold War Defense intelligence records. This first volume is released to coincide with the 40th Anniversary of DIA, and provides an understanding of the original mission of the Agency and its continuing importance in a new era of Defense intelligence to policymakers, diplomats, commanders, and law enforcement officials.

--From the Back Cover


As DIA enters its fourth decade of preeminence in Defense intelligence support, we have an obligation to DIA employees, the public, and historians to unveil the previously classified materials on the origins and accomplishments of this Agency. We have done so in the form of his introductory volume. In the near future, we will publish additional volumes covering the years from 1965 to the present.

This volume should also provide Defense intelligence insight into national security planners and decision makers as they face new intelligence challenges and consider future Intelligence Community organizational and mission structuring. I hope the readers find this first installment as useful, informative, and interesting as I have.
--Preface, Vice Admiral L.E. Jacoby, Director, DIA