Just as with Transportation, Ordnance, and other branches or corps of the U.S. Army, the Army has been concerned with Military Intelligence to one degree or another since the Revolutionary War. The first Army institution established to coordinate the gathering, analysis, and dissemination of intelligence was the Bureau of Military Information, formed in 1863; almost one hundred years would pass before the Army established its Intelligence and Security Branch on 3 July 1962, spurred on no doubt by the Cold War machinations of the Russian Bear. Almost five years later to the day, the branch was redesignated as Military Intelligence on 1 July 1967, making it the only branch in the Army to have two official “birthdays.

The Military Intelligence Regimental Distinctive Insignia, sometimes called a unit crest, is based heavily upon the branch’s coat of arms. An image of the sphinx is centered on a blue background atop a key and lightning bolt, all images representing general categories of intelligence. Signal Intelligence is symbolized with a lightning bolt to reflect speed of transmission; Human Intelligence is represented with a key; and the sphinx stands for the Tactical Intelligence gathered observation. The reality that many Military Intelligence units operate in forward operating areas is reflected in the motto, “ALWAYS OUT FRONT.”

This insignia was first approved on 28 July 1986, nearly a year before the Military Intelligence Corps was activated as a Regiment. It was subsequently revised on 24 March 1987 to change the sphinx from enamel to gold-plated and recessed.

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