Wear of suspenders with the mess, evening mess, and dress uniforms is authorized for male members of the Military Intelligence Corps with the provision that they are not visible when worn. Our Military Intelligence Corps suspenders are manufactured in Oriental Blue and come in two styles: clip-end or leather button-loop.

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One of the most important figures in the history of the United States Army’s Military Intelligence Corps is Major General Ralph Van Deman. Often called the “Father of American military intelligence,” Van Deman not only helped revive the moribund Army’s military intelligence section within the General Staff, but also helped establish the field of counterintelligence as a critical component of military-intelligence efforts.

Van Deman had already graduated from Harvard, spent time in law school, and was a student at Miami Medical University in Cincinnati when he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Infantry branch in 1891. After earning his M.D. in 1893, he attended the U.S. Infantry and Cavalry School at Fort Leavenworth in 1895. It was here that he met an instructor named Colonel Arthur L. Wagner, who authored the book The Service of Security and Information during his tenure at the school.

When he was named head of the Military Information Division in the Adjutant General’s Office, Wagner summoned Van Deman to work under him. With the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, Van Deman began work on what he came to dub “positive intelligence”—collecting data on Spanish military capabilities in Cuba, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico. But arguably the pivotal point in the development of Van Deman’s military-intelligence paradigm came after the war’s conclusion when he was assigned to the Philippines, where he eventually was placed in charge of Bureau of Insurgent Records within the Military Information Division of the Philippines.

This division, autonomous from the organization in the Adjutant General’s Office, had been formed by the Army in 1901 to locate and identify enemy forces during the Philippine-American War. But while the war officially ended in 1902, U.S. forces faced a new type of enemy: guerilla insurgents. Working intimately with the files containing data on the insurgents, Van Deman could see just how great a threat the espionage that fueled guerrilla movements posed to American troops.

Returning to the U.S. from the Philippines, Van Deman spent time performing cartography and as an Inspector General before joining the General Staff in 1915 and discovering its Military Intelligence Division had atrophied to the post of near-uselessness. After successfully lobbying the Secretary of War to establish a separate Military Intelligence Section in the War Department when the U.S. entered World War I, Van Deman was placed at its head and divided its efforts into the aforementioned “positive intelligence” and “negative intelligence,” i.e., counterintelligence and/or counterespionage.

To carry out the negative intelligence missions, Van Deman established the Corps of Intelligence Police, which performed investigations into acts of espionage, sabotage, and subversion both stateside and in Europe. Despite controversies and interwar downsizing, the Corps remained in existence throughout World War II and Korea, but under the more appropriate name of Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC). In 1961, the CIC was incorporated into a consolidated Intelligence Corps, which a year later was merged with other intelligence organizations to form the independent basic branch of Army Intelligence and Security.

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