The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) was created by the Department of Defense through the publication of Directive 5105.21, “Defense Intelligence Agency,” on 1 August 1961; the Agency was stood up on 1 October 1961. Behind the formation of the DIA was the desire to integrate military intelligence, regardless of source, within the Department of Defense. United States Air Force Lieutenant General Joseph Carroll was named the first director of the agency, which arose at the same time that the Cold War was experiencing some heightened tensions.  The DIA’s Defense Intelligence School was chartered 1962.

Although the size of the DIA is classified, estimates place its total number of employees at about 17,000, three-quarters of which are civilians. DIA personnel are stationed at hundred of locations around the globe, including at least 140 embassies (that figure is taken from 2013 DIA promotional video). They collect and analyze human-source intelligence (HUMINT) collected overtly and clandestinely, and the agency acts as the manager of Measurement and Signal Intelligence gathered by agencies within the Intelligence Community and by Intelligence components within the Armed Forces.

In 2014, the Pentagon sought to dramatically increase the number of DIA personnel in the field, but budget considerations and concerns over redundant intelligence efforts forced the agency to scale back its plans for over 1,000 personnel in its Defense Clandestine Service. (These agents are not authorized to carry out drone strikes or conduct regime-change operations.) According to an unnamed official quoted by the Washington Post, the DIA is responsible for up to a quarter of the intelligence data found in the President’s Daily Brief.

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