The Work of a Nation

Key Events in CIA History

1942Donovan Close Up

13 June
President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs a military order establishing the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and naming William J. Donovan as its Director. Donovan remained a civilian until 24 March 1943, when he was appointed brigadier general. He advanced to the rank of major general on 10 November 1944.


museum-oss-pin-007 -cropped.jpg


1 October
President Harry S. Truman’s Executive Order 9621 abolishes the OSS and transfers its functions to the State and War Departments.



22 January
President Truman signs an executive order establishing the Central Intelligence Group to operate under the direction of the National Intelligence Authority. Truman names the first Director of Central Intelligence (DCI), Rear Admiral Sidney W. Souers, USNR, who was sworn in on the following day.


CIA Seal1947

18 September
The National Security Act of 1947 establishes the National Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to replace the National Intelligence Authority and the Central Intelligence Group.



20 June
The Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949 provides special legal and administrative authorities and responsibilities for the Agency and the DCI.



1 December
The Directorate of Administration is established.

DI Seal


2 January
Creation of the Directorate of Intelligence.



1 August
Establishment of the Directorate of Plans.



4 AugustOHB Close Up
President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a bill authorizing $46 million for construction of a CIA Headquarters Building.



3 November
Laying of the cornerstone of the CIA Headquarters Building in Langley, Virginia.

DST Seal


5 August
The Directorate of Science and Technology is created.



1 December
President Lyndon B. Johnson receives the first President’s Daily Brief (PDB).



1 March
The Directorate of Plans becomes the Directorate of Operations.

NHB Close Up


1 November
Vice President George H. W. Bush presides at the laying of the cornerstone for the Headquarters Building Expansion. The New Headquarters Building is completed and occupied in March 1991.



18 September
The Central Intelligence Agency celebrates its 50th Anniversary.

Bush Entrance Sign


26 April
The CIA headquarters compound is dedicated as the George Bush Center for Intelligence as specified in the Intelligence Authorization Act for fiscal year 1999.



4 June
CIA announces a major realignment of its support functions by replacing the Directorate of Administration with the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Information Officer (CIO), Global Support, Human Resources and Security Mission Support Offices.

DNI Seal


17 December
President George W. Bush signs the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act which restructures the intelligence community, abolishing the positions of DCI and DDCI and creating the position of the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (D/CIA).



4 January
Creation of the Directorate of Support, which replaces the Mission Support Offices.



13 October
Creation of the National Clandestine Service, replacing the Directorate of Operations, to oversee the Agency’s operational activities and the task of coordinating clandestine HUMINT collection community-wide.

To visit the Interactive Timeline, click here.

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Historical Document
Posted: Sep 10, 2009 10:08 AM
Last Updated: Jun 18, 2013 01:29 PM