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CIA's Directorate of Science & Technology Celebrates 50 Years of Technological Excellence

Film from the CORONA photographic reconnaissance satellite program developed by DS&T.
Film from the CORONA photographic reconnaissance satellite program.
Director of Central Intelligence John McCone in 1962 began creating a new directorate within the CIA that would bring cutting-edge technology to the nation’s hardest intelligence challenges. This led to the creation of the Directorate of Science and Technology (DS&T) in 1963.

During the past 50 years, Technical Operations Officers from the DS&T serving around the world have been attacking our national intelligence problems with bold solutions to ensure the safety and security of US citizens.

Throughout the coming year, the DS&T will celebrate the contributions and honor the service of DS&T officers and their families.

The Officers of the DS&T

DS&T officers have expertise that spans biology, chemistry, engineering, and computer science, and they have many niche talents that support Agency operations around the world.  They apply their skills to technological challenges facing the Intelligence Community, developing innovative solutions that may have broader application. Revolutionary technologies originally developed in the DS&T include imaging technology used in digital mammography and the lithium ion battery.

Some of the DS&T’s accomplishments over the last five decades include:

  • 1960s: Developing CORONA, the US’s first film-return photoreconnaissance satellite, which was crucial to intelligence collection during the Cold War.
  • 1970s: Raising a portion of a sunken Soviet submarine from the floor of the Pacific Ocean (Project Azorian).
  • 1980s: Rescuing six US diplomats at risk of capture during the Iranian hostage crisis.
  • 1990s: Identifying the timer circuit used in the explosive that downed Pam Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in December 1988.
  • 2000s: Providing forensic analysis used in confirming the identity of Usama Bin Ladin and other high-value targets.


Anniversary events now through August 2013 include declassification of select DS&T documents, assembly of a time capsule and commemorative programs for employees.

For more about the founding of the DS&T, check out DCI John McCone Creates the Directorate of Science and Technology.

Historical Document
Posted: Sep 13, 2012 09:01 AM
Last Updated: Aug 06, 2018 02:22 PM