The DI was established in 1952 to help the President and other policymakers make informed decisions about our country’s national security. DI analysts look at all the available information on an issue and organize it for policymakers to give them more ideas on how to think about it. The grist for the analysts’ mill is a mix of often incomplete and frequently contradictory fragments of information collected around—and above—the world. From a near-void on vital topics during the early years to an overwhelming volume today, the information has come from a variety of sources and methods, including US personnel overseas as well as agent reports, satellite photography, foreign media, and sophisticated sensors.
Over the years, the DI has covered crises and confrontations, identified trends, and illuminated issues. It has produced timely information and insights available nowhere else and put them into the right hands. In so doing, it informed the decisionmaking that kept the Cold War from becoming a hot war, and it now plays a vital role in waging the global war against terrorism.
Key Events in DI History
1946 – The Office of Reports and Estimates (ORE) is created under an interagency Central Intelligence Group to do intelligence research, produce daily analytic reports, and write longer-term National Intelligence Estimates for policymakers.
1947 – President Truman signs the National Security Act of 1947 creating the CIA.
1950 – Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) Walter Bedell Smith divides ORE into three offices: the Office of National Estimates, which produces coordinated “national estimates”; the Office of Research and Report, which conducts basic research; and the Office of Current Intelligence, tasked with writing analytic summaries and other brief products for policymakers.
1952 – DCI Smith establishes the Directorate of Intelligence to replace ORE and streamline the production of finished intelligence analysis. President Truman, an avid reader of the Central Intelligence Bulletin, directs CIA to brief presidential candidates Eisenhower and Stevenson, a practice that continues today.
1956 – First U-2 aerial reconnaissance missions; DI analysts play a key role in developing realistic estimates of the size of the Soviet bomber force.
1960 – The Director of Intelligence (DDI) creates a small staff to identify intelligence problems that could benefit from automated information processing support. The staff identifies Soviet defense spending as a key problem and work begins on the Strategic Cost Analysis Model.
1963 – The 24-hour CIA Operations Center is established.
1964 – President Johnson wants his intelligence product at the close of each business day—this becomes the President’s Daily Brief.
1973 – The National Intelligence Officer system is initiated under the National Intelligence Council (NIC) to provide experts to advise and coordinate between agencies on key issues.
1976 – In response to criticism about Intelligence Community analysis on future Soviet military strength, DCI George Bush approves a Team A/Team B competitive analysis exercise as part of the National Intelligence Estimate, “Soviet Forces for Intercontinental Conflict Through the Mid-1980s.”
1977 – The DI is reorganized and renamed the National Foreign Assessment Center (NFAC), which includes a Center for Policy Support and the Offices of Regional and Political Analysis, Scientific Intelligence, and Weapons Intelligence.
1980 – The Arms Control and Intelligence Staff is established in NFAC for intelligence support on arms control issues.
1981 – NFAC creates the Technology Transfer Assessment Center to do analytic and intelligence support on international technology transfer issues. Later the same year, NFAC is again reorganized and renamed the DI; most functional offices are restructured into interdisciplinary regional offices.
1986 – The Counterterrorism Center is established under the Directorate of Operations to help combat international terrorist threats. DI officers serve in its analytic components to provide regional and functional expertise—the first permanent unit combining analysis and operations.
1988 – The Counterintelligence Center is established; like the Counterterrorism Center, it includes DI officers who provide analytic support.
1989 – The DCI Counternarcotics Center is established to bring together officers from across CIA, the Intelligence Community, law enforcement, and policy agencies.
1992 – The DCI Nonproliferation Center is established to strengthen DI interaction with the policy community on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
1997 – The DI’s five regional analytic offices are reconfigured into three. The DCI Nonproliferation Center adds additional analytic components and establishes a Senior Scientist position, thereby creating the largest concentration of proliferation experts in the Intelligence Community.
1998 – The Jeremiah Commission reviews the Intelligence Community’s performance on India and its unannounced nuclear test; the Commission offers recommendations to enhance the Community’s analytic warning capabilities. The DI’s Office of Policy Support is established to improve the quality of DI support to the policy community.
1999 – In December, the DI creates the Sherman Kent School For Intelligence Analysis to strengthen the professional understanding, expertise, and skills of intelligence analysts and those who manage them.
2000 – The first Career Analyst Program (CAP) class graduates from the Sherman Kent School in November, establishing the CAP as the core professional learning program for all new analysts joining CIA.
2001 – The DCI Center for Weapons Intelligence, Nonproliferation, and Arms Control is established, bringing together experts on all types of foreign weapons threats into one center. After the 11 September terrorist attacks, the existing analytic component in the Counterterrorism Center is significantly expanded and renamed the Office of Terrorism Analysis.
–In response to the events of 11 September, DCI Tenet tasked the DDI to create a “red cell” that would think unconventionally about the full range of relevant analytic issues. The DCI Red Cell takes a pronounced “out-of-the-box” approach and produces memos intended to provoke thought rather than to provide authoritative assessment.
2002 – The DI celebrates its 50th anniversary.
–CIA University is created to equip all CIA officers with the shared values, commitment to mission, knowledge, and excellence in intelligence tradecraft and leadership needed to accomplish the extraordinary tasks in their service to our nation. CIAU links together all existing CIA training programs, such as the DI Sherman Kent School, into CIA's first corporate university, and creates new CIA-wide schools to provide integrated training for all CIA officers in Agency mission and tradecraft knowledge, leadership, and foreign languages.
2003 – The DI Collection Requirements and Evaluation Staff (CRES) is reorganized and renamed the Office of Collection Strategies and Analysis (CSAA) in April. A number of factors drove this realignment, foremost of which were gaining greater flexibility in supporting global coverage issues, increasing analytic resources against high-priority issues, and strengthening the Directorate’s ability to drive future collection programs.
–The Office of Iraq Analysis is created in November to concentrate and expand the Directorate’s research and analysis effort on a major national security priority.
2004 – The 9/11 Commission Report is published in July, and provides recommendations on how to improve the collection, analysis, and organization of intelligence in light of lessons learned from the 11 September terrorist attacks on the United States.
–In August, a National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) is created to coordinate and monitor counterterrorism plans and activities of all government agencies and departments to ensure effective joint action based on all intelligence available to the US government. Numerous DI analysts are assigned to work in NCTC.
–The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 becomes law in December and creates the position of Director of National Intelligence, or DNI, to coordinate and lead the entire Intelligence Community. The Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) loses this function, and now reports to the DNI, re-named as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, or DCIA.
2005 – The report of the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, more commonly referred to as the WMD Commission is published. The report critiques the performance of the CIA and the Intelligence Community in their assessments of the presence of WMD in Iraq, and offers recommendations for improving intelligence performance, drawing upon lessons learned from this effort.