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Books Monographs

The History of CIA's Office of Strategic Research, 1967-81

By Robert Vickers (2019)

Cover of a publication title "Office of Strategic Research" showing stacks of negatives and a camera lens.


The year 2017 marked the 50th anniversary of the creation of the CIA’s Office of Strategic Research. It was established on 1 July 1967 to bring together analysts responsible for military analysis in CIA’s Directorate of Intelligence. OSR’s mission was to provide the director of central intelligence with independent CIA assessments of foreign strategic military threats.

During its 15 years of existence, OSR played a key role in providing in-depth military analysis and current intelligence reporting to senior policymakers on multiple, high-priority security issues, including the strategic military threats posed by the Soviet Bloc and Communist China, arms control measures and treaty verification, and various regional military conflicts and crises. The office grew to become one of the largest and most productive in the DI, and its leadership drew some of the Agency’s best and brightest. Many of OSR’s managers would come to hold some of the highest positions in CIA and the Intelligence Community, and CIA’s strategic military analysis would continue to play an important policy support role through the end of the Cold War.

After an executive summary, eight chapters chronicle OSR’s life. A ninth chapter addresses the work of military analysis from the office’s dissolution in a major reorganization in 1981 through the Cold War. A conclusion takes stock of the entire period. Finally, an interactive index of the book’s 220 pages is available in this PDF.

Download PDF of complete book (220 pages)