The Defense Intelligence Agency, or DIA, is a major producer and manager of military intelligence for the United States Department of Defense. DIA, designated in 1986 as a Defense Department combat support and intelligence agency, was established in 1961 as a result of a decision by Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, under president John F. Kennedy . The Department of Defense created DIA with the publication of Directive 5105.21, "Defense Intelligence Agency" on 1 August, effective 1 October 1961. DIA was preceded by the Counter Intelligence Corps.
Approximately 8,000 men and women work for DIA worldwide (about 30% are military personnel and about 70% are civilians). The exact numbers and specific budget information are not publicly released due to security considerations. DIA has major operational activities at the Pentagon, the Defense Intelligence Analysis Center (DIAC), Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C., the Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center (AFMIC) in Fort Detrick, Maryland, and the Missile and Space Intelligence Center (MSIC) in Huntsville, Alabama. DIA is a member of the United States Intelligence Community, reporting to the Director of National Intelligence. The activities of DIA are often compared to Russia's GRU, the UK's Defence Intelligence Staff, and Israel's Aman (IDF).
DIA's mission is to provide timely and objective military intelligence to warfighters, policymakers, and force planners. It is considered to be a member of the Intelligence Community. The director of DIA is the main adviser to the United States Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on matters related to military intelligence. Under the support of the Military Intelligence Board, DIA unifies the Defense Intelligence Community on major issues such as the number of deployed forces, assessments, policy, and resources. To help weapon systems planners and the Defense community, DIA plays a major role in providing intelligence on foreign weapon systems.