History of the NIU
Toward the end of his administration, President Dwight
Eisenhower appointed a Joint Study Group to examine the organizational and
management structure of U.S. foreign intelligence. Its foremost concern was
military intelligence coordination. The final report advanced the concept of a
new intelligence organization which would act as the primary point of contact
for the military intelligence community—a defense intelligence community, a defense
In January 1961, President John F. Kennedy and his
Secretary of Defense, Robert S. McNamara, took an immediate interest in the
concept of an agency which would extensively integrate the military
intelligence efforts of all Department of Defense elements. They had become
responsible for national security in the era of Khrushchev, the U-2 crisis, a
deteriorating situation in Southeast Asia, and the Bay of Pigs. In August 1961,
the Department of Defense established the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).
DIA was responsible to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) for the integration of
Department of Defense intelligence and counterintelligence training programs,
and career development of intelligence personnel. The Office of the Secretary
of Defense (OSD) saw the logic and economy of consolidating duplicative
strategic intelligence schools, and on 27 February 1962, issued a memorandum to
establish the Defense Intelligence School.
The Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency was
required to develop a plan for the Defense Intelligence School with a
curriculum based on intelligence courses offered at the Naval Intelligence
School and the Army Strategic Intelligence School. The Defense Intelligence
School would be created by Department of Defense Directive 5105.25, establishing
the school as a professional educational institution attached to DIA. Its
mission was to enhance the preparation of selected military officers and key
DoD civilian personnel for important command, staff and policy-making positions
in the national and international security structure; prepare DoD military and
civilian personnel for duty in the military attaché system; and assist the
broad career development of Department of Defense military and civilian
personnel assigned to intelligence functions. The first class graduated in June
In 1968, a Board of Visitors was formally authorized and
recommended that the School reach out to civilian employees of the intelligence
community, and that highly qualified civilian faculty should also be hired.
And, in the interest of academic accreditation, authority to grant a master’s
degree in intelligence should be sought. By 1973, the Director of DIA supported
these recommendations approved the degree program concept, and on 10 September
1973, the pilot program for the proposed Master of Science of Strategic
Intelligence (MSSI) degree began.
In October 1980, Public Law 96-450 formally authorized
the School to award the MSSI degree. It was passed by both houses of the
Congress and signed by President Jimmy Carter. Regional accreditation was
obtained in 1983 at which time the School was re-chartered and renamed the
Defense Intelligence College. It relocated to the new Defense Intelligence
Analysis Center on Bolling Air Force Base in 1984.
With the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s and the
general desire of the country in the early 1990s to realize a “peace dividend,”
budgetary cutbacks and reductions in force were made, not only in the
Department of Defense but in the Intelligence Community as a whole.
A major impact of these cutbacks in the 1990s was a
transformation of the College into an institution that was devoted solely to
intelligence education and research, with all training courses, to include
attaché training, shifted elsewhere in DIA. In 1993, the College was renamed
the Joint Military Intelligence College. The College embarked on a new era in
which its mission was more sharply defined.
In 1997, Congress authorized the College to award a
Bachelor of Science in Intelligence (BSI) degree. The BSI Program is a fourth
year degree completion program. It affords those students who have accumulated
three years of undergraduate credits a means to complete their degree
requirements and to obtain a degree directly related to the field of intelligence.
The Program enables BSI graduates to advance their careers within the National
In December 2006, DoD Instruction 3305.1 changed our name
to the National Defense Intelligence College. The DoD Instruction was revised again in February 2011 to reflect the
current designation -- National Intelligence University -- and the Director of
National Intelligence formally and publicly announced that change as well as
the expanded mission and vision of the NIU during the August 2011 convocation
of the class of 2012.