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Defence Intelligence Staff [ DIS ]

The Defence Intelligence Staff, part of the Ministry of Defence and funded within the defence vote, is an essential element of the central intelligence machinery.

The Defence Intelligence Staff is the main provider of strategic Defence Intelligence to the Ministry of Defence, and the Armed Forces and is also a key element of the United Kingdom's central intelligence machinery. Located in the Old War Office Building, Whitehall, the DIS supports other Government Departments with advice and intelligence assessments; these assessments also play a special role in support of analysis and operations undertaken by NATO and the WEU.

The Defence Intelligence Staff can trace its ancestry back to 1946, when the Joint Intelligence Bureau (JIB) was established under the direction of General Keith Strong, General Eisenhower's British wartime Chief of Intelligence. It was created in 1964 by the amalgamation of all three service intelligence staffs and the civilian Joint Intelligence Bureau to form an integrated body able to serve the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces and other Government Departments.

The task of the DIS is to analyse information from a wide variety of sources, both overt and covert. In order to make decisions, Ministry of Defense [MOD] policy-makers, military planners and force commanders need an accurate view of world developments, timely warning of impending crises, and informed reporting on areas where British forces are or may be deployed. These are the tasks of the Defence Intelligence Staff, which produces assessments drawing on material from a variety of sources, including both open literature and classified reports. These assessments range from studies of the characteristics of weapon systems held by potential opponents, to the analysis of the influences at work in any part of the world where the United Kingdom has important interests.

The DIS is a mixed organisation of serving officers and civilian research staff, scientific staff and linguists. The head of the DIS is the Chief of Defence Intelligence (CDI), a serving 3 star officer who may be drawn from any of the three services, who reports to the Chief of the Defence Staff and the Permanent Secretary of the MOD. CDI is responsible for the overall co-ordination of defence intelligence throughout the Armed Forces and single-Service commands. The Chief of Defence Intelligence is responsible for the work of the DIS and is charged also with the overall direction of intelligence within the defence community. CDI is deputy chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, which produces authoritative intelligence assessments on behalf of the UK intelligence community and which is the main national instrument for advising on intelligence collection priorities and the assessment of the results.

The provision of intelligence support to the Peace Implementation Force (IFOR) in the former Yugoslavia has been allocated a significant proportion of the resources available to the Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS). The DIS runs a full-time Yugoslav Crisis Cell, which can call upon the in-depth expertise of all directorates within the DIS, including military, infrastructure, technical and industries analysts and the embargo monitoring cell. All assessments are rapidly and securely disseminated to British forces operating as part of the IFOR deployment via the Joint Headquarters at the same time as they are passed to the Department. Wherever possible and appropriate, they are sent to Allies operating alongside our own forces in the former Yugoslavia, both through the NATO communications system and via the intelligence liaison staffs resident within the DIS itself.

The DIS are also involved in the setting up of the WEU Situation Centre and Intelligence Section. The DIS submits Weekly Intelligence Summaries to the Intelligence Section, supplemented by weekly briefing on the situation in the former Yugoslavia. It has also responded to ad hoc requests from the Section for more detailed briefing on particular areas. The DIS will continue to work with WEU partners to refine current arrangements and to improve the WEU's ability to receive and circulate intelligence.

The DIS has a total staff of 4,600 both military and civilian, about 700 of whom are located in the DIS Headquarters in the Old War Office Building. The remaining staff work in the DIS Defence Agencies or at other units in the UK and overseas. Serving members of the Armed Forces make up approximately 60% of the manpower of the DIS. The DIS is divided into two main parts - the Defence Intelligence Analysis Staff (DIAS) and the Intelligence and Geographic Resources Staff (IGRS). In addition, other staffs dealing with finance, personnel, Departmental management, and information systems and communications report directly to CDI.

The civilian Deputy Chief of Defence Intelligence (DCDI) heads the Defence Intelligence Analysis Staff (DIAS), which is responsible for providing global defence intelligence assessments and strategic warning. The DIAS is able to draw upon classified information provided by the Government Communications Headquarters, the Secret Intelligence Service, the Security Service, Allied intelligence services and military intelligence collection assets, in addition to diplomatic reporting and a wide range of open-source information.

The Intelligence & Geographic Resources Staff (IGRS) is headed by the Director General Intelligence and Geographic Resources (DGIGR), a serving 2-star military officer who may be drawn from any of the three services. DGIGR manages six discrete policy branches in the Old War Office Building with responsibility for oversight of the collection and provision of specialist intelligence and geographic information to Defence. DGIGR is also the "Owner" of the three DIS Defence Agencies: the Defence Intelligence and Security Centre (DISC), the Joint Air Reconnaissance Intelligence Centre (JARIC), and Military Survey. On 10 May 1999, the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State announced that two of these agencies -- JARIC and Military Survey -- would merge on 1 April 2000 into a new agency, the Defence Geographic and Imagery Intelligence Agency.

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