Army Technical Intelligence Chronology
Chapter 1: Introduction
Robert L. Bolin
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
This chapter is part of a larger web document.
For more information, see the
Title Page and Contents.
Purpose of the Project
This chronology is intended to put documents related to Army technical intelligence in context.
It is a tool to help me write an article on the organizational history of Army technical intelligence.
- Technical Intelligence
- Technical intelligence organizations are intent on learning about the weapons and equipment of foreign armed forces. Organizations which create intelligence by analyzing data collected by technical means -- like photography -- are not included in that definition.
- Army Technical Intelligence
- Before 1962, Army technical
intelligence consisted of the intelligence activities of the Army technical
services and -- during World War II -- the intelligence activities of the
Army Service Forces, and of that part of intelligence section of the Army
general staff (G-2) that supervised those activities.
- In 1962, many intelligence
functions and resources were wrenched away from the Army and vested in
Defense Department agencies.
- After 1962, Army technical
intelligence consisted of the intelligence activities of the few remaining
organizations dedicated to technical intelligence.
- Organizational History
- I intend to write a history of the Army organizations engaged in technical
Those organizations are primarily in the headquarters of the Army in Washington, DC.
I want to trace the evolution of those organizations
and to show their relationships to other parts of the bureaucracy.
I do not intend to write about their activities or accomplishments.
I am not concerned with the activities of Army organizations in the field.
This project is based on several observations about bureaucratic evolution.
A function is defined by the organization set up to perform it.
Unless an organization has been created to perform a function,
the function does not exist.
For example, during the period between World War I and World War II,
the intelligence section of the Army General Staff was, in theory, concerned with the development
of foreign weapons and equipment.
Since there was no organization to analyze enemy hardware and no bureaucracy for processing technical data and nobody tasked to produce technical intelligence, very little was done.
Organization define themselves.
Once an organization is chartered, it will seek to expand its responsibilities
The history of Army technical intelligence begins in 1940 when intelligence sections were set up within the staffs of the chiefs of the Army technical services.
At the end of World War II,
army technical consisted of ten or more separate organizations. Some had
very narrow limited responsibilities. Others provided intelligence to the
entire military establishment and had broad strategic responsibilities.
In the McNamara era, many
of the functions, personnel, and resources of the Army technical intelligence
agencies were reassigned to the new Defense Intelligence Agency.
- Organizations blow their own horns.
Information about Army Service Forces (ASF) is hard to find because the organization was wiped out at the end of World War II. It did not have time to write its own history. In contrast, the Army technical services which were subordinate to ASF during World War II wrote detailed histories about themselves during World War II.
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Version 1.05, Revised, 23 March 2005
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