Military Intelligence Branch
The Army Intelligence and Security Branch, later renamed the Military Intelligence Branch, was created on 1 July 1962. The formation of the branch came as the culmination of a 40-year effort to give adequate recognition to much needed professional intelligence specialists within the U. S. Army.
The end of World War I and demobilization left the United States with a large pool of intelligence-trained officers who held commissions in branches unrelated to intelligence work. As a result of the general postwar Army reorganization, the Military Intelligence Officers Reserve Corps was established in the Organized Reserves on 2 April 1921. This organization was set up as a holding mechanism to keep intelligence specialists on tap in the event of a general mobilization. Within the Regular Army, however, all intelligence slots were filled by detail. It was assumed that intelligence work was a function of command,and could be performed by any Regular Army officer.
During World War II, officers serving both in general intelligence and signals intelligence positions continued to be commissioned in basic branches divorced from their real duties. Many of these officers remained in the Army after World War II, giving the necessary continuity to specialized intelligence disciplines such as counter intelligence and signals intelligence.
As a result of the World War II experience, there was an increasing demand within Army intelligence circles for the creation of a Military Intelligence Branch within the Regular Army. The existence of intelligence units, it was argued, created the need for a Military Intelligence Branch such as the existenceof ordinance units required an Ordinance Corps. This line of argument was resisted by traditionists who insisted on all Regular Army officers being generally capable of performing intelligence work when required.Opposition to the Military Intelligence Branch proved to be too strong, and all intelligence positions continued to be filled by detail.
Even the intelligence crisis presented by onset of the Korean War did not alter this arrangement.However, an Army Security Branch and a new Military Intelligence Branch were created in the Army Reserve in 1952. Only reserve personnel not on active duty could be assigned to these branches. Their creation did not meet the needs of the Active Army, but only provided once again for a reservoir of trainedpersonnel for future mobilization. The Military Intelligence Branch was redesignated in 1958 as the Army Intelligence Branch.
By 1962, Army intelligence was confronted by a critical personnel situation. The Army was still relying on reserve officers left over from World War II and the Korean War to fill its intelligence positions.This was a depleting asset. Many reserve intelligence officers faced mandatory retirement upon completion of 20 years of service, and others were being enticed from the intelligence field by the prospect of obtainingRegular Army commissions in basic branches.
The Assistant Chief of Staff for intelligence calculated that unless something was done, half of all Army intelligence slots would be without qualified occupants by 1965. The only method of ensuring the continuous availability of an adequate number of trained intelligence officers was the creation of a newbranch.
As a result, the Army set up the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Branch on 1 July 1962.The new branch, which embraced both regular and reserve officers, consisted of about 5 percent of officer strength of the Active Army For the first time, the Army had accepted the need for a permanent cadre of professional intelligence officers within the Regular Army.
However, the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Branch was not a total solution. The branch was classified as performing combat service support functions, a category which carried little prestige within the Army. Only 4 percent of the officers initially assigned to the new branch came from the Regular Army. Many of the reserve officers included in the Army Intelligence and Security Branch lacked higher education or eligibility for advanced career development through the Army school system. As its name suggested the branch was internally divided. It was the only branch of the Army without is own basic school. From the very beginning, officers assigned to the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Branch attended different schools and pursued different career paths than their colleagues in other intelligence disciplines.
The recognized weaknesses of the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Branch led to reappraisals,the most important of which was the study conducted by the Norris Board in 1967. As a result, the branch was redesignated on 1 July 1967 as the Military Intelligence Branch. It was given a full-fledged combatsupport role that enhanced its capacity to attract the best Regular Army officers.