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Defence Intelligence

Defence Intelligence
Agency overview
Formed 1964
Agency executive
Parent agency Ministry of Defence
Website /

Defence Intelligence (DI) is a member of the SIS and GCHQ which focus on the collection of 'single-source' Human Intelligence (HUMINT) and Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) respectively. As such Defence Intelligence occupies a unique position within the UK Intelligence Community.

Defence Intelligence also performs an intelligence collection function, primarily through the military capabilities lodged within the Joint Forces Intelligence Group (created in 2012 from what was formerly known as the Intelligence Collection Group or ICG).


  • Organisation 1
    • Deputy Chief of Defence Intelligence (DCDI) 1.1
    • Director of Cyber Intelligence and Information Integration (DCI3) 1.2
      • The Joint Forces Intelligence Group (JFIG) 1.2.1
      • Defence Intelligence and Security Centre (DISC) 1.2.2
  • Defence intelligence roles 2
    • Support to operations 2.1
    • Support to contingency planning for operations 2.2
    • Provision of early warning 2.3
    • Provision of longer-term analysis of emerging threats 2.4
  • How Defence Intelligence does its work 3
    • Direction 3.1
    • Analysis and production 3.2
  • The History of DI 4
  • Director-General Intelligence (1964–1984) 5
  • Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (Intelligence) (1964–1984) 6
  • Chiefs of Defence Intelligence (1984–) 7
  • Deputy Chiefs of Defence Intelligence (Civil Servants) 8
  • Directors of Cyber Intelligence and Information Integration (2012–) 9
  • Commanders of the Joint Forces Intelligence Group (2012–) 10
  • See also 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13


Defence Intelligence is headed by the Chief of Defence Intelligence (CDI) who is a serving three-star military officer and who, as the MOD's 'intelligence process owner', is also responsible for the overall co-ordination of intelligence activities throughout the Armed Forces and single Service Commands. He is supported by two deputies - one civilian and one military. The civilian Deputy Chief of Defence Intelligence (DCDI) is responsible for Defence Intelligence analysis and production, the military Director of Cyber Intelligence and Information Integration (DCI3) is responsible for intelligence collection amongst more wide ranging other duties. Vice Admiral Alan Richards is the current CDI.

Deputy Chief of Defence Intelligence (DCDI)

DCDI manages the analysis and production directorates of Defence Intelligence (known as the Defence Intelligence Assessments Staff or DIAS). These include directorates for:

  • Strategic Assessments
  • Capability Assessments (weapons systems and platforms)
  • Counter Proliferation
  • Defence Intelligence Fusion Centre (Afghanistan)
  • Resources

DCDI is responsible for intelligence analysis and production, providing global defence intelligence assessments and strategic warning on a wide range of issues including, intelligence support for operations; proliferation and arms control; conventional military capabilities; strategic warning and technical evaluations of weapons systems.

These intelligence assessments draw upon classified information provided by GCHQ, SIS, the Security Service, Allied intelligence services and military collection assets, in addition to diplomatic reporting and a wide range of publicly available or ‘open source’ information such as media reporting and the internet.[1]

Director of Cyber Intelligence and Information Integration (DCI3)

DCI3 is responsible for the provision of specialised intelligence, imagery and geographic support services, and for the intelligence and security training of the Armed Forces. DCI3 is currently Air Vice Marshal John Rigby. In addition to a Head Office policy staff he is responsible for two major groupings within Defence Intelligence:

The Joint Forces Intelligence Group (JFIG)

The JFIG was established in 2012 under the new Joint Forces Command and superseded the Intelligence Collection Group (ICG). JFIG makes up the largest sub-element of Defence Intelligence. It is responsible for the collection of Signals, Geospatial, Imagery and Measurement and Signature Intelligence and comprises:

The Defence Intelligence Fusion Centre (DIFC), formerly known as DGIFC and JARIC, is based at RAF Wyton in Cambridgeshire (since moving from RAF Brampton in 2013) and provides specialist imagery intelligence to the armed forces and other UK government customers. They deliver this through the exploitation of satellite imaging systems, as well as airborne and ground-based collection systems. DIFC uses these sources, together with advanced technologies, to provide regional intelligence assessments and support to strategic intelligence projections.[1]

The Defence HUMINT Organisation (DHO) is a Tri-Service organisation that provides specialist support to military operations. The DHO manages strategic aspects of defence human intelligence and is under the command of a Colonel. It draws staff from across the three services.

The Joint Services Signals Organisation (JSSO) conducts research into new communications systems and techniques in order to provide operational support to static and deployed units. The JSSO is located at RAF Digby in Lincolnshire under the command of a Group Captain with some 1,600 staff drawn from all three services.

42 Engineer Regiment (Geographic) maintains sub-units and individuals at readiness for deployment and to support exercises. All support is provided by 3 regular Royal Engineer Geographic Squadrons and 1 reserve Geographic Squadron.

It further provides routine Station support functions to HQ JFIG and the Defence Intelligence Security Centre Royal School of Military Survey (DISC RSMS). The Regiment comprises 390 military personnel and soldiers and 75 civilian staff.

No.1 Aeronautical Information and Documentation Unit (No1 AIDU) produces standard and non-standard products and services from 4 Flights; 2 Editorial Flights, a Production and Finishing Flight and a Support Flight. No1 AIDU comprises 108 RAF Officers and Air Cartographer and 35 civilians.

In 2013 JFIG HQ moved from Feltham in Middlesex to RAF Wyton near Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire.[2][3] This will brought together for the first time under a new multi-disciplinary construct, a number of key collection and analysis components of the United Kingdom’s Defence Intelligence community.

Defence Intelligence and Security Centre (DISC)

The DISC, at British Army's Intelligence Corps. In 1998/99, it employed 484 staff and its net operating cost was £27 million.

Defence intelligence roles

To support its mission, Defence Intelligence has 4 essential roles:[1]

Support to operations

DI plays an integral part in the planning process throughout all stages of military operations, by providing intelligence collection and analysis at the tactical, operational and strategic levels. Examples of the support DI has provided to operations are:

  • Coalition action in Iraq
  • NATO led forces in Afghanistan and Bosnia
  • UN humanitarian and peace-support operations in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cyprus, Eritrea and the Democratic Republic of Congo

DI has deployed intelligence analysts, linguists and reservists overseas, and provide geographic support by supplying both standard and specialised mapping to overseas theatres.

Support to contingency planning for operations

DI provides intelligence data and all source assessments that assist in preparations for future situations with the potential to require the commitment of UK Armed Forces. These products, which cover political and military developments, country and cultural information, critical infrastructure and internal security, all aid contingency planning.

Provision of early warning

A fundamental responsibility of Defence Intelligence is to alert ministers, chiefs of staff, senior officials and defence planners to impending crises around the world. Such warning is vital for short and medium term planning.

DI meets this responsibility by focusing on current areas and topics of concern, highlighting the effects of changing circumstances, predicting security and stability trends, and assessing how these trends may develop. The assessments are distributed to decision-makers throughout the MOD, the Armed Forces, other government departments, allies, and UK Embassies and High Commissions.

Provision of longer-term analysis of emerging threats

Defence Intelligence provides longer-term assessments of likely scenarios around the world where UK Armed Forces might need to operate and of the equipment that they might face. It also provides technical support to the development of future military equipment and to the development of countermeasures against potentially hostile systems.

How Defence Intelligence does its work


The Chief of Defence Intelligence (CDI) receives direction from the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and Permanent Under Secretary (PUS) on MOD's Intelligence needs and draws national guidance from the Cabinet Office Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC).

Analysis and production

Intelligence assessments are written to meet the needs of customers and must be timely and relevant. The assessment process involves judging the authenticity and reliability of new information and its relevance to existing intelligence. Assessments focus on probable and possible outcomes, to provide the best available advice for developing a response or resolution. They are continually adjusted in light of new intelligence or events.

The History of DI

Defence Intelligence can trace its ancestry back to 1946, when the Joint Intelligence Bureau (JIB) was established under the direction of General Kenneth Strong, General Eisenhower’s wartime Chief of Intelligence.

The JIB's main areas of interest were economic, logistic, scientific and technical intelligence—subjects of interest to all 3 services (which retained their separate intelligence organisations), as well as to the War Office and other government departments.

Following the creation of a unified Ministry of Defence in 1964 under the Mountbatten reforms, the JIB and the 3 single-Service intelligence organisations (Naval Intelligence, Military Intelligence and Air Intelligence) were amalgamated to form the Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS). In 2009 the DIS was renamed Defence Intelligence (DI).

For most of its early history the DIS was preoccupied with Cold War topics. However, the focus of Defence Intelligence has now shifted towards providing intelligence support to operations overseas, countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and supporting non-domestic counter terrorism activities. At the same time the responsibilities of the Chief of Defence Intelligence have expanded to include not only intelligence analysis and collection, but also a range of other activities, including environmental and geographic information and intelligence training.

Director-General Intelligence (1964–1984)

In 1964 with the consolidation of the Naval Intelligence Division and the other services' pre-existing intelligence staffs.

Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (Intelligence) (1964–1984)

Chiefs of Defence Intelligence (1984–)

Deputy Chiefs of Defence Intelligence (Civil Servants)

  • Mr Martin Howard January 2003 – May 2004[4]
  • Mr John Colston
  • Mr Nick Gurr 2011 – Sept 2014

Directors of Cyber Intelligence and Information Integration (2012–)

  • Air Vice Marshal Jon Rigby 2012–

Commanders of the Joint Forces Intelligence Group (2012–)

  • Brigadier Nick Davies 2012–

See also


  1. ^ a b c
  2. ^
  3. ^ Archived February 16, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^

External links

  • Defence Intelligence Staff
  • UK Intelligence Community Online
  • National Intelligence Machinery
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