The Military wants its spies that can go where traditional ones cannot. The world is becoming flush with proxy wars and fewer permissive environments. The world saw how potentially cumbersome GRS attached to American spies can be during meetings in “13 Hours.” But, they also felt the lack of tactical and situational awareness those spies possessed. Yes, it’s a movie -but the ideal is a mixture of tactical intelligence and ability to conduct human intelligence. Something more akin to what the OSS became. The answer, on paper, is the Defense Clandestine Service.

“The Defense Clandestine Service (DCS) is an arm of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA),[2] which conducts clandestine espionage activities around the world to answer national-level defense objectives for senior U.S. policymakers and military leaders. Staffed by civilian and military personnel, DCS is part of DIA’s Directorate of Operations and works in conjunction with the Central Intelligence Agency‘s Directorate of Operations and the U.S. military‘s Joint Special Operations Command. DCS consists of about 500 clandestine operatives,[1] which is roughly how many case officers the CIA maintained in the early 2000s prior to its expansion.[3]

It takes an army to defeat an army. That is the wisdom that has formed our military objective to remove ISIL and it applies to dangerous HUMINT in non-permissive environments as well where we need armed forces in areas that require armed security. The ability to move into areas and leave without notice is one thing. It’s entirely another to live abroad and develop a robust life filled with connections and relationships that are of strategic value to the United States. That’s a unique and powerful job of the CIA. But, some areas are just too dangerous for the traditional model.

Here’s something that limits the CIA  – they’re not military. They’re not trained or meant to go to war. Who is to say they want to live that life? They have no armed component to draw from like the DoD. Yes, some leave the DoD and enter a paramilitary role in their careers. But those exceptions do not describe the IC or the agency as a whole. However, the most sophisticated and daring missions are not executed by these former military members.

The most complicated and dangerous missions, namely Direct Action are run by JSOC. Or, as society has come to know them – The Avengers. When it comes to armed conflict and especially special operations that are oblique and irregular, the Pentagon are the masters and doctrinal experts. However, the pentagon’s size and bureaucracy is its own worst enemy. The military, including SOF, is more likely to employ ten to fifteen people for a job that might be done by done by a few individuals from the IC. It’s a cultural difference. But, the IC is a lot of analysts stateside. While the military drools to deploy. It’s where it’s meant to be, abroad and engaged. In that case – it makes sense to create a force that a mixture of the two. To complement efforts and put a large force to gather HUMINT, with a pistol, in otherwise non-permissive environments.

Enter: Defense Clandestine Service. They’ve got some cool Advertisements, too.

Intelligence Support Activity: Declassified

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The battleground is changing, and proxy wars are becoming more common place. Our ability to be more places without restricted air space, or landing strips, or a host nation base is paramount. We’re entering a new and strange age where every force is moving towards self-sufficiency? Where does the Infantry fit? They’ll be the ‘enablers’ and ‘force multipliers’ of the future. The future, hilariously, could be a series of special operations led proxy of war where proxies fight proxies, within their element, over funding in the NDAA. Because they’ll be backed by different commands, who want to prove their superiority. As long as Americans are outraged by a picture of a boy without a home, they’ll keep sending us forward and spending money regardless of the outcomes.

A real problem might be rooted in what many argue: The DIA is a redundancy that hurts more than it helps. They’re interested in strategic military intelligence analysis. But they employ a great many of civilians to do that work. As you can see in the recruiting poster, it’s open to anyone. However, the CIA is home to Human Intelligence and the sole authority. DIA’s DCS can only be a small, junior component because that’s all they can be. Hopefully, they don’t adopt a culture that’s convinced they’re something they’re not, like the main effort. Nonetheless, as of last and according to ex-Under Secretary of Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict at the pentagon, it’s still growing.

 

Featured image courtesy of Wikipedia.