The Military Intelligence - History Essay Sample

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Harvey Mudd College
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Research paper
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The military intelligence (MI) was formed in 1962 as the first armys new branch after the transportation corps had been in existence about twenty years earlier. Currently, Military intelligence remains one of the most vibrant of the armys fifteen primary branches (Millett & Cathcart, 2007). Even though the military branch is relatively newer, intelligence operations and various functions in the military date back to the revolutionary war. This paper traces back the development of military intelligence and intelligence breakdown in Korea which was marked by a slow but steady growth establishing itself as a permanent and important component of the army.

In 1775, GEN George Washington took over the newly formed Continental army near Massachusetts and demonstrated an understanding of the importance of military intelligence. With the British military that often outnumbered his own; he needed to identify any weakness to defeat them. The imperative intelligence of the army made it more comfortable. To acquire information about the army, the American commander depended on the conventional intelligence sources in the 18th century which involved scouts and spies. To spy on the enemys front line fighters, he applied units like LTC Thomas Knowltons Rangers together with COL Elisha Sheldons Continental Light Dragons, and the combat forces who played an essential part in reconnaissance operations (Lanning, 1996).

Decades after the second world wear, army intelligence had no scope and authority which it had held since 1918. Later, difference governments formed independent intelligence agencies to reinforce to overall functions of the military intelligence. In the US for instance; Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), National Security Agency (NSA) and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) were formed. Every agency acquired specific resources and responsibilities for the functions of intelligence direction and effective functioning of the Army (Hodge, 2003). The Army intelligence was relinquishing most of its services and lost its position and status. For this reason, there was a restructuring of the entire organizational structure and operations.

Similarly, the Korean Military provided a premier example of an intelligence system that was not prepared when the Chinese ambushed and defeated the Eighth U.S army in 1950. But before this, the American intelligence acquired a significant number of information on potential Chinese military strategies, but the estimates were inconclusive and contradictory. There were preconceived notions and arrogance that hindered a clear analysis of the situations. At the same time, the army had to rely on ill-prepared assets and did not have enough information about the army. The ambush caught the American and the United Nations by surprise. Later in 1950, the main actors in the evaluation of the Chinese intervention were Far East Command (FEC) and the Eighth U.S army G2s. Earlier on, the Korean Intelligence depended on more on imagery, but there was an inability to critically analyze the Chinese military capability due to technological and resource limitations (Blum, 2003). This made aerial reconnaissance ineffective hence the difficulty to truck the Chinese communist forces (CCF) intervention. During the period of intervention, the acquisitions of resource were uneven at its best.

Short/Long Term Assessment

The military intelligence acquires a lot of its information through technical means of reconnaissance, majorly SIGINT. Aerial photography has been applied in the assessment. The outbreak caught the Army Intelligence flatfooted, and for some time it struggled to meet the requirements and demands of the war. To support the commanders in the field who were composed of CIC and ASA commanders, there was a necessity to reorganize and send combats to Korea in the early stages of the war with technical equipments such as drones. After the war, the intelligence operations had to be operated on the same levels as those of 1945-1945. With the supplementary of intelligence specialist, G2s and S2s retrieved from the field army to the battalion and were able to gather and provide significant intelligence to the commanders. Rather than the smaller independent organizations of detachments, the army started to apply larger intelligence formation which helped in the field. This war marked the initiation of an organized intelligence personnel which was conducted in groups and battalions. In the course of the war, the military applied two types of intelligence units specifically to meet the requirements of the combat forces; the military intelligence services and the communication reconnaissance.

During the Korean War, Army Security Agency (ASA) was the biggest Army intelligence. The agency primary collection assets were numerous large field stations which stretched from the U.S to Germany to Africa and Pacific. To supplement the resources acquired, they used smaller mobile formations which were operated from semi-fixed locations to assess their enemies. They also had larger headquarters spread across Pacific and Asia which helped control the oversee elements (Hamm & United States, 2001). At the end of the war, the 501st communication reconnaissance group supervised the operations of the three battalions and five companies in support of the U.S Army in Korea. Following the suit, CIC advanced its large detachment to group category. This included the 66th CIC group in Germany and 111th in Fort McPherson in Georgia. The 902 group was mandated to offer specialized and high-end services which were under the control of ASCI. At the army level, the ACSIs centralized the Army intelligence and concentrated their efforts at Fort Holabird. Later in 1961, the ACSI created a consolidated Corps which ended the CICs forty years of service.



Blum, W. (2003). Killing hope: US military and CIA interventions since World War II. Zed Books.

Hamm, D. L., & United States. (2001). Military intelligence: Its heroes and legends. Honolulu: University Press of the Pacific.

Hodge, H. T. (2003). North Korea's military strategy. Parameters, 33(1), 68.

Lanning, M. L. (1996). Senseless secrets: The failures of US military intelligence from George Washington to the present. Sea Power, 39(5), 43.

Millett, A. R., & Cathcart, A. J. (2007). The War for Korea, 19451950: A House Burning.


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