The Defense Intel Alumni Association (DIAA) was founded on 14 December 1998 after a small group of Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) employees approached the then Director, DIA, LTG Patrick M. Hughes, USA with a proposal to charter an organization for DIA employees, retirees, and prospective retirees. The Director, in signing the DIAA Charter, authorized DIAA to operate at Agency’s facilities for the educational and social benefit of DIAA members. Current agency personal are authorized to serve along side former DIA personnel in order to foster the success of the organization. To this end two current full-time employees from DIA/OCC-2 are non-voting members of the DIAA Board of Directors. It should be noted that DIAA is what is called a Non-Federal Entity or Private Organization. This means the DIA-DIAA relationship is governed by various laws and regulations and both partners work within these constraints.
The DIAA Membership predominately consists of retired DIA civilian and military personnel totaling about 200 active members. A majority of the members live within the D.C. Metro area and along the East Coast of the United States. Some reside as far away as California and Europe. While the membership consists primarily of mid-level civilian and field grade military retirees, several former DIA Directors, Deputy Directors and Chiefs of Staff are active members. As with any group of people who reach retirement, there are those who choose to embark on a second career. In the DIAA a number of members are employed as defense contractors, others have gone into private business, some have returned to school, and there are those who volunteer their skills, talents and expertise elsewhere in their communities. Of course many members are fully retired and enjoy traveling, spending quality time with family and friends and of course baby sitting their grandchildren.
Since it’s inception, the principal goals of DIAA have been to arrange special activities with DIA and other Intelligence Community elements; provide educational services and information about DIA and other topics of interest to members; sponsor social activities to benefit the membership, inform members of available events of interest; publish information concerning special achievements or accomplishments of individual members and groups, as well as provide the whereabouts of other members in a “members only” directory.
To help accomplish these goals DIAA holds general member luncheons twice a year with notable Intelligence Community speakers. Recent speakers at these DIAA “Flagship” events include the Honorable James Clapper, Director, DNI; former CIA, NSA Director Michael Hayden; Ms. Tish Long, Director, NGA and LTG Mary Legier, G-2, USA, just to name a few. These luncheons for the past 2 years have at the Fort Myers Officers Club. The Annual DIAA Business Meeting is also held during the Spring Luncheon and includes elections, by the general membership, to fill any vacancies on the Board of Directors (BOD). During the Fall Luncheon, traditionally held in September or October the election of association officers, by voting members on the BOD, takes place.
Other activities that go a long way towards meeting the spirit and letter of the DIAA Charter includes the Defense Intelligence Forums (DIF) normally held during those months when no major DIAA or DIA sponsored activities are scheduled - about 8 times a year. The DIF sessions are held in a private room of a restaurant in the D.C. Metro Area. After registration, a short social period and lunch, an expert, generally from the intelligence community or academia, talks on a topic of current interest to DIAA members and their guests. DIAA has also teamed with the Foreign Area Officers Association (FAOA); the Diplomatic and Consular Officers, Retired (DACOR), an organization of retired Foreign Service Professionals; and the National Military Intelligence Association (NMIA) in hopes of providing activities that will be of interest to our combined memberships.
DIA’s support to the DIAA is manifested in many ways. Perhaps the most visible effort is the Annual DIAA Homecoming -- normally held in the fall -- where DIA opens its doors to the Alumni for a full day of briefings on global events followed by robust Q&A time. There are also sessions with various agency program managers and the opportunity to interact with DIA executives over lunch. Perhaps the most interesting part of Homecoming is the time the Director, DIA takes to addresses the Association and bring the membership up to speed on DIA’s “Way Forward”. Not as visible as the Homecoming activities, the DIAA Board of Directors (BOD) hold their monthly business meetings in DIA Headquarters spaces. This allows for direct BOD coordination with various DIA points of contacts on subjects of mutual interest. As for other events and activities DIAA is invited to DIA social and educational events as deemed appropriate. These include the Annual DIA Picnic, Diversity Day activities and the Hughes Library “Meet the Author” Lecture Series, just to name just a few.
There is a middle ground where both partners collaborate and made significant contributions to the mission at hand. This was very much in evidence during the DIA’s 50th Anniversary activities. DIAA members were assigned to each the Agency’s functional working groups to plan the various activities. Additionally, DIAA members were directly involved with Intelligence & National Security Alliance in the planning in the DIA 50th Anniversary Gala Ball held at the Ronald Reagan Building. Also of note was DIA’s 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the Vietnam War. A number of DIAA Vietnam Veteran provided photos to the project POC, and several members donated objects they brought back from the war zone for display in the DIA Headquarters Building.
Traditionally, DIAA members are available to assist in various functions, such as reviewing early agency photos in an effort to identify the people in the pictures. Additionally, members have assisted the DIA Historian’s office in identifying anonymous artists associated with DIA Combat Art Series. Bottom line is DIAA Members have the institutional memory and are willing to put it to use in support of DIA requirements. DIAA members have also participated in the sponsorship of foreign students attending the Combined Strategic Intelligence Program at the National Defense University. DIAA is very much involved with The DIA Torch Bearers Award process with 2 members of the Association sitting on the selection panel. DIAA is supporting two mentoring programs for DIA employees: Speed Mentoring for new employees and the PACE program (Professional Analyst Career Education) for analysts. Both programs present opportunities to interact with DIA employees and share experiences to help them navigate the DIA organization and guide their career planning. Recently the alumni association has agreed to sponsor the tri-annual SSG Hobson Silver Pen Award to the graduate of the Attaché́ Staff Training Class in the Joint Military Attaché́ School (JMAS), who submits the best operations plan, as selected by the JMAS facility. The awardee will receive a silver pen and a coin from the DIAA Membership in recognition of this honor. DIAA has also agreed to present a plaque to the OPSCO course Distinguished Graduate. The presentation of both awards began with the first OPSCO class of 2014. The alumni association membership also has demonstrated their generosity by their donations to various DIA programs, such as, “Feds Feeds Families”, “Operation Holiday Cheer “ and the collection of school supplies for a DIA sponsored school. On the drawing board is an initiative to offer a DIAA member to participate as a volunteer in DIA’s CFC Campaigns.
It is clear that DIAA has a “Can Do” attitude. You would not expect less from a group of people -- described by former director LTG Patrick M. Hughes, USA (Ret) -- as those “who spent a lifetime at DIA and in the service of our country” and who’s motto is “ Continuing to Serve in Defense of the Nation”.
Defense Intel Alumni Association PO Box 354, Charlotte Court House, VA 23923