USAICoE Command History Office
On July 1, 1987, the Military Intelligence Corps was activated under the U.S. Army Regimental System. This was the culmination of a four-year process, intended to offer Soldier stabilization and affiliation.
In August 1983, the Department of Army directed the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and School to determine the role of Military Intelligence in the U.S. Army Regimental System, normally a Combat Arms designation. Military Intelligence, one of the larger Combat Support branches, was therefore tasked with choosing an alternative regimental concept. The three options offered were: functional subdivisions, geographic subdivisions or a career branch regiment.
The Pentagon considered functional sub-branches to be a perfect fit for MI. Such a concept would have Soldiers affiliating under a specific discipline, such as Signals Intelligence or Counterintelligence, in which they would serve throughout their careers. An alternative course of action was a geographically subdivided regiment. Under this concept, MI Soldiers would affiliate with a regional sub-branch instead of with the MI Branch as a whole and would have repetitive assignments within those boundaries.
Gen. Sidney Weinstein, commanding general of USAICS and proponent of the MI branch at the time, balked at the idea of dividing MI Soldiers up either functionally or regionally. Throughout history, the various disciplines of MI had experienced isolation from each other, and had only begun developing a sense of unity over the previous decade. When the MI Branch was formed in 1962, individuals from diverse disciplines were brought together to form a single branch for the first time. Still, MI Soldiers traditionally established a closer connection and loyalty within their disciplines rather than as a branch.
Barriers begin to break down
Those barriers within MI began to break apart in the 1970s. The establishment of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and School, the â€œHome of Military Intelligence,â€ at Fort Huachuca was the first step. Throughout the late 1970s, the recommendations of the Intelligence Organization and Stationing Study began to be implemented, including the creation of Combat Electronic Warfare and Intelligence organizations integrating all intelligence specialists into single units at division and corps levels.
Furthermore, MI officers began to be cross-trained in the three primary disciplines of Human, Signals and Imagery Intelligence. The resulting all-source intelligence officers could provide field commanders with a coordinated and integrated view of the enemy threat in their area of operations. All these steps brought the various disciplines of MI closer together, organizationally and functionally melding them into a single, strong branch.
Believing that either the functional or geographic approach â€œwould represent a complete reversal of our progress,â€ Weinstein instead proposed â€œone which encompasses the entire branch as a single entity.â€ He indicated that the creation of the MI Corps had already been underway for some time and would fulfill the goals of the Regimental System. In December 1985, the Army chief of staff approved the proposal to designate the MI Corps under the â€œwhole branchâ€ concept. It became official with the publication of General Order No. 24, dated May 30, 1986.
Activation required team effort
Activation of the MI Corps was a team effort, involving nearly every organization within USAICS, but none more so than the Office of the Chief of Military Intelligence. Over the course of the next year, OCMI personnel assisted the Institute of Heraldry in the design of the MI Corps colors and regimental crest; developed a plan to ensure every MI Soldier was affiliated with the Corps; established the key positions of Chief of the Corps, Sergeant Major of the Corps, and Adjutant of the Corps; redesignated the training brigades and battalions under the Regimental System; identified honorary officers and distinguished members of the Corps; researched the possibility of personnel assignment procedures that provided all MI Soldiers with predictable, recurring assignments; and coordinated the Civilian Career ProgramÂ â€” 19 exempted service plan.
On July 1, 1987, which coincided with the 25th Anniversary of the MI Branch, the MI Corps was officially activated. Symbolically, the event bound together the whole of MI: tactical and strategic; military and civilian; and Active and Reserve components. This action culminated many years of dedication and effort on the part of MI professionals to foster unity and esprit de corps.
All MI officers, warrant officers and enlisted Soldiers who held MI as a primary military occupational specialty or area of concentration were automatically affiliated with the MI Corps. The commanding general of USAICS became the chief of the Corps, and the chief of staff and the command sergeant major of USAICS were designated the adjutant and sergeant major of the Corps, respectively. The regimental insignia, emblazoned with the Corpsâ€™ motto â€œAlways Out Front,â€ was authorized for wear, and the official colors of the MI Corps were uncased for the first time.
As part of the Corpsâ€™ activation, the first honorary officers and 11 distinguished members of the Corps were announced. These individuals were appointed to perpetuate the history and traditions of the MI Corps, enhance unit morale and spirit, and serve as ambassadors for the Corps.
MI Corps celebrates anniversaries Friday
Today, MI Soldiers affiliate with the MI Corps upon graduation from Individual Entry Training. The MI Corps has also established a Hall of Fame and annually inducts new members who have made significant contributions to the Corps. Including the class of 2012, 233 members have received this honor.
On Friday the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the activation of the MI Corps. As part of the ceremony, Maj. Gen. Gregg Potter, the commanding general, will formally recognize 14 individuals who were the key architects of the Corps in 1987. Through hard work and dedication 25 years ago, they activated an MI Corps that continues to provide Soldiers with opportunity, professional development and a meaningful affiliation today.