(Reuters) - The Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon spy agency which has concluded that North Korea likely has a nuclear bomb that can be fitted on a missile, relies on a vast network of people around the world to help collect information on foreign militaries.
It is led by Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, who as the U.S. intelligence chief in Afghanistan in 2010, issued a sharply critical report calling American intelligence agencies ignorant and out of touch with the Afghan people and recommending changes.
The DIA is only one of the Pentagon’s intelligence agencies, which also include the National Security Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
Here are some facts about the DIA and its director:
* Established in 1961, the DIA manages America’s defense attache system, operating out of U.S. embassies and consulates around the globe. It counts more than 16,500 military and civilian employees in 139 countries, with hundreds in Afghanistan. An unknown number work undercover.
* Its size has more than doubled since 2000, partly because of the restructuring of military intelligence, and many more employees are deployed abroad. Today, more than half of DIA’s staff is posted outside of Washington, compared to less than a third in 2000. The agency is bolstering its clandestine operations overseas.
* The DIA is getting younger, with 40 percent of its staff under the age of 40 in 2012. In 1990 more than half of its workforce was over the age of 50.
* In the aftermath of the Iraq war, the CIA took the brunt of criticism from Congress and the public for mistaken intelligence on Iraq. But Congress also singled out the DIA for having erroneously concluded that Baghdad had been pursuing a nuclear weapons program. here
* Its director, Flynn, is highly respected within the Pentagon and unafraid of making waves. His critical report on intelligence in Afghanistan can be viewed here: here
* The agency’s website says it monitors North Korean missile launches, tracks the development of Iran’s nuclear program and assesses foreign military capabilities in space and cyberspace, among other responsibilities.
Reporting by Phil Stewart; editing by Xavier Briand