Rear Adm. Elizabeth L. Train, USN, Commander, Office of Naval Intelligence
On March 23, 1882 Secretary of the Navy William H. Hunt signed General Order 292 establishing an “Office of Intelligence” in the Bureau of Navigation to support the modernization of the U.S. Navy in an era of rapid technological change. As our nation’s oldest intelligence agency, ONI has experienced and catalyzed significant change over the course of its long history.
It has adapted and innovated to provide effective and efficient intelligence support to the Fleet, the U.S. Navy acquisition community, government decision makers, and U.S. allies and foreign partners responding to a dynamic and dangerous global strategic environment. ONI laid the foundation for today’s globe-spanning network of naval intelligence organizations and operations ashore and at sea supporting the front lines of our nation’s defense.
At the turn of the 20th century, ONI provided the technical data that helped build the “New Steel Navy,” heralding America’s arrival on the international scene as a naval power. ONI trained hundreds of operational intelligence officers and language officers during World War II to serve Fleet and theater commands. Its Special Activities Branch supported Admiral Ernest J. King’s wartime Tenth Fleet organization to defeat Nazi Germany’s U-boat threat in the Battle of the Atlantic and turn the tide against the Imperial Japanese Navy in the Pacific. Over the course of the long Cold War, ONI developed a deep understanding of Soviet naval capabilities and operations, which underpinned military deterrence and political containment strategies. The post Cold War era and the rise of international terrorism in the 21st century created demand for intelligence to address and counter transnational maritime issues and threats, encompassing the enforcement of international sanctions, disrupting maritime weapons and narcotics smuggling networks, maritime piracy activities, and denying violent extremists the use of the sea as a means of logistical support and attack.
In 2009 ONI stood up four subordinate Centers of Excellence to deliver tailored intelligence to war fighters and decision makers: Farragut Technical Analysis Center, Nimitz Operational Intelligence Center, Hopper Information Services Center, and Kennedy Irregular Warfare Center.
As part of a larger naval intelligence community, ONI strengthens our Navy’s mission effectiveness in defending our nation at home and abroad. Today we are working collaboratively with our counterparts in the Navy’s cyber, meteorology, oceanography, and electronic warfare disciplines toward achieving Information Dominance from the depths of the ocean to cyberspace.
The men and women of ONI can reflect on their heritage with pride and anticipate the future with confidence. The outstanding work you are doing today will be the history of tomorrow.