In 1885 the Division of Military Information was established as part of the Military Reservations Division, Miscellaneous Branch, of the Adjutant General's Office. This step gave the U.S. Army a permanent intelligence organization for the first time in a century.
The long delay in giving recognition to the importance of Military Intelligence stemmed from various factors. One of these was the marginal position that the Army itself occupied in American society. The American tradition was one of liberty, democracy, and commercialism; except in time of war the country tended to neglect all the Army's needs. The professional Army was there to perform constabulary work against scattered Indian tribes in the vastness of the American West, to man coast defenses against the implausible threat of a foreign attack, and to serve as a continuing nucleus of professional expertise. Should a real threat to the Republic appear, citizens would rally to the flag, as they had in all of America's past wars, and some kind of mechanism for collecting intelligence would eventually be improvised to meet the crisis.
Another factor retarding the development of a permanent intelligence organization until 1885 was the general backwardness of the Army. On the European Continent, armies had been forced to create systematic staff organizations dealing with both operations and intelligence since the beginning of the nineteenth century. The Prussian Great General Staff provided the model for all of Europe's armies. In the United States, with its distrust of militarism, the idea of such a super army headquarters was repellent. Collecting intelligence and laying out detailed war plans were not in the American tradition. The U.S. Army's central staff consisted mainly of bureaus dealing with questions of administration and supply, and these reported directly to the secretary of war, not to the commanding general of the Army.
Without any organizational support, each U.S. commander served as his own intelligence officer, and the intelligence function was limited to simple reconnaissance in time of war or during an Indian campaign. In the field, units set up security patrols in tactical arrangements described in a now-8
quaint vocabulary of pickets, vedettes, and Cossack posts.1 During major deployments, such as those which took place in the Civil War, cavalry served its traditional function as the eyes of the Army.
Army topographic engineers and other officers trained under the U.S. Military Academy's engineer-oriented curriculum also made important contributions to intelligence, continuing an Army tradition that dated back to the explorations of Lewis and Clark. In 1814 the War Department created a unit of topographic engineers to help with the military effort against Great Britain. From 1818 on, the Army maintained a topographic bureau and from 1838 to 1863 a separate Corps of Topographic Engineers. West Point-trained engineers helped lead Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott's army to the conquest of Mexico City in 1847.2 Reconnaissance efforts carried out by troops were often supplemented by civilian auxiliaries. Indian and civilian scouts brought their special expertise to bear on the frontier. During the Mexican War, General Scott had even employed a group of locally hired Mexican bandits and deserters, the "Mexican Spy Company" to gather specific tactical intelligence.
Limiting Military Intelligence to tactical collection had led to numerous disasters in the past. In the War of 1812 American troops had crossed the Canadian border without maps in an abortive invasion attempt that ended in a fiasco. A generation later, the Army's quartermaster general found himself with no idea whether or not wagons could be used to support the advance of Maj. Gen. Zachary Taylor's forces into Mexico. In a classic breach of security, the Army then sent a courier to Taylor carrying unenciphered secret orders that stripped the general of most of his regulars. The orders were captured on the way, and Taylor's lack of reconnaissance allowed his depleted forces to be taken by surprise at Buena Vista. Buena Vista turned out to be an American victory only due to the fighting prowess of Taylor's volunteer troops. With luck on its side, the Republic managed to muddle through the Mexican War just as it had through the War of 1812. In both cases, the ultimate triumph of largely improvised forces encouraged a casual approach toward Military Intelligence, an attitude that fit well with the longstanding American tradition of subordinating military concerns to other, more immediate interests.
The nature and scope of the Civil War provided unusual opportunities for intelligence collection.3 Because the North and South were physically proximate
and loyalties were desperately intermixed, both sides made extensive use of spies as well as the military information cheerfully turned over by an uncensored press. In the field the rival armies often used civilian guides, willingly or unwillingly recruited from the population. This was an American adaptation of Napoleon's succinctly brutal advice on intelligence collection: "You order the major to put a peasant at your disposal, arrest his wife as a hostage, have a soldier dress himself as the man's farm hand. This system always succeeds."4 Cavalry once again proved its indispensability For the first part of the war, lack of an effective cavalry organization left the Union armies blinded in the presence of their enemies. During the Gettysburg campaign, however, the situation was reversed. Maj. Gen. J. E. B. Stuart's decision to raid rather than scout led directly to the Confederates' accepting battle on unfavorable terms.
Increased use of technology also contributed to innovations in the intelligence and security arena during the Civil War. The Union Army used both free and tethered balloons to watch over enemy dispositions in the early stages of the conflict. Manned by civilian aeronauts, the balloons were successively assigned to the Corps of Topographic Engineers, the Quartermaster Corps, and the Corps of Engineers.5 The Army Signal Corps, first set up in 1863, also came to play an intelligence role. Signal Corps communications troops posted on high ground often provided valuable field intelligence.6 However, their messages, transmitted by "wig-wagged" signal flags, could be intercepted. Similarly, the increased use of the telegraph by each side created opportunities both for communications intercept and communications deception. This quickly led to the employment of rudimentary field codes and ciphers in tactical situations.
Most commanders on both sides continued to serve as their own intelligence officers. Confederate Lt. Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson directly supervised the mapping of the Shenandoah Valley.7 Another Confederate corps commander, Lt. Gen. James A. Longstreet, personally debriefed the spy who provided the first indications that the Union Army was on the move to Gettysburg.10
However, there were some attempts to designate intelligence officers and to establish rudimentary intelligence organizations. During the opening days of the Bull Run campaign, Maj. Gen. Pierre Beauregard's assistant adjutant general was able to provide the Confederate Army with early warning of incipient Union moves through a well-connected spy network he ran in Washington, D.C. Shortly afterward, Maj. Gen. George McClellan, the newly appointed head of the Union Armies, employed private detective Alan Pinkerton as his intelligence chief. However, Pinkerton's untutored and exaggerated evaluation of Confederate strength virtually paralyzed Union operations for a time.8 But amateurishness in the field of intelligence at this point was not confined to civilians: after Pinkerton's return to private life, McClellan's cavalry chief, Maj. Gen. Alfred Pleasanton, provided equally misleading information regarding the enemy's numbers.9
Union forces did not acquire a professional intelligence officer until the spring of 1863, when Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker, commander of the Army of the Potomac, directed Col. George V Sharpe of the 120th New York Volunteer Infantry to set up a bureau of information. Sharpe, a lawyer and diplomat in civilian life, devised an effective system making use of civilian scouts, behindthe-lines agents, and interrogation reports from deserters and prisoners of war to build up an accurate picture of Confederate order of battle and intentions. By the end of the war, Sharpe was a brevet brigadier general and assistant provost marshal assigned to Headquarters, Armies of the United States.10
Counterintelligence organizations also made an appearance. In one of their few successes, Pinkerton and his operatives rolled up the Rosa Greenhow spy network that had funneled information to the Confederates from the nation's capital. At the beginning of 1862 the War Department took over the rather elaborate nationwide counterintelligence organization built up by Secretary of State William Henry Seward and placed it under Lafayette Baker, a civilian who subsequently operated a "secret service" of detectives that engaged in both positive collection and counterintelligence. In addition, Baker supervised investigations of graft and fraud and still found time to organize his own cavalry regiment, thus acquiring
the rank of colonel. As a result of his work in tracking down Lincoln's assassins, Baker also ended his Civil War service as a brevet brigadier general.11
After the Civil War, older habits reasserted themselves. The vast armies were hastily demobilized, and the wartime arrangements for gathering intelligence discontinued. Sharpe returned to civilian life; Baker was fired by President Andrew Johnson, who disagreed both with his methods and, more to the point, his suspicions that unregenerate Confederates were regaining power and influence under the Johnson administration. Once Reconstruction had ended, the Army was scaled back to a force of some 25,000 men, thinly scattered over the empty spaces of the American West. Once again, each commander served as his own intelligence officer. Under typical conditions of Indian warfare, cavalry regiments were broken up into penny-packets and employed as standing garrisions or mobile strike forces. In the West, commanders relied on Indian scouts and civilians like Buffalo Bill Cody to fulfill their intelligence needs. Indians had been used in this role since the beginning of the Republic, and Congress had authorized a permanent Corps of Indian Scouts in 1866. Although the legislation provided for a force of 1,000 scouts, budgetary factors allowed no more than 300 scouts to be employed at any one time. 12
Despite its occasional wartime accomplishments, Army Intelligence had been a matter of improvisation. There had been no institutional structure to give it historical continuity Expertise gained in wartime had quickly dissipated. However, by the 1880s the tide began to turn. American society itself was rapidly changing from a loosely knit aggregation of agriculturalists into an industrial unit of large corporations bound together in a national market. This in turn led to a new emphasis on professional expertise.13 At the same time, similar developments were taking place in the major nations overseas, which began to exhibit a renewed interest in imperial expansion, a fact of some concern to the United States. The U.S. preoccupation with the Civil War had already encouraged French intervention in Mexico. As the steamship and the international cable continued to draw the world closer together, the actions of foreign powers impinged on the American popular consciousness in a way that had not been the case in the past.
Slowly America's military institutions began to respond to these pressures for greater professionalization and greater access to information concerning events abroad. In 1881 the Army created a professional school at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to give advanced instruction to infantry and cavalry officers. In 1882 the U.S. Navy set up the Office of Naval Intelligence with the primary mission of observing and reporting on new developments in maritime technology overseas.
The establishment of the Division of Military Information by the Army in 1885 was thus part of a larger pattern of historical developments.
The Army's Intelligence organization underwent a steady evolution between 1885 and the beginning of the war with Spain. Initially, the Division of Military Information appears to have been seen as simply a passive repository for information on military-related developments at home and abroad. Its domestic responsibilities led to its location in the Military Reservations Division of the Adjutant General's Office. Initial collection requirements were disarmingly simple. The adjutant general requested that the Army's geographical departments and technical services "whenever practicable, make report on anything which it may be desirable for the Government to know in case of sudden war." Just what sort of information this was, however, was "almost impossible to specify in detail . . . but this can well be left to the intelligence and discretion of the officers."14
In 1889 the division took a first step toward taking on a more positive role when the Army dispatched military attaches to the capitals of the five major European powers: Great Britain, France, Germany Russia, and Austria-Hungary Since the attaches were charged with performing intelligence-gathering tasks in addition to diplomatic representational duties, they provided the division with its own professional collection arm. About the same time, the division became a separate body, directly subordinate to the adjutant general, and access to its files was restricted to the commanding general of the Army and the bureau chiefs. 15
Although the introduction of attaches improved the Army's foreign intelligence capabilities, it also resulted in the Army's first intelligence scandal. In 1892 Capt. Henry T. Borup, the American attache posted to France, was expelled from the country for attempting to purchase the plans for the fortifications of Toulon from a disgruntled employee of the French Ministry of Marine. This event caused some consternation, especially to Jefferson Coolidge, the American minister to France. Coolidge pointed out that Borup's action had been "perfectly useless"; not only was America at peace with France, but the small American navy could not attack Toulon. 16 However, the captain's behavior, while indiscreet, was not totally irrational; the United States had recently embarked on a program to upgrade its own coastal defenses, and Borup, an
ordnance officer, presumably believed that any information gleaned from abroad would be helpful. At any rate, this minor embarrassment did not interfere with the growth of the attache system. By 1894 five additional attache posts had been set up at other European capitals, Japan, and Mexico.
Meanwhile, the functions of the Military Information Division expanded further. In 1892 the secretary of war reorganized the division, assigning it a wide spectrum of duties that nearly transformed it into a combined operational and intelligence staff. The division was tasked to collect information on both the United States and foreign countries, to direct the attache system, and to disseminate intelligence products and maps to the Army. In addition, it was to monitor the militia mobilization base, prepare instructions to the militia inspectors, and formulate mobilization plans. As if all of this were not enough, the division was also directed to "have charge of a museum . . . for the care and preservation of military relics." 17
By 1893 the Military Information Division was large enough to be organized into four branches. The Progress in Military Arts Branch collected scientific and technical intelligence from the various attaches. The Northern Frontier Branch focused on the Canadian border: Great Britain was still thought of as a possible, though not probable, enemy, and Army officers were encouraged to take "hunting and fishing" leaves to reconnoiter and map certain areas of Canada. The Spanish-American Branch monitored developments in the troubled Caribbean, where Cuban revolutionaries were already plotting insurrection against Spain. Finally the Militia and Volunteer Branch kept track of the various state National Guard organizations and performed whatever rudimentary mobilization planning was possible in peacetime.
As a result, when the war with Spain began in April 1898, the Army for once entered upon a conflict with at least a semblance of intelligence preparation. Eleven officers were on duty with the Military Information Division at the State, War, and Navy Building in Washington; 6 additional attaches went to join the 10 already abroad, and another 40 officers provided status reports on the nation's militia.18 The Military Information Division had already collected a good deal of intelligence on conditions in Cuba and soon collected more using Army officers on undercover assignments in Cuba and Puerto Rico. The clandestine collection mission of Lt. Albert Rowan in Cuba was later both popularized and distorted in Elbert Hubbard's famous story, "A Message to Garcia." 1914
Unfortunately, the war would reveal much about the weaknesses of both the Army and its Military Intelligence organization. The 25,000-man Regular Army was increased in strength, but concomitantly 140,000 militiamen and volunteers were placed under arms, creating intolerable strains on the country's mobilization capacities. The dispatch of the main Spanish fleet to Santiago, Cuba, first discovered by a Signal Corps wiretap of the Spanish cable, led to the hasty deployment of elements of the Army's newly organized V Corps to that island. This expeditionary force was pulled together amid conditions of chaos and then committed to action under a slothful commander of dubious tactical skills. Eventual victory in Cuba owed much to the valor of regular and volunteer troops, but little to planning or to the effective use of intelligence, since the expedition's commander had refused the War Department's offer to set up a Military Information Division in the field to support the campaign.
Meanwhile, mobilization effectively disrupted the workings of the Military Information Division. The natural desire of officers for field service, coupled with the need to stiffen the volunteer troops with regulars, drained the Military Information Division of its uniformed personnel; only 2 officers and 10 civilian clerks were left on duty in Washington when the war came to a close, and all but 5 attaches had returned from their posts abroad. But during the same period the Army's intelligence needs had grown immensely. Following Dewey's victory at Manila, troops had been committed to the Philippines. An intelligence officer accompanied the expedition, but he labored under severe handicaps because the Military Information Division had never made any study of the Far East. Once a Filipino insurrection against American occupiers broke out, the Army in the Philippines was forced to expand its intelligence activities. In 1899 it set up its own independent counterintelligence center, the Bureau of Insurgent Records. Redesignated a year later as the Bureau of Military Information, this organization was not subordinated to the War Department's Military Information Division until 1902.
The lessons of the war with Spain and the imperatives of maintaining a 100,000-man Army to secure America's new empire led to a complete reorganization of the War Department in 1903. As a result, the Army finally acquired a General Staff organization to carry out administrative, intelligence, and planning functions. Six of the forty-four officers on the new War Department General Staff were assigned to its Second Division, which absorbed the Adjutant General's Military Information Division and was given the exclusive mission of collecting foreign intelligence. The arrangement allowed the Army's military information organization to focus its attention on intelligence rather than on the diversity of operational assignments that the Military Information Division had been given in 1892. In 1904 Great Britain belatedly organized its own Army General Staff, adopting precisely the oppo-15
site solution: the British combined intelligence with operations in the same staff element.20
Four major duties were assigned to the U.S. General Staff's Second Division: collecting and disseminating information on foreign countries; directing the work of the attache system and managing contacts with foreign military attaches in the United States; supervising mapping; and maintaining a reference collection. However, even under the new arrangements, the military information unit still could not perform certain vital intelligence staff functions. First, it had not been given the responsibility for planning Army Intelligence organization and operations in the field; it simply acted as a central point for intelligence-gathering at the War Department level. Second, the organization had no responsibility for security or counterintelligence within the Army. Moreover, the division's small staff was hard pressed to cope with its existing functions, and the War Department General Staff could not give the subject the attention it deemed necessary. Nevertheless, at least some officers had come to realize that the criterion for staffing the new organization should have been the size of the world rather than the size of the Army
Military Intelligence in the Twentieth Century
The first decade of the twentieth century furnished Army Intelligence with new challenges. Formerly, intelligence officers had concerned themselves with procuring information on the neighboring states in the Western Hemisphere and collecting, on a more or less academic basis, technical intelligence on military developments in Europe. The acquisition of the Philippines had forced the Army to develop a counterintelligence capability in that area. The Army soon realized that the Philippine involvement, together with a growing American commercial and military presence in China, had a wider intelligence impact. America was now a Far Eastern power. This meant that the Army now had to evaluate the military threat of the expanding Japanese Empire. Prejudice against Asian immigrants on the West Coast, which repeatedly jeopardized AmericanJapanese relations, only reinforced this need. Military observers thus went abroad to supplement attache coverage of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. In 1907 the Army began to assign officers to Japan for language training and shortly thereafter to China for the same purpose.
Paradoxically, as the Army's need for intelligence increased, the Army's capacity to meet it declined. Between 1903 and America's entry into World War 1, the Army's new General Staff strove to find an identity and a suitable role. The Army's intelligence organization was caught up in this bureaucratic maneuvering with unfortunate results. In 1907 the incumbent adjutant general, the autocratic Maj.16
Gen. Frederick Ainsworth, restricted the authority of the Second Division to communicate directly with the attaches overseas, insisting that certain categories of correspondence pass through his office. Then, in 1908 the Third Division of the General Staff, which dealt with contingency and operational planning and was a principal consumer of the Second Division's products, relocated to Washington Barracks (now Fort McNair). Unfortunately, its new and spacious quarters were some miles away from the Second Division's offices in downtown Washington, D.C. This soon caused coordination problems, since the Third Division had only one automobile at its disposal. To satisfy the Third Division's information requirements, the Second Division was in turn moved from its own centrally located offices and banished to Washington Barracks. Incumbent Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. J. Franklin Bell then decided that it was impracticable to have two separate General Staff elements in the same place and directed that the two divisions be merged. The Army's intelligence staff element thereby lost its separate identity.21
The result of this reorganization was an unqualified disaster for the intelligence function at the General Staff level. Intelligence was now assigned to the Military Information Committee, all of whose members were preoccupied with numerous other duties. Intelligence was no longer produced for the Army as a whole, but for the War College Division (as the Third Division was later redesignated), and soon it ceased to be produced at all. A few years later, the chief of the War College Division had to confess that because of the press of business, "the collecting, digesting, and filing of military information of foreign countries . . . appears never to have been carried on continuously," and that "the work of attaches is without proper supervision and guidance, and therefore, to a large extent, the value of their work is lost."22
The outbreak of revolution in Mexico in 1911 did little to end this situation, although two War College Division captains were eventually detailed to monitor developments and compile what information about the country was available.23 Still, when American forces landed at Vera Cruz in 1914 they were essentially without intelligence support. Sent down to investigate the situation, Capt. Douglas MacArthur reported back to his superior that "the Intelligence17
Office established by the Brigade was practically useless for my purpose. There seems to be no logical conception of just what information is needed and as a result its efforts consist largely in accumulating wild and exaggerated reports from a lot of scared and lying American refugees."24
The outbreak of general war in Europe also failed to revive the Army's intelligence program, even though the United States was soon on the verge of breaking diplomatic relations with Imperial Germany over the sinking of the Lusitania. Although the attache system was now extensive-historian Alfred Vagts has pointed out that only Imperial Russia had as many military attaches as the United States-and although additional military observers were sent to Europe to watch the fighting there, the mechanism for analyzing the reports submitted from overseas was lacking.25 After 1915 the Military Information Committee was used simply as a bookkeeping device. Congressional appropriations listed the committee as a budget line item, but its membership comprised all War College Division officers engaged in "current General Staff work" as opposed to war plans.26
The state of intelligence work in the Army was demonstrated graphically when the War Department was called upon to produce a preparedness plan for Army reorganization in 1915. Preparation of the threat estimate justifying the plan was assigned to Capt. Dennis E. Nolan of the War College Division, who assembled his data from three open source references: a 1914 almanac of the world's armies, a shipping register from the same year, and the Army's own Field Service Regulations. In the interest of simplicity Nolan decided to ignore the fact that the outbreak of World War I had rendered the information contained in these documents obsolete and changed the whole strategic situation. But by using this material creatively, Nolan demonstrated that Germany, to use only one of his examples, could deploy a force of 435,000 men and 91,457 animals in the United States within 15.8 days of the start of hostilities. Although this estimate served to justify the War Department's plans for a greatly expanded Army, it ignored so many other factors as to pass beyond the bounds of reality.27
Although Army Intelligence was collapsing at the center in the period just before American entry into World War I, there were other, more positive developments taking place in the field. These were mostly brought about by Signal Corps initiatives in the areas of communications intelligence, aerial reconnaissance, and communications security A growing Signal Corps involvement in the18
intelligence arena came about by a circuitous route. The Signal Corps had used balloons for meteorological purposes when it had the mission of operating the U.S. Weather Bureau. After the Signal Corps turned over all but the military aspects of the weather function to the Department of Agriculture in 1890, it redirected its aeronautical expertise toward the development of a manned observation balloon. A Signal Corps balloon, the Santiago, took part in the fighting in Cuba, where it served chiefly to draw enemy fire. Undeterred, the Signal Corps persevered in this line of development and continued to experiment with the possibilities of aerial observation from a variety of platforms.28 In the early years of the twentieth century, it made trials of traditional tethered observation balloons, a small powered dirigible, and the new airplane invented by the Wright brothers. In 1909 the Army purchased its first aircraft and by 1915 had a whole squadron.
Similarly, the Signal Corps pioneered the development of wireless for military uses. In 1914 it acquired three "radio tractors," actually White Company motortrucks equipped with radio sets. Although this equipment was procured for communications work, it could easily be adapted to intelligence purposes. Finally, in the field of security Capt. Parker Hitt became the first Army officer to undertake research in the exotic field of codes and ciphers. In 1916 Hitt produced the first work on cryptology ever published in the United States.29
About the same time, other signs of renewed interest in Army Intelligence began to emerge. In March 1916 Maj. Ralph Van Deman, an infantry officer on detail to the War College Division, submitted to his superiors two multipage memorandums on the subject. Van Deman had served with the former Military Information Division both in Washington and in the Philippines, performed undercover work in China, and held an intelligence position on his previous General Staff assignment from 1907 to 1910. Upon returning to Washington, he expressed his dismay at the extent to which the General Staff had allowed its intelligence function to lapse. Van Deman pointed out that information was no longer "collected-it just comes in . . . . But even such information as does come in, is not studied and checked . . . . As far as any benefit to the Government is concerned, the mass of this information might just as well be in Timbuctoo. It will remain in the Record Section unavailable to the end of time." 30 What the Army needed, Van Deman felt, was a separate division of the General Staff to deal exclusively with military information.31 Although this report had no immediate effect, in April the acting chief of staff
of the Army ordered intelligence officers to be posted in the Army's four continental United States and two overseas geographic departments. In addition to supporting their own commanders, these officers would report back to the Military Intelligence Committee. Even before this step had been taken, the Army found it had new requirements for intelligence.
In March 1916 the forces of Mexican bandit leader Pancho Villa raided Columbus, New Mexico, inflicting loss on troopers of the 13th Cavalry and causing civilian casualties. In response, the Wilson administration ordered Brig. Gen. John J. Pershing to lead a punitive expedition into Mexico to hunt down Villa's guerrilla band. Subsequently Pershing's forces deployed the widest range of intelligence assets which the Army had yet managed to field.
During the American foray into Mexico, traditional collection mechanisms were augmented by newly emerging technologies. Pershing's intelligence officer, Maj. James A. Ryan, organized a highly effective "service of information" that gave Pershing a good knowledge of northern Mexico. Ryan made use of local informants, supplemented by the Army's own reconnaissance capabilities. These were extensive. A large part of the force consisted of horse cavalry, and for the last time in its history the Army fielded a force of twenty Apache Indian scouts. In addition, the Punitive Expedition was accompanied by the aircraft of the Army's 1st Aero Squadron, commanded by Maj. Benjamin Foulois, the first Army officer to learn to fly. The squadron attempted aerial reconnaissance and even brought along an aerial camera, although little came of these efforts. The planes were too underpowered to fly over the mountain ranges of Mexico and all eight initially assigned to the expedition crashed within two months.32
Finally, motor vehicles appeared in an intelligence role for the first time in the Army's history. Pershing's expedition was not only supported logistically by trucks, but also used a few for intelligence collection. Although rugged Mexican terrain and the limitations of the early motor vehicle meant that ground reconnaissance still depended on horse cavalry, the "radio tractors" of the Signal Corps deployed with Pershing's forces monitored Mexican government communications as Mexican authorities became increasingly alarmed at the American probe, which soon extended 500 miles into their sovereign territory. Although the Punitive Expedition was a limited success-Villa's troops were engaged and scattered, but the leader himself escaped, and war with Mexico almost ensuedit was a milestone in the Army's use of multisource intelligence.
On 1 February 1917, the Mexican problem was suddenly eclipsed by the German decision to wage unrestricted warfare against all vessels carrying supplies to the Allied Powers. In addition to threatening America's capacity to export, this act defied the principles of neutral rights, which the Wilson admin-
istration had upheld since the beginning of World War 1. As the United States teetered on the brink of war, all War College students were relieved of their normal duties and instructed to familiarize themselves with attache reports relating to the war in Europe. At the same time, Secretary of War Newton Baker recommended that each state appoint a National Guard officer to receive intelligence training.33 However, when Congress finally declared war against Germany on 6 April 1917, the U.S. Army still had no intelligence organization. The Army essentially was moving blindly into the greatest foreign conflict in its history
1 See Arthur L. Wagner, The Service of Security and Information (Kansas City: HudsonKimberley Publishing, 1893), pp. 55-67.
2 The services of the topographical engineers are documented in William H. Goetzman, Army Exploration in the American West, 1803-1863 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1979); Guy C. Swan III et al., "Scott's Engineers," Military Review (March 1983): 61-68, deals with reconnaissance in the Mexican War.
3 An excellent treatment of Civil War intelligence can be found in Peter Maslowski, "Military Intelligence Sources During the American Civil War," in The Intelligence Revolution: An Historical Perspective; Proceedings of the Thirteenth Military History Symposium, United States Air Force Academy, ed. Walter T. Hitchcock (Washington, D.C.: Office of Air Force History, 1991), pp. 39-70.
4 Martin Van Creveld, Command in War (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1985), p. 67.
5 Army balloon activities in the Civil War and later periods are covered in Tom D. Crouch, The Eagle Aloft: Two Centuries of the Balloon in America (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institute Press, 1983). The Confederates were able to field only one balloon during the course of the conflict, but its performance impressed at least one rebel officer. "My experience with this gave me a high idea of the possible efficiency of balloons in active campaigns. Especially did we find, too, that the balloons of the enemy forced upon us constant troublesome precautions in efforts to conceal our marches." General E. P. Alexander, Military Memoirs of a Confederate (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1962), pp. 172-73.
6 The Union Signal Corps operated both "stations of observation" and "stations of communication." J. Willard Brown, The Signal Corps, U.S.A. in the War of the Rebellion (New York: Arno Press, 1974), p. 125. The Confederate Signal Corps was even more involved in intelligence work. See William A. Tidwell et al., Come Retribution: The Confederate Secret Service and the Assassination of Lincoln (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1988), pp. 80-104.
7 This is documented in Make Me a Map of the Valley: The Civil Warjournal of Stonewall Jackson's Topographer, ed. Archie P. McDonald (Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1973).
8 To the end, Pinkerton was convinced he was right. See his autobiographical work, The Spy of the Rebellion: Being a True History of the Spy System of the United States Army During the Late Rebellion (New York: G. W. Carleton and Co., 1883), p. 588. The best evaluation of his performance is in Edwin C. Fishel, "Pinkerton and McClellan: Who Deceived Whom?" Civil War History 24 (June 1988): 115-42.
9 Stephen V. Sears discusses the "singular ineptitude" of Pleasanton as an intelligence officer in George B. McClellan: The Young Napoleon (New York: Ticknor and Fields, 1988), p. 274. Pleasanton continued to serve as cavalry chief of the Army of the Potomac even after McClellan stepped down. His reports continued to be "remarkably unreliable." Russell F. Weigley, History of the United States Army, Enlarged Edition (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984), p. 242.
10 Maslowski, "Intelligence Sources," p. 40. It should be noted that Sharpe's organization was known as a "bureau of information," not an intelligence office. In nineteenth-century usage, the word "intelligence" equated with today's "news." The Army Intelligence office, which the Confederates established in 1862, was headed by a chaplain with the mission to inform the families of wounded Southern soldiers about their care and disposition.
11 Baker told his own story, possibly with some improvements, in History of the United States Secret Service (Philadelphia: L. C. Baker, 1867).
12 Robert M. Utley, Frontier Regulars: The United States Army and the Indian, 1866-1890 (New York: MacMillan Co., 1973), p. 53.
13 This interpretation owes much to Robert G. Wiebe.
14 Ltr, Brig Gen R. C. Drum to Chief of Engineers, 23 Nov 1886; George W. Auxier, Historical Manuscript File: Materials on the History of Military Intelligence in the U.S., 1884-1944, U.S. Army Center of Military History, Washington, D.C., hereafter cited as MID Documents.
15 A succinct account of the organization can be found in Elizabeth Bethel, "The Military Information Division: Origin of the Intelligence Division," Military Affairs 11 (Spring 1971): 17-24.
16 Alfred Vagts, The Military Attache (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1967), p. 222.
17 Orders, Secretary of War S. B. Elkins, 12 Mar 1892, MID Documents.
18 Marc B. Powe, The Emergence of the War Department Intelligence Agency, 1885-1918 (Manhattan, Kans.: MA/AH Publishing, 1974), p. 29. The head of the Military Information Division at the time was Col. Arthur S. Wagner, author of The Service of Security and Information and the leading expert on intelligence in the Army.
19 For the true story, see Rowan's own account in Military Intelligence: Its Heroes and Legends, comp. Diane Hamm (Arlington, Va.: U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, 1987), pp. 1-19.
20 Thomas G. Fergusson, British Military Intelligence, 1870-1914: The Development of a Modern Intelligence Organization (Frederick, Md.: University Publications of America, 1984), p. 202.
21 Maj. Gen. Ralph Van Deman, who headed War Department Military intelligence for most of World War I, commented that "had there been sufficient automobile transportation it is possible that the disastrous incident . . . would not have occurred." The Final Memoranda: Major General Ralph Van Deman, U.S.A. Ret., 1865-1952: Father of Military Intelligence, ed. Ralph J. Weber (Wilmington: Scholarly Resources, 1988), p. 15.
22 Memo, Brig Gen M. M. Macomb for Chief of Staff, 13 Jul 14, sub: Employment of a Monograph Clerk, Record Group (RG) 165, ser. 5, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington, D.C. A contemporary observer attributed the eclipse of the intelligence function to a personnel shortage. "The reduction of the General Staff by 12 officers in 1912 had made it impossible for an Intelligence division of any strength to be maintained." Maj Gen Dennis E. Nolan, Memoirs, ch. 4, p. 4, Dennis Nolan Ms, U.S. Army Military History Institute, Carlisle Barracks, Pa.
23 Ltr, Brig Gen M. M. Macomb to Brig Gen Tasker H. Bliss, 26 Oct 14, Tasker Bliss Ms, Library of Congress (LC), Washington, D.C.
24 Ltr, Capt Douglas MacArthur to Maj Gen Leonard Wood, 7 May 14, Leonard Wood Ms, LC.
25 Vagts, The Military Attache, p. 34.
26 The Final Memoranda, p. 147.
27 However, the Epitome of Military Policy produced by the War Department General Staff in 1915 concluded that "the accomplishment of the plan outlined above for the invading force instead of being a noteworthy military achievement would be a commonplace military operation ridiculously easy of accomplishment." John P. Finnegan, Against the Specter of a Dragon: The Campaign for American Military Preparedness, 1914-1917 (Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1974), p. 50.
28 In the 1903 revised edition of his book, The Service of Security and Information, Colonel Wagner included an extensive treatment on the employment of observation balloons for reconnaissance. I am indebted to Dr. Edward Raines of the U.S. Army Center of Military History for this piece of information.
29 Parker Hitt, Manual for the Solution of Military Ciphers (Fort Leavenworth: Press of the Army Service Schools, 1916).
30 The Final Memoranda, p. 104.
31 Ibid., pp. 113-14.
32 Clarence C. Clendenen gives a good account of the Punitive Expedition in Blood on the Border: The United States Army and the Mexican Irregulars (London: MacMillan Co., 1969). Chapter 17 of the book is devoted to "Airplanes and Motors."
33 Powe, The Emergence of the War Department Intelligence Agency, pp. 81-82.
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