For the fictional military agency in the Halo videogame series, see Factions of Halo#Military.

The Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) was established in the United States Navy in 1882. ONI was established to "seek out and report" on the advancements in other nations' navies. Its headquarters are at the National Maritime Intelligence Center in Suitland, Maryland. ONI is the oldest member of the United States Intelligence Community, and is also therefore by default the senior intelligence agency within the armed forces, though subordinate to the Defense Intelligence Agency.

ONI was founded by the Secretary of the Navy, William H. Hunt with General Order 292, dated March 23, 1882, which read:

An “Office of Intelligence” is hereby established in the Bureau of Navigation for the purpose of collecting and recording such naval information as may be useful to the Department in time of war, as well as in peace.

To facilitate this work, the Department Library will be combined with the “Office of Intelligence,” and placed under the direction of the Chief of the Bureau of Navigation.

Commanding and all other officers are directed to avail themselves of all opportunities which may arise to collect and to forward to the “Office of Intelligence” professional matters likely to serve the object in view.[1]

ONI's position as the naval intelligence arm began in earnest when the United States declared war on Spain in 1898 in response to the sinking of the U.S. battleship Maine in the harbor of Spanish-controlled Havana, Cuba. ONI's powers grew as it became responsible for the "protection of Navy Personnel, censorship and the ferreting out of spies and saboteurs."

In 1929, the Chief of Naval Operations made these functions the permanent duties of ONI. During World War II, Naval Intelligence became responsible for the translation, evaluation and dissemination of intercepted Japanese communications, and its budget and staff grew significantly. While other parts of the Navy were downsized after the war, Fleet Admiral Nimitz ensured ONI's continued strength, which was to prove important during the Cold War.

Directors of Naval Intelligence from 1882[edit | edit source]

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Note: Prior to 1911 the head of the ONI was known as the Chief Intelligence Officer.

Notable Naval Intelligence Officers[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  • Packard, Wyman H. (1996). Century of U.S. Naval Intelligence. Naval Historical Center. ISBN 0-945274-25-4. 


External links[edit | edit source]

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