259. Memorandum by Secretary of Defense Laird1


  • Secretaries of the Military Departments
  • Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • Director of Defense Research and Engineering
  • Assistant Secretaries of Defense
  • General Counsel
  • Assistants to the Secretary of Defense
  • Directors of Defense Agencies


  • Establishment of the Defense Investigative Service (DIS)


Presidential Memorandum dated November 5, 1971, subject: “Organization and Management of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Community”2
SecDef Memorandum of November 10, 1971, subject: “DoD Organizational Changes”3
DoD Directive 5200.26, February 17, 1971, subject: “Defense Investigative Program”4

By reference (a), the President directed establishment of a single office of Defense investigations. In reference (b), I directed the ASD(Comptroller) to develop a plan to accomplish this reorganization.

I have reviewed the plans presented by him and have decided to approve a time-phased course of action creating a Defense Investigative Service (DIS) as a separate Defense Agency reporting directly to the Secretary of Defense. This will be accomplished in three phases:

  • —On 1 January 1972, the DIS will be established and will function initially as a planning group charged with making necessary arrangements to commence operations on 1 April 1972.
  • —On 1 April 1972 the case control staff functions of the Military Departments will be consolidated under the DIS, which will assume control of all Personnel Security Investigations (PSI) within the Department of Defense, tasking the Military Department investigative agencies for the field investigative effort. Investigators will remain with the Military Departments. On the same date, the DoD National Agency Check Center (DODNACC) and the Defense Central Index of Investigations (DCII) will be incorporated in the DIS.
  • —On 1 October 1972, all PSI field investigative resources will be transferred from the Military Departments to the DIS and investigators will be assigned directly to the DIS.

I will appoint a Director of the DIS.

The Assistant Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) will provide policy guidance and staff supervision for the DIS and is delegated responsibility under the provisions of reference (c) to direct, manage, and review the Defense Investigative Program.

Each Military Department will provide as soon as possible to the Director, DIS, five professional and two clerical personnel on a temporary basis to assist the Director in developing organizational structure, program plans, and operating procedures for the DIS. Direct liaison between the Director and appropriate officials designated by the Secretaries of the Military Departments is authorized to effect cross-servicing agreements for the permanent transfer of personnel to the DIS to proceed with the operations of the agency as set forth herein.

The Secretaries of the Military Departments and Director, DIS, through liaison with appropriate Military Department personnel, jointly, will ensure that effective performance of personnel security investigations continues during the 1 January–1 April transition period.

In the near future, I intend to appoint a Study Group with a view toward determining whether the DIS functions should be expanded to include counterintelligence and criminal investigation.

Effective 1 July 1972, the ASD(Comptroller) is assigned Program Manager responsibilities for the Counterintelligence and Investigative activities, now vested in the Director, DIA.

The ASD(Comptroller) will assist the Director, DIS, as necessary, and monitor the progress of implementing actions contained in this memorandum.

Melvin R. Laird
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD/ISA Files: FRC 330 74 083, 310.1 Oct 1971. No classification marking.
  2. Document 242.
  3. See footnote 4, Document 242.
  4. Not found.