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Defence Intelligence Staff
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Who They Are
The DIS is a motley collection of dried-up has-beens from the rear-guard of the Civil Service, studded with bored Squadron Leaders and a bunch of young, liberal, red-brick oiks. They reside in the Old War Office Building - a dramatic but mouldy edifice opposite Main Building in Whitehall.
Their remit is to supply accurate, timely intelligence 'products' to MoD's policy-makers, although they have difficulty enough finding out what is happening in their own offices. Walts usually refer to the DIS as 'the defence intelligence service' because they think this makes it sound more special.
Chief of Defence Intelligence (CDI)
The DIS is commanded by a military three-star who calls himself the 'Chief of Defence Intelligence'. This post is usually rotated between the three services to prevent any one service from becoming infected with the DIS malaise. His role is to walk into his office and demand 'the latest intelligence' on whatever took his fancy on BBC Breakfast that morning. He also turns up at meetings of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) to remind central government that Her Majesty's Armed Forces are actually still prosecuting their wars for them.
Deputy Chief of Defence Intelligence (DCDI)
The 2IC of the DIS is a civilian called 'DCDI' by everyone. This is because no-one knows or cares who he actually is. His role is to do whatever he's told by CDI and to otherwise keep his mouth shut. He also has a remit to ensure the analytical purity of key DIS advice and 'should be a professional analyst', although this requirement is usually waived through a lack of qualified applicants and they tend to take whoever they can get. As a rule, if DCDI knows your name you can assume that you have found yourself in the same dark room as him.
Highlights of the DIS
The DIS became famous when the UK sold a massive smooth-bore cannon to Saddam Hussein (the 'Matrix Churchill' or 'Supergun' affair). It was noted that the DIS could have told anyone that this was a massive cannon of death - had they been given the information, which they weren't. Since they were kept in the dark the DIS were absolved of any responsibility for the 'Supergun' affair.
The DIS became famous again when the UK invaded Iraq. It was noted that the DIS could have told anyone that there were no WMD in Iraq... had anyone actually listened to the analysts, which they didn't. Since they were kept in the dark the DIS were (mostly) absolved of any responsibility for the 'sexed up' and very dodgy 'Iraq Dossier'.