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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.

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


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 1882Edit

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

Notable Naval Intelligence OfficersEdit



External linksEdit


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