To better deal with international crises in the post-Cold War era, the Defense Agency on Jan. 20 inaugurated the Defense Intelligence Headquarters to integrate military and civilian intelligence functions.The headquarters will enable the agency to more swiftly and efficiently collect and analyze military information for the Self-Defense Forces, agency officials said. Because such intelligence work has been done separately by the Internal Bureau, the Ground, Maritime and Air Staff Offices and the Joint Staff Council, the Defense Agency as a whole could not fully demonstrate its intelligence capability, they said.In addition, the small size of each intelligence organization hampered agency efforts to recruit competent specialists on military information, they said. The agency has appointed Gen. Masahiro Kunimi as the first chief director of its new headquarters under the Joint Staff Council. Some 1,600 staff members, including uniformed personnel and civilians, will serve at the nation’s largest intelligence headquarters.Defense Agency chief Fumio Kyuma stressed the need for the agency to undertake intelligence collection and analysis at high levels to respond adequately to the rapidly changing international situation. “Particularly, the situation surrounding our country is still opaque and ambiguous,” he said at an inauguration ceremony at the agency headquarters. “While issues on the Korean Peninsula remain unsolved and major military powers, including those equipped with nuclear weapons, exist as our neighbors, many countries are expanding and modernizing their military capabilities,” Kyuma said.Kunimi said on a separated occasion he hopes such united organization will help uniformed personnel of the agency and SDF officers work hand in hand to create a monolithic Defense Agency.

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