Defence Intelligence and Security Centre
|Defence Intelligence and Security Centre|
|Chicksands, Near Shefford, Bedfordshire, England|
|Owner||Ministry of Defence|
|Controlled by||Joint Services|
|In use||1936 - present|
|Occupants||Royal Navy, Intelligence Corps, Royal Air Force|
The Defence Intelligence and Security Centre (DISC) is the location of the headquarters of both the Defence College of Intelligence and the British Army Intelligence Corps. It is located at Chicksands, Bedfordshire, approximately 35 miles (56 km) north of London.
Chicksands was the site of RAF Chicksands, an RAF signals collection station during and after the Second World War; during the war, it was one of the "Y-Stations" which sent intercepted signals to the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) at Bletchley Park, where ciphers and codes of several Axis countries were decrypted, most importantly the ciphers generated by the German Enigma and Lorenz machines. The station was used by the United States Air Force from 1950 to 1995, also for signals collection, being the location for its first 1,443 feet (440 m) diameter FLR-9 direction finding antenna, commonly known as the Elephant Cage, from 1963 to 1995. The site was closed as an RAF station in 1997, then handed over to the Intelligence Corps allowing the Corps Headquarters and training delivery to re-locate from Templer Barracks in Ashford, Kent.
Defence College of Intelligence
The Defence College of Intelligence (DCI) is responsible for delivering training in intelligence and security to members of the British Armed Forces, police and other public sector staff as well as international partners. Training is delivered over three sites, Chicksands, the Defence Centre for Languages and Culture, MOD Shrivenham and the School of Photography at the Defence College of Aeronautical Engineering at Cosford.
HQ Intelligence Corps
The Headquarters of the Intelligence Corps is located on site, with all core training for Intelligence Corps soldiers and officers being delivered through the DCI.
15 (United Kingdom) Psychological Operations Group
15 (United Kingdom) Psychological Operations Group is a tri-service, or "purple", military unit formerly parented by 1 Military Intelligence Brigade but from April 2014, part of the Security Assistance Group within Army's HQ Force Troops Command. The unit comprises over 150 personnel, approximately 75 from the regular Armed Services and 75 from the Reserves. The Group supports deployed commanders in the provision of psychological operations in operational and tactical environments. It is currently commanded by an Army Intelligence Corps officer, Lt Col Andrew Winter.
15 (UK) PSYOPS Group was established immediately after the 1991 Gulf War when the success of US military psychological operations convinced the Ministry of Defence that the UK required a similar capability. Initially, it was composed of just a single desk officer with the intention that it would be augmented by additional personnel when required. As such, the Group was referred to in military terminology as a 'shadow' unit. Subsequently, conspiracy theorists have suggested incorrectly that 'Shadow' was a covert code name for the Group and members of the Group have been targeted in the press.
Since 1991, the Group has grown significantly in size to meet operational requirements and has participated in every major UK military operation since that period. The Group's Honorary Colonel is Lieutenant General Sir Paul Newton, formally Commander of Force Development and Training for the British Army. The Black and White Club is the regimental association for the Group and for the first time, in 2013, the Club paraded on Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph. Leading members of the Black and White Club include Colonel Colin Mason (ret'd), Tony Rowlands (former Foreign Office), Commander Steve Tatham RN, and the UK's current serving Director of Defence Communications, Stephen Jolly.
In October 2012, the Group was awarded the Firmin Sword of Peace for its "valuable contribution to humanitarian activities by establishing good and friendly relations with the inhabitants of any community at home or overseas". The citation noted that: "A small team from 15 POG has been continuously deployed to Helmand for six years. Working predominantly with the Afghan civilian population, it has sought to inform, reassure, educate and through the promotion of free and unbiased discussion persuade Afghans that their futures are best served not with the Taliban, nor with ISAF, but with themselves and their elected government. The unit runs a network of radio stations employing local Afghans as DJs, broadcasting music, poetry, debate programmes and even a Helmandi soap opera, as well as producing graphical posters and leaflets to communicate in an area where literacy rates are only around 20%. Recent projects include information campaigns to prevent children picking up spent ordnance they find, disseminating information from farming and veterinary workshops using their radio stations, and promoting debate on political issues of the day".
The Sword was presented to the Group's then Commanding Officer Commander Steve Tatham RN at a ceremony in London by the Chief of Defence Staff General Sir David Richards. The award was covered by the BBC which was granted exclusive access to the Group.
Post 2014, 15 (UK) Psychological Operations Group will will move to Denison Barracks in 2016 and come under the command of the new Security Assistance Group.
Other resident units
- Intelligence Corps Museum
- Army Cadet Force detachment
- "Bedford - HMS Ferret". Royal Navy. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
- Army HQ Force Troops Command
- "15 (UK) Psychological Operations Group". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 23 August 2008.
- "Psychological Ops Group". Royal Navy. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
- Jolly, Stephen (October 2000). Minshall, David, ed. "Wearing the Stag's Head Badge: British Combat Propaganda since 1945". Falling Leaf (The Psywar Society) (170): 86–89. ISSN 0956-2400.
- Muir, Hugh (13 December 2012). "Master of black propaganda gets top job at MoD". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 26 April 2013.
- "15 (United Kingdom) Psychological Operations Group: Annual Report". 15 (UK) PSYOPS Group. Retrieved 29 May 2011.
- Royal British Legion Roll of Honour http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/media/1373502/2013cenotaphorder_of_march.pdf
- Colonel Colin Mason http://www.debretts.com/people/biographies/browse/m/1521/Colin+Rees.aspx
- Commander Steve Tatham RN http://www.x-iap.com/commander-steve-tatham.html,
- "Firmin Sword of Peace awarded to 15 (UK) Psychological Operations Group". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
- Wyatt, Caroline (27 October 2012). "Psy-ops: Tuning the Afghans into radio". BBC News Online. BBC News. Retrieved 28 October 2012.