Suitland, Maryland - The men and women of the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) celebrated the 134th anniversary of the establishment of America's longest-serving intelligence agency in a March 23 ceremony at the National Maritime Intelligence Center, the command's headquarters.
Past leaders and members of the Naval Intelligence community joined other guests in honoring some of ONI's most accomplished military and civilian professionals.
Eighteen members of the command were presented prestigious awards in recognition of their outstanding service.
"As we have in the past, the men and women of Naval Intelligence have worked together to overcome obstacles, adapt to change and build relationships to better support our Navy and our nation," said Rear Adm. Elizabeth Train, ONI's commander.
Today ONI is a core element of the Navy's Information Warfare Community. Its 3,000 members specialize in the collection, analysis, production and dissemination of vital, timely and accurate scientific, technical, geopolitical and military intelligence for key strategic, operational and tactical decision makers.
The event's featured speaker, retired Rear Adm. Samuel Cox, director of the Naval History and Heritage Command, and former commander of ONI, traced the history of the command from its founding in 1882 through numerous conflicts and world wars to the present. He discussed the successes of Naval Intelligence, as well as its growing pains. Progress, Cox said, is not linear, consistent nor easy.
"There's nothing definite about intelligence that will guarantee success. In order to make sure that we have the capability to not have a catastrophe instead of success requires extreme vigilance," Cox said. "The key to success in battle," he added, quoting fifth century B.C. Chinese general and philosopher Sun Tzu, "is to know your enemy and know yourself."
The fundamental mission of the people of ONI, Cox said, is to know the enemy.
"You, as intelligence professionals, have to be ever vigilant and make the case that the Navy needs the capability that ONI brings to the fight," said Cox.