Intelligence Schools

There just isn't any really good documentation on what intelligence training was done or where it was done prior to World War I. In 1918 the Signal Corps opens it's school at Camp Alfred Vail (later renamed Fort Monmouth) but it is unknown what, if any, intelligence training it provided. In the early 1900s the Signal Corps did operate SIGINT equipment, namely the DF Tractor. Most communications intercept prior to World War I seems to have been done by "agents", some of which worked for the telegraph companies.

World War I Era:

Cryptography Classes - Riverbank Lab at Geneva Illinois

Prior to World War I, the U.S. had no formal code breaking organization although a few people were engaged in cipher work at Riverbank Lab in Geneva, Illinois. The lab was founded by George Fabyan, a millionaire cotton merchant and honorary Colonel. When war broke out in Europe Fabyan offered to put his cryptographers and laboratory at the disposal of the government. Riverbank became the "unofficial" cipher bureau until the MI-8 was established. The federal government asked Riverbank to provide cryptologic training to assist in building up a reserve of officers knowledgeable in the field. Friedman did most of the teaching of a class of Army officers sent to Riverbank?s Department of Codes and Ciphers in the fall of 1917 to learn cryptology. Three classes totaling about 80 officers were taught by Friedman and his wife, with the officers being housed in the Aurora Hotel in Aurora. For instruction in these courses, he turned out a series of technical monographs. He completed seven before he went overseas in 1918, and he wrote the eighth on his return in 1920. Known collectively as the Riverbank Publications, the series broke new ground in the study of cryptology, and the information they first set forth is still regarded as the prerequisite for a higher education in cryptology. Because Riverbank had issued other publications, the cryptologic series began at Number 15. Number 22, written in 1920, must be regarded as the most important single publication in cryptology.

British Intelligence School - Harrow England

The United States initially relied upon its European allies for much training. U.S. Army officers were sent to the British Intelligence School at Harrow, England, until an American facility could be set up in Langres, France.

U.S. Army Intelligence School at Langres France

Before 1918, there was no technical training for intelligence officers. The American Expeditionary Force in France recognized this deficiency and cabled the War Department to ask that intelligence officers be sent to France ahead of their division's sailing date so that they could attend a special intelligence training course. Initially, the course consisted of a quick visit to the front lines, then enrollment at the AEF General Staff College in Langres, France. The U.S. Army Intelligence School at Langres began its operation on July 25, 1918, with Major Thom Catron as director. The school's faculty was international in flavor, with one British and two French officers on the staff. With about 11 instructors in all, they taught two six week classes and one eight week class, averaging 46 students each, for 46.5 hours a week, Monday through Saturday, and sometimes Sunday. The demand for enrollment far exceeded the number of spaces available because of the demand in the field for trained intelligence officers. (The school was discontinued at the end of the war.)

Signal Corps School - Camp Alfred Vail, NJ:

Signal Corps radio intelligence personnel underwent training enabling them to intercept messages at the rate of 25 words per minute and to translate 15 words per minute from the German.

Between World War I and World War II

Signal Intelligence School (1929) Washington DC

The Signal Intelligence Service (SIS) was the new organization formed in 1929 to assume the functions of the disbanded MI-8 . Located in the Munitions Building in Washington D.C., it received its funding from MID and the Signal Corps. William Friedman served as its first director with one of his first tasks being the set up of an adequate program to provide training for officers in cryptology - known as the Signal Intelligence School . In July of 1934 a trainee of the Signal Intelligence School, 1LT W. Preston Corderman (who will become the first Chief of ASA), was made an instructor and the school, which had previously been conducted by Mr. Friedman and his civilian assistants, was formally organized as a separate section. From this time on the Signal Intelligence Service and school was staffed with military and civilian personnel.

Signal Corps School - Fort Monmouth

A small detachment of the 2nd Signal Service Company expands the Cryptographic School.

The Signal School began teaching courses on intercepting Japanese Kana code in September of 1933.

World War II

Signals Interception and Deciphering training school- Signal Corps School - Vint Hill Farms VA Branch

The Army's Signal Security Agency opened a cryptographic school in October 1942 at Vint Hill Farms, Warrenton, Va., to train enlisted men as cryptanalysts, traffic analysts and related technicians. When the Army Security Agency was organized in 1945, the Chief of ASA assumed control of the Vint Hill Farms Branch of the Signal School and in 1946 it was officially designated the US Army Security Agency Training Center and School. (It moved to Fort Devens in 1951.)

SIGINT school - Arlington Hall

Trains SIGINT officers and civilians

Military Intelligence Training Center at Camp Ritchie, Md

Most intelligence personnel received training here. In an old National Guard Armory, 19,669 combat intelligence specialists (interpreters, interrogators, order- of battle specialists, and photo interpreters) were graduated during WW II. The school was closed as part of the demobilization after the war.

The Military Intelligence Training Center, MITC, was activated on June 19, 1942. The name of the camp was shortened to Camp Ritchie. At noon that day, a brief and simple ceremony overlooking the parade ground of the camp formally activated the MITC. The order was read establishing the camp under the command of Col. (later Brigadier General) Charles Y. Banfill. Col. Banfill was not only the commandant of the MITC, but was also the Chief, Training Group, Military Training Service -- allowing for speedier solutions to all questions of operation and instruction for the MITC.

The moment that MITC took charge, Camp Ritchie bade "good-bye" to the headlines. An air of secrecy cloaked not only all activities at the camp, but all personnel sent there as well. Troops arrived in small groups or individually, under classified orders. Once there, they were told to identify themselves to no one, not even to their wives, as being connected with military intelligence.

By 1944, all Counter Intelligence Corps personnel were being trained at Camp Ritchie. With approximately $5 million invested by the Army to build 165 structures, Camp Ritchie was home to more than 3,000 men and women.

The end of the war saw the camp returned to Maryland. The school relocated to Fort Huachuca in 1971. (Researching where it was until 1971)

Military Intelligence Service Language School

On the eve of America?s entry into World War II, when the U.S. Army established a secret school at Crissy Field, Presidio of San Francisco, to teach the Japanese language. Classes began November 1, 1941, with four instructors and 60 students in an abandoned airplane hangar at Crissy Field. The students were mostly second-generation Japanese-Americans (Nisei) from the West Coast.

During the war the Military Intelligence Service Language School (MISLS), as it came to be called, grew dramatically. When Japanese-Americans on the West Coast were moved into internment camps in 1942, the school moved to temporary quarters at Camp Savage, Minnesota. By 1944 the school had outgrown these facilities and moved to nearby Fort Snelling. More than 6,000 graduates served throughout the Pacific Theater during the war and the subsequent occupation of Japan.

In 1946 the school moved to the historic Presidio of Monterey.


As late as 1951 the Camp Gordon Signal School was still teaching cryptography.


US Army Security Agency Training Center and School- Fort Devens, MA

Initially located at Vint Hill Farms, the facilities could not meet the increasing demands for Agency trained personnel during the Korean War. The school was moved to Fort Devens MA by April 15th, 1951.


GOODFELLOW AFB - San Angelo Texas

In 1953, USAFSS established its own specialized training school - an institution that was moved to Goodfellow AFB in 1958. USAFSS continued to operate the school there for 20 years, before it evolved into the Air Force School of Applied Cryptologic Sciences, or USAFSACS.

National Cryptologic School (NSA) - Fort Meade, MD

Founded sometime in the late 1950s.

The U.S. Naval Technical Training Center (NTTC), Corry Station, Pensacola, Florida.

In 1960, Corry Station was selected to be the new home for Communications Training (now known as Cryptologic Training). In 1973, Officer and Enlisted Aviation Electronic Warfare and Surface Electronic Warfare training was relocated to Corry from multiple sites.