The 75th OSS anniversary was observed this month – on June 13th, 1942. The Office of Strategic Services was created in the early days of World War II to provide an intelligence service to the United States. Prior to World War II the business of collecting and disseminating intelligence was in the hands of elements of the armed services and foreign policy experts. The OSS was America’s first true intelligence service and would be the forerunner for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and U.S. Army Special Forces.
The OSS was established under the jurisdiction of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff. President Roosevelt appointed William Dovovan as the director of the OSS. Donovan organized the OSS so it could perform a variety of missions to include research and analysis, counterintelligence, espionage, covert operations, and paramilitary operations. Paramilitary operations were conducted by “Operational Groups” or OGs. They conducted military operations in remote areas and behind enemy lines. Jedburgh teams were formed up to operate in the European theater – many of the teams parachuted into France to support the Normandy landings in June of 1944. There were many other units and elements of the OSS that conducted a variety of mission around the world such as Detachment 101 that operated in Burma area of operations.
At the conclusion of World War II the Office of Strategic Services was disbanded. Many of its members went into civilian life while some remained in the U.S. military. Some former OSS members would soon find themselves in the U.S. Army Special Forces or the Central Intelligence Agency.
Some additional reading on the OSS anniversary:
The Glorious Amateurs: OSS Turns 75! CIA, June 18, 2017.
Director Pompeo Delivers Remarks at OSS 75th Anniversary, CIA, June 16, 2017.
Some History of the OSS in Albania during WWII, SOF News, November 14, 2016.
World War II UW – Marquis, SOE, OSS, and . . . Present UW. SOF News, November 11, 2016.
Operation CARPETBAGGER – Supporting the OSS in WWII, SOF News, August 15, 2106.
Order Establishing the Office of Strategic Services, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, June 13, 1942. Posted on The American Presidency Project, University of California Santa Barbara.