The group that founded the original Canadian Military Intelligence Association (CMIA) can trace its roots soon after World War II. It originally included officers of the Canadian Armed Services and the Armed Forces of the Commonwealth who had WWII experience in Intelligence activities. Its aim was to further the interests of Military Intelligence by attending the annual meetings of the Conference of Defence Associations (CDA) and to provide direct assistance to the various Militia and Regular Force training establishments.
After WWII, informal meetings began in Montreal and Toronto. On 16 February 1946, a dinner meeting attended by 32 individuals was held in Montreal where it was decided to form a permanent organization called the “Canadian Intelligence Corps Association, Montreal Branch”. In Toronto, another meeting was held on 1 November 1946 with 70 present. The groups were advised to get a charter from the Secretary of State and make a formal request through Army Headquarters to the CDA. Upon approval, DND would provide some financial support.
On 10 December 1946, Colonel Peter Wright (1st Canadian Army G2 – using today’s equivalent staff titles) asked for approval of the name “Canadian Military Intelligence Association”, which was officially granted on 8 January 1948. CMIA was established as “a Body Corporate and Politic without share capital for the purpose of carrying on in more than one province of Canada…to further the interests and promote the efficiency of Military Intelligence in the Canadian Army”.
The first official CMIA general meeting was held in Toronto on 20 November 1948. The meeting confirmed Peter Wright as President, Jock Murray as Vice-President, and Eric Acland as Secretary-Treasurer. Ten other Directors were also appointed. Advisory Committees immediately advocated for an increase in the number of Intelligence units and ensure that all aspects of Intelligence were covered in the training programs of both the Militia and Regular Force. The by-laws were amended to permit members of the Regular Force, the RCN, the RCAF, and Commonwealth countries to become Associate members on payment of a nominal annual fee.
On 2 December 1948, CMIA was accepted into the CDA at its twelfth Annual Meeting. This was an important milestone as resolutions submitted by the CMIA within the CDA resulted in the formation of six Militia Intelligence Companies: No. 1 in Montreal, No. 2 in Toronto, No. 3 in Halifax, No. 4 in Vancouver, No. 5 in Winnipeg and No. 6 in Edmonton. Additional resolutions led to Russian language training being undertaken in these units. The CMIA was also influential in establishing the Canadian School of Military Intelligence (CS of MI) at Camp Borden.
General H.D.G. Crerar was the first Honorary Colonel Commandant of the C Int C appointed 3 February 1949, which was renewed in 1954, and again in 1959. In 1962, his title was changed to Colonel Commandant. General Crerar established an affiliation with the British Intelligence Corps (a relationship formally approved and renewed by Her Majesty in 1982) and later in his tenure, badges were exchanged with the Australian Army Intelligence Corps. Colonel Peter Wright, General Crerar’s successor, established the Colonel Commandant’s Advisory Council and Fund. The Fund was used to expand the C Int C Quarterly, purchasing Corps regalia for the CS of MI kit shop and hosting the “Crerar” dinners – prestigious events which included distinguished Canadian and foreign government personalities.
In 1965, the CMIA’s close liaison with the Regular Force was disrupted as a result of Integration when the Canadian Provost Corps, the C Int C, the Clerk-Intelligence trade and Air Force Police were combined under the newly created Security Branch. Integration forced a review of CMIA’s status. A Security Services Officers Association, composed of Regular officers who were mostly Military Police, expressed a desire to amalgamate with the CMIA. This was not allowed under CDA Regulations. However, a compromise was reached in which the two groups became the Canadian Intelligence and Security Association (CISA) – a change in name without abdicating the original purpose of the CMIA. CISA remained in existence until a few years ago when it changed its name to the Canadian Intelligence and Military Police Association (CIMPA). This group, however, legally dissolved in 2011.
The former Canadian Forces Intelligence Branch Association (CFIBA), on the other hand, stems from the start of the Intelligence Branch in October 1982. The membership consisted of Branch members exclusively. The Association was formed in parallel to CISA, which remained an amalgamation of Security and Intelligence members. In the intervening years, the CFIBA carried on the intent and spirit of the original CMIA. However, there was a common misunderstanding that the CFIBA was part of the Canadian Armed Forces or the Intelligence Branch. Moreover, there was also a misperception that the CFIBA was not open to the wider Military Intelligence community. In early 2013, the CFIBA membership voted to change the Association name to the CMIA allowing the Association to present a more robust and effective voice as an advocate of the Military Intelligence function. Finally, a return to the CMIA designation, reflecting a more inclusive membership and a wider membership base, validated the original intent and spirit of those founding members while continuing to foster the proud history of the Military Intelligence community.
Many thanks to LCol (Retd) Greg Jensen