By Lori S. Stewart, USAICoE Command Historian
On July 13, 1945, Col. Harold R. Kibler was reappointed chief of the Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC), a position that had been abolished more than a year earlier. As the war began to wind down, Colonel Kibler recognized coming problems with training and replacements and took it upon himself to address the issues and resurrect his old position.
In July 1943, an Army’s Inspector General investigation into the activities of stateside CIC detachments led to the elimination of the CIC in the Zone of the Interior and merger of its agents into a new Security Intelligence Corps overseen by the Provost Marshal General. This action also eliminated the position of the chief of the CIC effective February 5, 1944 and staff supervision of CI activities passed to the director of intelligence, Army Service Forces (ASF).
Within months, problems with training and replacements of overseas CIC agents began to arise as a result of the decentralization of CIC operations. The Military Intelligence Training Center (MITC) at Camp Ritchie, Maryland, hastily developed a short training course for deploying CIC agents but, ultimately, integrated these students into the school’s general combat intelligence courses. Furthermore, as CIC agents redeployed to the United States, they were put into the Army’s general replacement pools, resulting in their loss to the CIC.
A Corps of Intelligence Police agent during World War I, Kibler had become chief of the CIC on 10 May 1943, and foreseeing these types of issues even then, had fought vigorously but unsuccessfully against the abolition of his position. When he found himself without a job, he returned to a previous position with the G-2, Sixth Service Command, before being assigned as executive officer to the director of intelligence, ASF. In February 1945, now 49 years old and with twenty-seven years of counterintelligence experience, Colonel Kibler authored a memorandum recommending the reestablishment of the office of chief, CIC. He initially kept his memo close hold until he felt it would receive favorable consideration. On May 21, 1945, he finally received permission to submit it to the War Department.
Forecasting the coming end of the war in the Pacific and the rapid redeployment of troops, Kibler’s memo argued that CIC detachments overseas would be left woefully short of personnel just as their responsibilities increased in the occupied areas. New agents needed to be trained quickly, but the abbreviated CI training offered at MITC, while sufficient for agents being integrated into experienced detachments, was inadequate for new agents assigned to depleted detachments. He lobbied that “authority be granted to conduct such additional training as will properly prepare Counter Intelligence Corps personnel to perform their duties.”
To oversee this training and the assignments of CIC personnel as overseas replacements, Colonel Kibler specifically recommended the commanding general, ASF, be authorized to reestablish the office of the chief, CIC. The resurrected office would be led by a colonel and include thirty-eight additional officers and thirty-one enlisted men to be utilized “for no other purpose.” Furthermore, he recommended the formation of a CIC Training Group for personnel procured for CIC and undergoing training prior to assignment. Personnel redeployed or rotated from theaters of operation would be assigned to the unit for redeployment training prior to reassignment.
Kibler’s memo was quickly approved by the General Staff. On July 13, 1945, Colonel Kibler was reinstated as the chief of CIC and began to implement his detailed recommendations.