Hawaii Five-O Wiki

The Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) was established in the United States Navy in 1882. ONI was established to "seek out and report" on the advancements in other nations' navies. The oldest member of the United States Intelligence Community, ONI is headquartered at the National Maritime Intelligence Center in Suitland, Maryland.


ONI's position as the naval intelligence arm began in earnest when the United States declared war on Spain in 1898 in response to the sinking of the U.S. battleship Maine in the harbor of Spanish-controlled Havana, Cuba. ONI's powers grew as it became responsible for the "protection of Navy Personnel, censorship and the ferreting out of spies and saboteurs."

In 1929, the Chief of Naval Operations made these functions the permanent duties of ONI. As Japan's military endeavors in Russia and China in the 1930s proved increasingly successful, the ONI began conducting domestic surveillance on Japanese Americans in Hawaii and the West Coast. By 1939, Naval Intelligence was working with the FBI and the Military Intelligence Division to monitor potential fifth column activity among Japanese immigrants and, to a lesser degree, their American-born children.

During World War II, Naval Intelligence became responsible for the translation, evaluation and dissemination of intercepted Japanese communications, in addition to counter-intelligence directed at Japanese Americans in and out of camp—and its budget and staff grew significantly. While other parts of the Navy were downsized after the war, Fleet Admiral Nimitz ensured ONI's continued strength, which was to prove important during the Cold War.