Washington, April 24 - The US is planning to expand its intelligence operations against high-priority targets such as Iran as part of a new initiative, a media report said.
The newly created Defence Clandestine Service will work closely with the Central Intelligence Agency - to expand espionage operations overseas, Xinhua quoted the Washington Post as saying.
The plan was approved last week by Defence Secretary Leon Panetta, according to a defence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Monday.
The move is in response to a classified study completed last year that concluded that the military's espionage efforts needed to be more focused on major targets outside war zones.
The official declined to provide details on where such shifts might occur, but the nation's most pressing intelligence priorities in recent years have included counterterrorism, non-proliferation and ascendant powers.
The realignment is expected to affect several hundred military operatives who already work in spying assignments abroad, mostly as case officers for the Defence Intelligence Agency, which serves as the Pentagon's main source of human intelligence and analysis.