Our ability to successfully intervene in disease processes is dependent on definitive diagnosis. In the case of autoimmune disease, this is particularly challenging because progression of disease is lengthy and multifactorial. Here we show the first chronological compendium of transcriptional and cellular signatures of diabetes in the non-obese diabetic mouse. Our data relates the immunological environment of the islets of Langerhans with the transcriptional profile at discrete times. Based on these data, we have parsed diabetes into several discrete phases. First, there is a type I interferon signature that precedes T cell activation. Second, there is synchronous infiltration of all immunological cellular subsets and a period of control. Finally, there is the killing phase of the diabetogenic process that is correlated with an NF-kB signature. Our data provides a framework for future examination of autoimmune diabetes and its disease progression markers.