Three-letter envy

NIMA is no more. The National Imagery and Mapping Agency still exists, but with the signing of the Defense Authorization bill late last month, it changed its name to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA).

According to an agency press release, "The new name is the latest step in an ongoing transformation effort to ensure our nation's warfighters and senior policy-makers receive the best geospatial intelligence possible in support of national security."

How a new name is going to better support warfighters and policy- makers isn't exactly clear.

"The name NGA reflects the agency's [geospatial intelligence] support capability to its many and varied customers," the statement reads.

We think NIMA — er, NGA — was suffering from three-letter envy and wanted to join the holy intelligence triumvirate of the CIA, the FBI and NSA.

Segway: A modern-day chariot?

The Segway Human Transporter may not become the modern-day chariot, as some people envisioned, but various organizations are still exploring its potential. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, for example, wants to use the two-wheeled scooter as a platform for software for future battlefield robots that will interact and work with warfighters.

But maybe the Segway chariot is not a bad idea. After all, Iraqi insurgents used a mule-drawn carriage to fire rockets at the coalition headquarters in Baghdad.

Celebrating Cebrowski

Retired Vice Adm. Arthur Cebrowski, director of force transformation in the Defense Department, was named to the 2003 Scientific American 50 list last month. The list includes some of the top technological and scientific leaders, including the likes of Steve Jobs, co-founder and chief executive officer of Apple Computer Inc.

The honor is a significant one for Cebrowski, who has been preaching the gospel of transformation and innovation at DOD for years, long before those terms were in vogue.

Cebrowski didn't let the accolades go to his head. Last week, speaking at the IFPA-Fletcher conference on military transformation in Washington, D.C., he went about his business, calling for expansion in nonlethal weapons, energy-directed weapons, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

Air Force stocking stuffer

Looking for a Christmas present for your favorite flyboy or flygirl? How about the new Air Force version of Monopoly?

The board game hit base exchange shelves Dec. 1. You win by assembling forces that deploy and defeat the enemy.

Air Force Monopoly uses air expeditionary squadrons and wings instead of green houses and red hotels. And players navigate the board with an air traffic control tower, a satellite, an unmanned aerial vehicle, a C-17 Globemaster III transport plane, a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber and an F/A-22 Raptor aircraft instead of the car, cowboy, dog, thimble, top hat and wheelbarrow game pieces used in traditional Monopoly.

Leave it to the Air Force to promote the controversial F-22 with a board game. Why not include the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, too? But that might make the game box too heavy for the shelves at the exchange.

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