NIMA plans massive outsourcing project
- By Dan Verton
- Apr 26, 2000
The Defense Department's National Imagery and Mapping Agency plans to pump
at least $850 million into a massive outsourcing initiative, according to
the agency's top officer.
NIMA director Army Lt. Gen. James King said the agency has outlined for
Congress a plan for future battlefield visualization programs that includes
an estimated $1 billion in requirements, 85 percent of which will be attained
through outsourced contracts with private firms.
The move is part of a fundamental change in the way NIMA does business,
according to King, who spoke Monday at the second annual Symposium on Information
Assurance and Battlefield Visualization, sponsored by the Association of
the U.S. Army and the Association of Old Crows.
"NIMA wants to be an information provider," King said. "It's more than just
a map. [It's] being able to digitize the Earth's natural and man-made features."
NIMA, which provides digital maps and imagery support to the military and
intelligence community, grew out of the merger between the Defense Mapping
Agency, the Central Imagery Office, the National Photographic Interpretation
Center and the imagery support offices within the CIA, the Defense Intelligence
Agency and the National Reconnaissance Office. Since its inception in 1996,
NIMA has increased outsourcing by 106 percent, according to King. "Progress
is here," he said. "This isn't a snivel drill."
Most of the upcoming outsourcing contracts will deal with production of
the agency's Digital Terrain Elevation Data modeling products, King said.
DTED is a uniform data standard used in the production of maps and imagery.
NIMA most recently produced a 3-D "fly through" of Albania for mission rehearsal
and planning prior to the military deploying to Kosovo as part of the international
The agency also has started development with the CIA on a prototype 3-D
urban dataset that promises a fully functional, 3-D, real-time, interactive
virtual urban environment database that the military would use in mission
planning and rehearsal.
"The databases matter," King said. "NIMA is moving out of hard-copy production."