NIMA, NSA increasing collaboration


Information sharing and collaboration among the main "eyes and ears" of the Defense Department's intelligence community are on the rise, according to the director of one of those agencies.

The efforts are part of the "all-source intelligence" vision that the defense and intelligence communities are seeking to achieve, according to retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James Clapper Jr., director of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency. He said that NIMA personnel have recently dramatically increased their presence at National Security Agency headquarters in Fort Meade, Md.

NIMA is responsible for providing geospatial intelligence, including satellite imagery, in support of national security. NSA coordinates and performs specialized activities to protect U.S. information systems and to produce foreign intelligence information using signals intelligence, including intercepting communications, code-breaking and code-making.

Speaking Jan. 29 at AFCEA International's NIMA Industry Day in Washington, D.C., Clapper said he would like to see even more collaboration between the two agencies, either physically or virtually, in the future. He added that the agencies share the challenge of maintaining their daily missions while also transforming, which has helped streamline the collaboration effort.

"There's huge potential for the convergence of imagery, geospatial and signals intelligence," and for collaboration between NIMA and NSA, Clapper said.

Teri Dempsey, NIMA's chief geospatial intelligence standards officer, agreed and said that NIMA has been engaged in ongoing discussions with NSA about incorporating geospatial intelligence with its signals intelligence capabilities.

From an enterprise architecture perspective, the agencies are working on data and systems integration so that NIMA personnel stationed at NSA headquarters can query their home databases and vice versa, said Dempsey, who also is NIMA's chief enterprise architect.

Increased collaboration and information sharing between NSA and NIMA will also better serve the CIA, the U.S. government's all-source intelligence analyst, Clapper said.


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