NIMA spells out agency vision

The National Imagery and Mapping Agency this week publicly released a capstone document that lays out the agency's vision for the future based on the concept of integrating its imagery, imagery intelligence and geospatial information capabilities in a digital environment.

Geospatial intelligence—defined as "the exploitation and analysis of imagery and geospatial information to describe, assess and visually depict physical features and geographically referenced activities on Earth"—provides a link between NIMA's national strategy and the everyday work of its employees, said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James Clapper Jr., NIMA's director.

NIMA's work requirements have skyrocketed since Sept. 11, 2001, and the agency is increasingly relying on commercial satellite imagery providers so that it does not have to spend time building its own maps of Afghanistan and other locations when solid data is already available, Clapper said, speaking Jan. 29 at AFCEA International's NIMA Industry Day in Washington, D.C.

The capstone document, which Clapper signed last week, details the myriad defense, homeland security, disaster response and intelligence community collaboration missions and opportunities that are served by geospatial intelligence.

The document states that it "introduces the term geospatial intelligence to the lexicon of national security," but NIMA officials and others in the intelligence community have been using the term in discussions and presentations since early last year.

The more than 400 NIMA Industry Day attendees were the first people to have access to the document outside the agency, and about 10,000 more copies will be shipped worldwide to NIMA staff and customers within the next month, according to the official leading the project.

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