NGA transformation dependent on sensors, tech

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency will lean heavily on information technology to transform from its Cold War-era mapmaking mission to its new war-on-terrorism job of imagery analysis and delivery.

The newly named NGA will build a new IT infrastructure to support the Future Imagery Architecture, the Defense Department's fast, next-generation video and data system. The agency will use unmanned aerial vehicles, big model airplanes carrying cameras and sensors, to photograph objects up to one meter from the Earth. The vehicles will then quickly transmit the imagery to warfighters and analysts, said a retired Navy vice admiral and former top military IT official.

"The military always wanted to get intelligence to warfighters, analysts and policy-makers more quickly, but it seldom did that," said Jerry Tuttle, president and chief executive officer of JOT Enterprises LLC, a consulting firm in Fairfax, Va. "NGA's new use of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms and IT will get real-time, detailed imagery to them so they no longer miss enemy buildings previously photographed from 10 meters."

NGA's newly released mission statement and plan, "Corporate Transformation Business Plan: Transformation is Everyone's Responsibility," emphasizes the use of platforms and IT to speed the gathering, processing, analyzing and delivering of imagery in eight categories.

They are:

Geospatial intelligence: Using software to provide detailed digital maps by overlaying information from several intelligence sources.

Information access and services: Gathering, processing and analyzing imagery using a common architecture, networking hardware and bandwidth.

Workforce: Hiring and training knowledgeable imagery intelligence analysts.

Workplace: Constructing secure buildings and buying easy-to-use IT.

Resource management: Implementing fiscal investment strategies.

Functional management: Following best business practices.

Operational readiness: Carrying out the responsibilities of the agency.

Advancing capabilities: Providing products for customers instead of the agency.

NGA's director said the United States' threat assessments demand an information revolution at the agency.

"We are no longer facing known threats with known capabilities and forces," said NGA Director James Clapper Jr. in the NGA transformation plan. "These factors make it very difficult to plan against the threats posed by our enemies. They also multiply the challenges the agency faces in providing our customers the information and knowledge they demand — in a timely manner and in a ready-to-use format."


  • Congress
    U.S. Capitol (Photo by M DOGAN / Shutterstock)

    Funding bill clears Congress, heads for president's desk

    The $1.3 trillion spending package passed the House of Representatives on March 22 and the Senate in the early hours of March 23. President Trump is expected to sign the bill, securing government funding for the remainder of fiscal year 2018.

  • 2018 Fed 100

    The 2018 Federal 100

    This year's Fed 100 winners show just how much committed and talented individuals can accomplish in federal IT. Read their profiles to learn more!

  • Census
    How tech can save money for 2020 census

    Trump campaign taps census question as a fund-raising tool

    A fundraising email for the Trump-Pence reelection campaign is trying to get supporters behind a controversial change to the census -- asking respondents whether or not they are U.S. citizens.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.