Threats to the United States from across the world are more frequent and persistent, from nation-state actors to terrorists to rogue players. As a result, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, a combat support agency that provides key imagery, intelligence and geospatial information to the Defense Department and to the intelligence community, has had to change some aspects of its tradecraft, says Susan Kalweit, director of analysis at the agency known as the NGA.
Commercial satellite companies are giving rise to a new space revolution, launching hundreds of small satellites into orbit to do what the U.S. military cannot or at least will not do: photograph practically every inch of the Earth every day. The result is an explosion of geo-enabled unclassified information that has turned the imagery-based discipline of geointelligence on its head.
This change could even produce a new breed of intelligence analyst that exploits imagery and geospatial data from the unprecedented fount of unclassified information.
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) now delivers unclassified geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) to verified government users via an application for tablets and mobile devices. Tearline, available though the Apple App Store and Google Play, is open to the intelligence community, U.S. Defense Department, allies, and academic and private sector partners sponsored into the system.
NGA’s GEOINT Pathfinder project developed the app. The shell is delivered from the app stores, but from that point, users need credentials to access secure servers.
While operating at sea, even the most technologically advanced U.S. Navy vessels sometimes fail to deliver on-demand geospatial intelligence services that anyone with a smartphone on land readily can access. To help bridge intelligence gaps, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has teamed with the service to augment geospatial capabilities at sea.
Keeping the Navy from drifting into a sea of woes is not helped by the continuing fiscal constraints that hamper Defense Department modernization, even as the economy rebounds from a defeating recession.
Commercial data and tools are defining the future of geospatial intelligence for the agency tasked with providing it across a growing community. From new private-sector satellites to unclassified information extracted from open sources and social media, the ways of collecting, processing and disseminating geospatial intelligence are changing.
The Defense Department’s much-anticipated capability solution to access classified voice and email up to the secret level from mobile devices finally migrated from the pilot stage and now is operational within the department and several federal agencies, says Kimberly Rice, program manger for the Defense Information Systems Agency’s (DISA's) Mobility Program Management Office.
Geospatial intelligence is moving into the fourth dimension as temporal factors weigh heavily in future capabilities. The agency tasked with generating geospatial intelligence will be relying significantly on new commercial satellites that will increase the richness of the intelligence it provides its customers.
This development cannot come at a more opportune moment. Geospatial intelligence increasingly is being called on to support nontraditional missions in new and unusual areas of focus. Even its traditional support of conventional geopolitical and military activities is being extended to include new adversaries in new hot spots around the globe.
The leaders of the U.S. intelligence community stated that the Snowden and Manning revelations of U.S. intelligence collection activities have done serious harm to U.S. national security in several ways. Three agency directors and one acting director stated that the ability to view the threat picture has been hamstrung as it is changing to an increasing degree.
U.S. intelligence agencies gave administration officials good advance information on Ukraine and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) activities before the crises unfolded, according to leaders of the agencies. Yet, inherent limitations prevented them from being able to measure transitional events.
PTFS was recently awarded a five-year, multi-million dollar contract from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) GEOINT Research Center (GRC) for a program called ILS Next. ILS Next replaces NGA’s legacy Voyager library management system which has been in operation for more than a decade. PTFS is supplying its commercial-off-the-shelf ArchivalWare Digital Library System (DLS). PTFS will help replace the legacy Voyager bibliographic cataloging system with ArchivalWare DLS. The system enables ingest, cataloging, storage, discovery, conversion, repurposing, collection, and assessment of geospatial and other multi-intelligence content on all three NGA network domains.
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) reissued contract HM0176-11-C-0002, for administrative reasons, and exercised option year 2011 simultaneously under reissued contract HM0176-13-C-N002 to NJVC LLC, Chantilly, Va. The Information Technology/Information Services (IT/IS) contract provides the NGA IT Enterprise Operations and Sustainment (O&S) support to NGA IT systems at approximately 170 sites (90 manned/80 unmanned) around the world. The award consists of cost-plus-award-fee (CPAF) and firm-fixed-price (FFP) support. The total CPAF value is $379,945,641; the FFP value is $11,632,110. The period of performance for option year 2011 is Jan. 1, 2013 to Dec. 31, 2013.
GeoEye Incorporated, Herndon, Virginia, a leading source of geospatial information and insight, announced the receipt of a $111 million cost-share payment from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). In early June, the company successfully passed a major milestone in their GeoEye-2 satellite's development as part of the NGA's EnhancedView program, triggering this cost-share payment. When operational in 2013, GeoEye-2 will collect at 34-centimeter resolution imagery and will provide cost-effective, shareable imagery for the U.S. government and other customers.
Letitia A. Long has been named director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Bethesda, Maryland.
Yesterday's blog coverage was just too short to include the depth of advice the experts at the Small Business Intelligence Forum shared, so here are a few more ideas: -Savvy SIGNAL Scape reader Ross Andrews, ARC Program Manager, Contractor - BVTI, beat this reporter to the punch on a very important item that should be on every small company's list if it wants to do business with the intelligence community: register with the Acquisition Resource Center. See his full comment at http://bit.ly/bXmzFM.
It's sometimes difficult to figure out what's the bigger secret - intelligence or the acquisition processes of the organizations that gather it. CIA, NSA, DIA plus 13 more agencies are collectively known as the intelligence community (IC), but that's where most of the similarity ends when it comes to these information hunters and gathers when it comes to purchasing goods, services or "carbon units." One fact is absolutely true and as open source as is possible: small businesses have advocates in IC agencies that fight tooth and nail in their interest. Some of these experts presented valuable secrets as well as common sense about how to capture the IC's business at the AFCEA International Small Business Intelligence Forum.