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NGA: Redefining the power of geoint

<< With an aim to take geoint to the next level, NGA, one of the prominent intelligence agencies of the US, releases its strategy for the next five years >>

In an era of fiscal austerity and against a backdrop of increasingly complex challenges, NGA (National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency) must anticipate tomorrow’s threats to position itself for the future. With this message, Letitia A. Long, Director, NGA, set the tone for the future course of action of the agency in its recently released ‘NGA strategy 2013-2017’.

Identifying geoint (geospatial intelligence) as an important component of intelligence, the strategy lays down the strategic goals and objectives of NGA which will guide it to fulfil its vision of ‘Putting the power of geoint in your hands.’ The document is flexible by design and takes into account the agency’s need to be agile in supporting multiple mission areas including support to military and intelligence operations, intelligence analysis, homeland defence, and humanitarian and disaster relief. “We must ensure geoint’s contribution is integrated into the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) sponsored Unified Intelligence Strategies (UIS), and that geoint matures as a key factor in achieving ‘intelligence integration,’ a key DNI objective for the intelligence community,” said Long in the opening letter of the strategy.

Stressing on the rapid technological changes taking place in the world today, the agency states, “As our adversaries adopt new denial and deception techniques, NGA must use innovative sources, tools, techniques and processes to maintain our strategic advantage.” It wants to ‘take geoint to the next level’ and hopes that the strategy will enable its ‘transition from a product producer to a content and services provider.’

Following are the goals and the seven strategic objectives outlined by the agency:

Strategic goals
>> Provide online, on-demand access to geoint knowledge

>> Broaden and deepen analytic expertise to produce new value

Strategic objectives
>> Content: The idea is to empower the geoint community, through greatly improved access, to varied content and applications, easy-to-use online services in all security domains and the ability to contribute content to the global geoint knowledge base. It hopes to achieve this objective by creating and making easily accessible and usable geoint content that addresses key intelligence questions and anticipates the entire range of its consumers’ needs. It will also develop and implement standards for geoint content creation, sharing and storage.

>> Open IT environment: The objective is to develop a stable, mission-driven and open IT environment that meets industry standards and allows users to create and consume geoint content anytime on the device of their choice. For this, NGA will deliver a robust, safe, secure and agile data framework and interfaces that foster community sharing of data and application development. It will also leverage and rapidly deploy interoperable collection, processing and exploitation capabilities in multiple security domains.

>> Analytic capabilities: NGA will provide a range of new anticipatory analytic products and services to its customers. For this, the agency will develop new analytic techniques, leverage new technologies and integrate advanced geospatial sensor data to enable more sophisticated analytic products and services. It will also develop agile learning solutions and analyst qualification and certification standards to enhance the overall standing and expertise of the workforce.

>> Customer Service: The aim is to ensure the geoint content is integrated, managed and exposed to all geoint users in all domains using self, assisted, and full-service delivery models. For this, the agency will lead the identification of new and emerging geoint capabilities for content, products and services in anticipation of future intelligence and operational geoint needs. Further, it will deliver a three-tiered service model supported by online, ondemand technology and analytic experts to ensure customised and responsive access to geoint content.

>> Workforce: To meet the challenge of current missions and maintain the flexibility to adapt and change to meet future mission needs, NGA will attract, motivate and retain a highly skilled, innovative, and adaptive workforce. It also intends to establish career roadmaps and professional development programmes that ensure the following: define the steps for success, provide opportunities to gain perspective on the full range of NGA activities, and measure performance based on a holistic assessment process.

>> Corporate and functional management: NGA wants to function more efficiently through real-time transparent insight into expenditures and agility in managing its programme, budget and personnel. It hopes to achieve this objective by strengthening its corporate functions through an efficient and consistent set of streamlined business processes, lead advancement in the geoint field and transition research and development and science and technology activities to operations, and improve performance through development and use of metrics.

>> Workplace: NGA wants to be a leader in the federal government by establishing secure, safe, sustainable, collaborative and environmentally friendly sites that are in compliance with all federal, state and local laws, regulations and standards.