5

Current and Anticipated Gaps in Expertise

Chapters 2 and 3 described the knowledge and skills required for a position in a core and emerging area, and Chapter 4 provided estimates of the number of experts (new graduates and experienced workers) in these areas. This chapter compares these results with information on the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s (NGA’s) needs to identify gaps in the current or future availability of geospatial intelligence expertise (the committee’s Task 2). The committee examined gaps in domain knowledge and skills and where to find them. NGA’s current needs were estimated from information provided by the agency (see Box 1.3) or available on its website. In particular, the job listings1 and occupation descriptions for scientists and analysts (Appendix B) provide a measure of the knowledge and skills the agency is currently seeking, and the schools where NGA recruits potential employees indicate where the agency is looking for this knowledge and skills. The curriculum of the NGA College was assumed to reflect not only what topics are currently important to the agency, but also what knowledge and skills are hard to find in new employees.

Estimating NGA’s needs over the next 20 years is more difficult, in part because trends in hiring may have changed. Moreover, ongoing scientific and technological advances and evolving needs for geospatial intelligence continually change the skill sets needed. In addition, the bimodal age distribution of NGA’s scientists and analysts (Box 5.1) means that junior staff likely have different skills and analysis workflows than those nearing retirement. As these staff move into leadership positions, the agency culture will change, possibly attracting new recruits or accelerating the departure of some staff (see Wilkins and Ouchi, 1983; Carley, 2000; and Cameron and Quinn, 2006, for a discussion of changing organizational cultures). The cultural shift will also change what technologies are used and what skills are sought. Finally, the beginning of the age of big data (Manyika et al., 2011) and ubiquitous geospatial information are driving rapid growth in the geospatial industry as well as creating more competition for graduates with geospatial knowledge and skills (e.g., Gewin, 2004; DiBiase et al., 2006; Solem et al., 2008). The impacts of these changes are difficult to forecast, so the committee estimated NGA’s future needs based on the age distribution of NGA’s current geospatial intelligence workforce and the assumption that future hiring would focus on the core and emerging areas.

DOMAIN KNOWLEDGE

The Chapter 4 education and labor analysis yielded estimates of the number of new graduates with education in the core and emerging areas, as well as estimates of the number of experienced workers in closely related occupations. NGA generally hires several hundred people from these two sources each year. Below we compare the education and labor estimates with NGA’s needs for domain knowledge in the core and emerging areas over the next few decades.

__________________

1 See <https://www1.nga.mil/CAREERS/CAREEROPP/Pages/default.aspx>.



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5 Current and Anticipated Gaps in Expertise C hapters 2 and 3 described the knowledge and nearing retirement. As these staff move into leader­ skills required for a position in a core and ship positions, the agency culture will change, possibly emerging area, and Chapter 4 provided esti- attracting new recruits or accelerating the departure mates of the number of experts (new graduates and of some staff (see Wilkins and Ouchi, 1983; Carley, experienced workers) in these areas. This chapter com- 2000; and Cameron and Quinn, 2006, for a discus- pares these results with information on the National sion of changing organizational cultures). The cultural Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s (NGA’s) needs to shift will also change what technologies are used and identify gaps in the current or future availability of geo- what skills are sought. Finally, the beginning of the spatial intelligence expertise (the committee’s Task 2). age of big data (Manyika et al., 2011) and ­ biquitous u The committee examined gaps in domain knowledge geospatial information are driving rapid growth in the and skills and where to find them. NGA’s current geospatial industry as well as creating more competition needs were estimated from information provided by for graduates with geospatial knowledge and skills (e.g., the agency (see Box 1.3) or available on its website. In Gewin, 2004; DiBiase et al., 2006; Solem et al., 2008). particular, the job listings1 and occupation descriptions The impacts of these changes are difficult to forecast, for scientists and analysts (Appendix B) provide a mea- so the committee estimated NGA’s future needs based sure of the knowledge and skills the agency is currently on the age distribution of NGA’s current geospatial seeking, and the schools where NGA recruits potential intelligence workforce and the ­ ssumption that future a employees indicate where the agency is looking for this hiring would focus on the core and emerging areas. knowledge and skills. The curriculum of the NGA College was assumed to reflect not only what topics DOMAIN KNOWLEDGE are currently important to the agency, but also what knowledge and skills are hard to find in new employees. The Chapter 4 education and labor analysis yielded Estimating NGA’s needs over the next 20 years estimates of the number of new graduates with educa- is more difficult, in part because trends in hiring may tion in the core and emerging areas, as well as estimates have changed. Moreover, ongoing scientific and tech- of the number of experienced workers in closely related nological advances and evolving needs for geo­patial s occupations. NGA generally hires several hundred intelligence continually change the skill sets needed. In people from these two sources each year. Below we addition, the bimodal age distribution of NGA’s scien- compare the education and labor estimates with NGA’s tists and analysts (Box 5.1) means that junior staff likely needs for domain knowledge in the core and emerging have different skills and analysis workflows than those areas over the next few decades. 1 See . 67

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68 FUTURE U.S. WORKFORCE FOR GEOSPATIAL INTELLIGENCE ates is likely on the order of hundreds to thousands BOX 5.1 (Table 4.1). The supply of experienced workers in the Age Distribution of NGA most closely related occupation (physical scientists, all Scientists and Analysts others) is 24,690 (Table D.2, Appendix D). Although The success of recruitment during the years following the the supply exceeds the number of NGA positions, the September 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., NGA College places heavy emphasis on remote sens- led to a bimodal age distribution of NGA scientists and analysts. ing (Box 5.2), suggesting that extensive on-the-job Compared to other federal agencies, NGA has a relatively young training is already necessary for remote sensing and workforce, with only a small fraction of scientists and analysts over imagery analysis positions. 60 years old. If current staff retire at age 65, the first major round of Compared to GIS and remote sensing, a relatively retirements will begin by the end of the decade. ________ small number of NGA positions require specialized SOURCE: NGA. knowledge in cartography, geodesy and geophysics, or photogrammetry. A bachelor’s degree in cartography or at least 30 semester hours of cartography coursework is required for NGA analyst positions in cartography and photogrammetry (Table B.1, Appendix B). Only Core Areas 155 U.S. citizens or permanent residents obtained a More than half of geospatial intelligence analyst degree in cartography in 2009 (Tables C.6 and C.10, positions at NGA specify degrees or coursework in Appendix C), but there is a large supply of cartography Geographic Information Systems (GIS), geospatial and photogrammetry professionals (11,670), working analysis, geography, or geographic information science mainly in the private sector (Table D.2, Appendix D). (Table B.1, Appendix B). Approximately 189 universi- The NGA College offers minimal training in car­ ties offer relevant degrees, and hundreds of community tography (Box 5.2), suggesting that NGA is currently colleges offer relevant courses (Table A.5, Appendix A). able to find enough qualified candidates. However, the In 2009, 5,404 U.S. citizens and permanent residents agency is likely to face a shortage (i.e., numbers are received a degree in geography, the instructional pro- too small to give NGA choices or means of meeting gram that produces the bulk of expertise in GIS and sudden demand) in the near future. Employer surveys geospatial analysis (Table C.10, Appendix C). The have identified cartographers as among the most dif- number of geography graduates far exceeds the number ficult positions to fill (Mondello et al., 2004, 2008; of geography jobs nationwide (1,300 jobs in 2010; see Solem et al., 2008). Moreover, cartography appears to Table D.2, Appendix D) and the field is growing, sug- be losing its identity as an academic discipline. Fewer gesting that the supply of geographers will be sufficient colleges and universities offer degrees or certificates in for NGA’s needs over the next 20 years. On the other cartography, and more students are choosing instead hand, GIS applications analysts are in high demand by to pursue a specialization in geographic information the private sector, with qualified candidates difficult to science, remote sensing, or spatial analysis (see Chap- find (Mondello et al., 2004, 2008; Solem et al., 2008). ter 2). Given that the NGA College offers reasonably com- The situation is worse for photogrammetry, prehensive coursework in GIS operations (Box 5.2), it which has nearly disappeared as a field of study in is possible that competition from private companies is academia. Only 15 universities offer photogrammetry already making it difficult to find qualified experts in classes (Table A.2, Appendix A), and only 26 U.S. GIS applications and techniques. citizens or permanent residents obtained a degree in Expertise in remote sensing is also important a closely related field (surveying engineering) in 2009 to NGA: remote sensing appears in the education (Table C.10, Appendix C). A degree in photogram- requirements for nearly half of NGA scientist and metry is not required for any NGA position, but analyst occupations (Table B.1, Appendix B), and a coursework in photogrammetry is identified as useful few thousand NGA scientists and analysts work on for several occu­ ations, including those related to p imagery analysis. The supply of remote sensing gradu- photogrammetry, cartography, geodesy, and data col-

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CURRENT AND ANTICIPATED GAPS IN EXPERTISE 69 BOX 5.2 NGA College The NGA College is an accredited institution housed within NGA that offers approximately 170 courses in geospatial intelligence, leadership, and professional development to government civilians, members of the military, and contractors to NGA and other U.S. defense and intelligence agencies. a The specific training required for new employees depends on the requirements of the position, along with the skills, education, and experience of the individual.b Classes are taught by government employees and contractorsc and typically last between 1 and 5 days. The longest class, basic geographic intelligence, runs about 7 months. About 15,000 students receive training in the college each year. Nearly 40 percent of the classes offered at the college are related to remote sensing and offer a reasonably comprehensive suite of classes in data collection strategies, image processing, and major remote sensing systems, including infrared, multispectral/hyperspectral, radar/polarimetry, and motion imagery. The treatment of GIS operations using commercial products is also reasonably complete, but there is little coursework in geospatial analysis, such as spatial data analysis, spatial statistical analysis, or spatial optimization. None of the courses focus on geospatial data visualization and information design, even though NGA cartographers and other analysts work with graphics, imagery, movies, and maps. Classes relevant to other core areas are sparse and introductory in nature. For example, no geophysics classes are offered. A few courses teach basic geodesy concepts; none deal with more advanced concepts, such as platform navigation, charting, Global Navigation Satellite Systems such as the Global Positioning System, or mathematics or statistics. Similarly, the only class offered in photogrammetry is taught at the introductory level, although some photogrammetric concepts, theory, procedures, exploitation techniques, and product quality issues are taught in the remote sensing courses. Not surprisingly, the emerging areas are poorly covered in the current NGA College curriculum. For example, a few courses touch on methods to visually overlay disparate data, but none cover broader GEOINT fusion concepts such as ontology, the semantic web, schema integration, map conflation, or statistical methods of combining different types of evidence. Similarly, a few courses offer basic information useful to visual analytics (e.g., Google Earth and related applications) and to intelligence forecasting or scenario forecasting. Although two courses mention network analysis, the subtopics of strong relevance to NGA (dynamic network analysis and geospatial network analysis) are not covered. No courses discuss the use and limitations of crowdsourcing for creating maps and gathering data, although some of the relevant technologies (e.g., Google Earth, text mining) are covered. ________ a See . b See . c Presentation to the committee by Mark Pahls, Chief of Learning Integration, NGA College, on May 23, 2011. lection, as well as to principal and project scientists and principal and project scientist positions. In 2009, (Table B.1, Appendix B). The NGA College offers 138 U.S. citizens and permanent residents received a only one introductory course in photogrammetry (Box degree in geophysics and seismology, and 26 received 5.2), suggesting that qualified candidates are currently a degree in surveying engineering (Table C.10, Ap- available. Much of the stock of trained photogram- pendix C), the instructional programs that produce metry professionals resides in private companies, the most geophysicists and geodesists. Much larger including contractors to NGA. There were more than numbers of experts were employed in 2010, including 7,000 jobs in car­ography and photogrammetry in t more than 30,000 geoscientists and more than 50,000 the private sector in 2010 (Table D.2, Appendix D). surveying and mapping technicians (Table D.2, Ap- Although this source of experts may be sufficient for pendix D), the most closely related occupations. This NGA’s needs in the short run, the lack of rigorous supply is large relative to NGA’s current needs. How- university training in photogrammetry will eventually ever, the supply of graduates is small (on the order yield a shortage of photogrammetrists qualified for a of hundreds) and only about one-third of these have position at NGA. advanced degrees and specialized training in geodesy. Geodesy-related positions at NGA require a The small number of geodesy graduates, coupled with b ­ achelor’s degree in geodesy, mathematics, physical federal agency concerns about a growing deficit of science, or a related discipline (Table B.1, Appen- highly skilled geodesists (NRC, 2010c), suggests that dix B). NGA has no specific positions in geophysics NGA may soon have to hire and train professionals (or courses at the NGA College; Box 5.2), although from other disciplines. Indeed, the few geodesy-related coursework or experience in geophysics is identified courses at the NGA College appear to be geared toward as useful for cartography, geodesy, photogrammetry, analysts trained in other disciplines.

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70 FUTURE U.S. WORKFORCE FOR GEOSPATIAL INTELLIGENCE Emerging Areas BOX 5.3 NGA currently has no science or analyst positions Interdisciplinary Approaches in the emerging areas, although some of the knowledge relevant to human geography is needed for NGA analyst A common critique of disciplinary science is that it leads practitioners to look inward and to create numerous subspecialties positions in political geography, regional geography, in what scholars have called the fragmentation of disciplinarity regional source, and scientific linguistics. Consequently, (Strober, 2006) or stovepiping. Countering this tendency is the more any gaps in the supply of expertise in the emerging areas recent recognition that scientific breakthroughs often happen at the relative to NGA’s needs will occur in the future. It is edges and intersections of disciplines and specialties (Kates, 1987). likely that NGA’s need for expertise in the emerging These intersections occur at a range of scales. Multidisciplinary areas will grow over time. The increasing availability approaches involve people with different skill and knowledge sets working together, such as a geodesist working with a cartographer of geospatial data and technology are allowing NGA as part of a geospatial intelligence team, and they require an infra­ to tackle increasingly complex intelligence problems, structure for information sharing, such as a control room or social which commonly require interdisciplinary approaches network. Interdisciplinary approaches require people to train across (Box 5.3), such as those embodied in the emerging areas. multiple fields (e.g., astrobiology). People with interdisciplinary By their nature, training in the emerging areas is skills may act as catalysts to problem solving, particularly when no provided through individual courses often scattered approach seems suitable within an existing discipline (e.g., Omenn, 2006). Finally, transdisciplinary research problems are too large and among different university departments. Each program complex to solve by any one discipline (Jantsch, 1972). Examples has a unique set of collaborating departments and of transdisciplinary projects include climate change research, map­ approach for dealing with the topics, which creates ping the human genome, and testing the laws of physics using the difficulties for finding expertise. For example, differ- Large Hadron Collider. ent departments tend to explore different aspects of Few universities have succeeded in training interdisciplin­ f ­usion, leading to multiple (and sometimes inconsis- ary students because college and departmental structures often discourage the approach, and only a handful have mastered multi­ tent) vocabularies and conceptualizations. Much of disciplinary approaches. Once created, interdisciplinary programs the technology development for human geography are hard to maintain because peer-review processes are commonly takes place in computer science, electrical engineering, organized along traditional discipline lines. Most interdisciplinary and physics departments without reference to the large training takes place at the graduate level. However, undergraduate body of theoretical and empirical work in geographic students can achieve these goals by choosing double majors; mul­ and social science departments, leading to an increas- tiple minors; and interdisciplinary, self-guided, and mixed-mode majors. For example, many students study abroad, create intern­ ing divergence between theory and methods. The lack ships, do voluntary work, and seek out accreditation and certificate of standard curricula, established journals, and even a programs. Such combinations may eventually outnumber more common language means that graduates from different traditional majors. programs will have different knowledge and skills. The other major gap associated with the emerging areas is the number of graduates. Fewer than a dozen universities offer specialized training in any emerging SKILLS area except forecasting, and only a few universities offer a comprehensive degree program (Chapter 3). Anec- The distinction between knowledge and skills is dotal evidence suggests that many of these graduates not always clear, especially for the geospatial field, are finding jobs quickly,2 so competition, combined which can be viewed as a discipline, a collection of with a small supply (tens to hundreds in most emerg- tools, or a profession (DiBiase et al., 2006, 2010). In ing areas; see Table 4.1), could lead to shortages in the 2010, the Department of Labor’s Employment and future availability of expertise in the emerging areas. Training Administration issued a geospatial technology 2 The emerging areas can be considered data science jobs— competency model to define the scope of disciplines those requiring expertise in multiple technical disciplines, such as and the training and credentials required to work in the computer science, analytics, math, modeling, and statistics. Such geospatial technology industry. The model lays out tiers jobs are expected to see a shortage of 190,000 data scientists by of competencies, or capabilities for using sets of knowl- 2018 (Bertolucci, 2012).

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CURRENT AND ANTICIPATED GAPS IN EXPERTISE 71 edge, skills, and abilities to successfully perform specific methods, geospatial data) needed by many geospatial tasks (Figure 5.1). Tiers 1–3 describe general workplace professionals in their careers. Tier 5 specifies clusters behaviors and knowledge needed in most industries, of subject and background knowledge needed for each including personal attributes learned at home (e.g., of three industry sectors: positioning and geospatial interpersonal skills, integrity), knowledge and skills data acquisition; analysis and modeling; and software learned in academic settings (e.g., geography, com- and application development. Above these tiers are munication, basic computer skills), and skills honed in competencies required for specific occupations (e.g., the workplace (e.g., teamwork, creative thinking). Tier cartographers and photogrammetrists) and managers. 4 describes subjects (e.g., remote sensing, GIS, pro- NGA occupation descriptions specify a set of core gramming) and background knowledge (e.g., analytical competencies for all science and analyst positions as FIGURE 5.1 Geospatial technology competency model. SOURCE: Department of Labor, .

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72 FUTURE U.S. WORKFORCE FOR GEOSPATIAL INTELLIGENCE well as the skills required for each type of position. creasing demands of teamwork and of multi­disciplinary The core competencies and skills span all levels of the and interdisciplinary analytical tasks are placing in- geospatial technology competency model, although the creasing importance on a broader set of skills. core competencies stress interpersonal skills, communi- If there were such a thing as an ideal geospatial cation, and creative thinking and adaptability, whereas intelligence analyst, he or she would be well versed the position-related skills stress working with custom- and expert at spatial thinking; have considerable inter- ers and gathering, analyzing, and disseminating infor- disciplinary training; be well traveled and knowledge- mation. The most common skills among NGA science able of world cultures (and able to use tools such as and analysis positions are illustrated in Figure 5.2. Google Earth for rapid virtual travel); have some core The NGA College offers several courses in inter- background in statistics, cartography (coordinates, personal skills, effective communication, and critical projections, scale), and computer science (program- thinking, suggesting that these core competencies are ming principles, operating systems); have a high degree in short supply. These skills are taught in some uni- of science literacy; read and write multiple languages; versity programs, and new ways of teaching may also and have a commitment to professional ethics. None of help fill the gap. For example, techniques such as role these skills are classified as core competencies of NGA playing, gaming, and self-assessment favor understand- scientists and analysts, and skills in statistics, ethics, ing and conceptual methods, rather than content and cultural analysis, and scientific methods are required memorization. only for certain NGA positions. Consequently, it is In the foreseeable future, new questions, as well likely that NGA scientists and analysts are missing as the data sets and tools needed to answer them, will skills that will be important for future work in the core continually arise. Dealing with these evolving ques- and emerging areas. tions and approaches requires a flexible workforce that University departments commonly teach some of is capable of thinking in breadth, rather than depth, these skills. Spatial literacy and spatial reasoning are through interdisciplinary training and teamwork. finding their way into undergraduate and graduate Historically, NGA employees acquired the necessary geography curricula nationwide (NRC, 2006). Spatial breadth of skills through an undergraduate education thinking is highly interdisciplinary, an extension of in a relevant discipline, internships or service, and/or e ­ fforts to bring methods from GIS and spatial analysis training through the NGA College. However, the in- into the social sciences and humanities. For example, FIGURE 5.2  Word cloud illustrating the 25 most common skills identified in job descriptions for NGA scientists and analysts in the five core areas. The most common topics are portrayed by the largest lettering, and an arbitrary color scheme is used to distinguish the various phrases. SOURCE: Generated using .

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CURRENT AND ANTICIPATED GAPS IN EXPERTISE 73 the Center for Spatially Integrated Social Science3 was cultural systems. However, the majority of GIS or social a 5-year National Science Foundation project designed science students lack adequate mathematical capabili- to expand the knowledge and use of GIS and spatial ties for geospatial forecasting, although the number of methods in the social sciences, including demography, social science students in programs that emphasize sociology, landscape architecture, and other disciplines. statistics, agent-based modeling, and social networks Computer programming skills are needed for is growing. Students in the physical, environmental, or many of the core and emerging areas. For exam- life sciences generally have better quantitative skills, but ple, dealing with big data in geospatial intelligence they lack the abilities to handle the diverse, uncertain, (­ EOINT) ­usion, forecasting, visual analytics, and G f and culturally and geographically dependent nature of human ­ eography requires skills in database man- g the human dimension. agement and construction for large data sets, natural Other quantitative methods useful to many of language processing and text mining for large text data the core and emerging areas include visualization and streams, social media mining, and streaming image or graphics design, modeling and simulation (usually left video processing. These skills are generally learned in for graduate school), and the analysis of geospatial computer science, information systems, or information data from social media. For example, the suite of soft- technology programs. Even when data volumes are ware commonly used by students has broadened from modest, computer programming skills are needed for standard statistical packages and GIS to include visual writing scripts to encode image analysis and process- analytics, semantic web, content analysis, and others. ing steps, implementing algorithms, understanding Standard, often commercial packages have rapidly methods such as tracking and optimization, and com- yielded to extendable “mashups” of open-source soft- municating effectively with programming staff. ware, although few university programs take advantage Other skills required for most of the core and of this rapid expansion in the type and nature of ana- emerging areas include statistics, network theory, and lytical tools. advanced mathematics. However, many geography Finally, students commonly lack capabilities in the departments, where the cartography and geographic qualitative methods (e.g., interviews, questionnaires, information science specializations are commonly textual content analysis, ethnographic assessment) that housed, no longer require calculus, statistics, or basic are often needed in addition to the quantitative ­methods programming, and they have never required network discussed above. Few programs teach these methods, theory. Students in geography do not naturally drift despite their importance to many research fields. toward coursework in these areas, and it is difficult to Overall, changes in university programs are mak- teach someone to map residuals, for example, when he ing some skills needed by NGA scientists and analysts or she does not understand means and variance, root- harder to find (e.g., cartographers with math and mean-square error, or even the difference between a programming skills) and others easier to find (e.g., standard deviation and an interquartile range. Engi- g ­ eographers with spatial thinking skills). The emer- neering and computer science students have some of gence of interdisciplinary areas such as ­ EOINT G this training (particularly in computer programming fusion, visual analytics, and human geography is and advanced mathematics), but they generally have beginning to yield graduates with skills from several few spatial skills. university departments (e.g., computer science and Similarly, advanced quantitative skills are required spatial skills). However, until these programs develop, for forecasting, which is based on analog (e.g., similar individuals with the ideal combination of skills for patterns), analytical (e.g., physical or mathematical), NGA are likely to remain in short supply. statistical (e.g., deterministic, stochastic), or compu- tational (e.g., numerical models, data-model assimila- RECRUITING tion) methods. Geospatial forecasting needs to connect components and interactions from physical, social, and NGA focuses recruiting on dozens of colleges and universities that are near major NGA facilities (i.e., 3 Springfield, Virginia; Saint Louis, Missouri) or that See .

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74 FUTURE U.S. WORKFORCE FOR GEOSPATIAL INTELLIGENCE have a large population of underrepresented groups in these fields provided by the NGA College. Although (e.g., historically black colleges and universities). the supply in both fields exceeds NGA’s needs, com- Few of these institutions have significant programs petition for GIS applications analysts is strong. By in core or emerging areas, although they likely meet definition, NGA has no current positions for experts in other agency goals, such as increasing diversity. About emerging areas, but as the agency tackles increasingly one-third of the schools and universities where NGA complex geospatial intelligence problems, demand for recruits are large state universities, and several of these the types of interdisciplinary approaches embodied by (e.g., George Mason University, Ohio State University, the emerging areas is likely to grow. Pennsylvania State University, University of California, In addition to domain knowledge and inter­ Santa Barbara) offer education and training in several disciplinary skills, NGA scientists and analysts need a core or emerging areas. Extending recruiting to some variety of personal, academic, and workplace skills. The of the example universities listed in this report (e.g., NGA College offers several courses in interpersonal Tables A.1–A.11, Appendix A) would help NGA skills, written and oral communication, and critical find individuals with knowledge and skills in core and thinking, suggesting that these skills are currently in emerging areas. short supply. In NGA’s future workforce, which is likely to be more interdisciplinary and focused on emerging SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS areas, the ideal skills will include spatial thinking, scien- tific and computer literacy, mathematics and statistics, The second task of the committee was to identify languages and world travel, and professional ethics. gaps in the current or future availability of expertise rel- These skills are not always taught in university pro- ative to NGA’s needs. The Chapter 4 analysis showed grams. Although spatial thinking is increasingly being that the number of new graduates with education in taught in undergraduate programs, math and computer core and emerging areas and the number of experi- skills remain a gap in many natural and social science enced workers in closely related occupations far exceeds programs, and spatial perspectives remain a gap in most NGA’s needs for expertise in all core and emerging ar- computer science and engineering programs. eas (generally several hundred people a year). However, Individuals with the knowledge and skills needed when other considerations are factored in—including for a geospatial intelligence position at NGA are avail- competition from other organizations and the exten- able, but NGA may not be looking for them in all the sive training provided by NGA in some areas—a more right places. Only about one-third of the universities nuanced picture emerges. Expertise in geophysics and and colleges where NGA currently focuses recruiting geospatial analysis is likely sufficient for NGA’s current have strong programs in core or emerging areas. The and future needs. NGA hires only a small fraction of academic institutions discussed in this report may the available experts and offers little or no training in provide a useful start for finding programs in core and these areas to employees through the NGA College. emerging areas. The supply of experts in cartography, photogrammetry, In summary, the analysis for Task 2 revealed both and geodesy appears adequate for now. The number current and future gaps in knowledge and skills rela- of professionals working in these areas is substantially tive to NGA’s needs. Although the supply of experts higher than the number of NGA job openings, and is larger than NGA demand in all core and emerging only minimal training is offered at the NGA Col- areas, competition may be making GIS and remote lege. However, some shortages are likely in the future sensing experts hard to find. Long before 2030, compe- because photogrammetry, geodesy, and cartography tition and a small number of graduates will likely result programs produce a small number of graduates, and the in shortages in cartography, photogrammetry, geodesy, number of academic programs in photogrammetry and and all emerging areas. In NGA’s future workforce, cartography is shrinking. Moreover, employer surveys which is likely to be more interdisciplinary and focused suggest that skilled cartographers and geodesists are on emerging areas, the ideal skill set will include spatial hard to find. Shortages may already be appearing in thinking, scientific and computer literacy, mathematics GIS and remote sensing, given the extensive training and statistics, languages and world culture, and profes-

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CURRENT AND ANTICIPATED GAPS IN EXPERTISE 75 sional ethics. Although NGA is currently finding em- ployees with skills in statistics, ethics, cultural analysis, and scientific methods, graduates with the ideal skill set will remain scarce until interdisciplinary and emerging areas develop. NGA could improve its chances of find- ing the necessary knowledge and skills by extending recruiting to the example university programs identified in this report.

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