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Introduction

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is responsible for providing timely, relevant, and accurate imagery, geospatial information, and products—collectively known as geospatial intelligence—to support national security. The threats to national security continually evolve, as do the tools and skill sets needed to respond. As a result, NGA faces the challenge of maintaining a workforce that can deal with changes in the location of conflicts, the nature of warfare (Münkler, 2003), and the management of asymmetrical threats (conflicts between agents with different military powers or tactics; Geiss, 2006), as well as ongoing scientific and technological advances, competition for geospatial expertise by other organizations, and the changing expectations of workers.

NGA scientists and analysts use imagery and geospatial information to describe, assess, and visually depict physical features and geographically referenced activities on the Earth. To carry out this work, NGA has historically hired individuals in five core areas: geodesy and geophysics, photogrammetry, remote sensing, cartographic science, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and geospatial analysis. These five fields have also been at the core of the commercial geospatial sector in the United States over the past decade (e.g., Google Earth, mobile location-based services). However, university programs, which provide foundation geospatial knowledge and skills, are constantly changing, as are the skill sets of graduates.

At the same time, recent technological shifts— including open-source data exploitation, crowdsourcing, distributed computing, and hand-held mobile devices—are moving more geospatial intelligence tools and products into the hands of the warfighter and, in doing so, are changing the nature of the work done at the NGA. These technological advances are also generating new geospatially oriented businesses (e.g., FourSquare, Groundspeak) and influencing academic programs. New geospatial themes are emerging in university curricula—including geospatial intelligence fusion, crowdsourcing, human geography, visual analytics, and forecasting—that could potentially improve the quality and timeliness of geospatial intelligence (NRC, 2010a). Many of these new fields take advantage of the software and networking skills of students in the millennium generation, who are technologically savvy compared to their peers a few decades ago. Moreover, new programs in universities are beginning to yield students with knowledge across multiple fields, potentially bringing new approaches to geospatial intelligence. Universities increasingly offer interdisciplinary degree programs, such as a computer science major with a GIS emphasis. The use of spatial reasoning and visualization for problem solving is now a feature of many academic programs beyond the traditional field of geography.

Although the overall supply of geospatial experts is growing, so too is the demand for these experts from other agencies and the private sector (e.g., Gewin, 2004; DiBiase et al., 2006; Solem et al., 2008). Consequently, NGA is competing with other organizations for specialists with geospatial skills. At the request of H. Greg Smith, NGA Chief Scientist, the National Research Council established an expert committee to examine the supply of experts in geospatial intelligence



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1 Introduction T he National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency devices—are moving more geospatial intelligence tools (NGA) is responsible for providing timely, rel- and products into the hands of the warfighter and, in evant, and accurate imagery, geospatial infor- doing so, are changing the nature of the work done mation, and products—collectively known as geospatial at the NGA. These technological advances are also intelligence—to support national security. The threats generating new geospatially oriented businesses (e.g., to national security continually evolve, as do the tools FourSquare, Groundspeak) and influencing academic and skill sets needed to respond. As a result, NGA faces programs. New geospatial themes are emerging in uni- the challenge of maintaining a workforce that can deal versity curricula—including geospatial intelligence fu- with changes in the location of conflicts, the nature sion, crowdsourcing, human geography, visual ­analytics, of warfare (Münkler, 2003), and the management of and forecasting—that could potentially improve the asymmetrical threats (conflicts between agents with quality and timeliness of geospatial intelligence (NRC, different military powers or tactics; Geiss, 2006), as 2010a). Many of these new fields take advantage of well as ongoing scientific and technological advances, the software and networking skills of students in the competition for geospatial expertise by other organiza- millennium generation, who are technologically savvy tions, and the changing expectations of workers. compared to their peers a few decades ago. Moreover, NGA scientists and analysts use imagery and new programs in universities are beginning to yield stu- geospatial information to describe, assess, and visually dents with knowledge across multiple fields, potentially depict physical features and geographically referenced bringing new approaches to geospatial intelligence. activities on the Earth. To carry out this work, NGA Universities increasingly offer interdisciplinary degree has historically hired individuals in five core areas: programs, such as a computer science major with a GIS geodesy and geophysics, photogrammetry, remote sens- emphasis. The use of spatial reasoning and visualization ing, cartographic science, and Geographic Information for problem solving is now a feature of many academic Systems (GIS) and geospatial analysis. These five fields programs beyond the traditional field of geography. have also been at the core of the commercial geospatial Although the overall supply of geospatial experts sector in the United States over the past decade (e.g., is growing, so too is the demand for these experts from Google Earth, mobile location-based services). How- other agencies and the private sector (e.g., Gewin, ever, university programs, which provide foundation 2004; DiBiase et al., 2006; Solem et al., 2008). Conse- geospatial knowledge and skills, are constantly chang- quently, NGA is competing with other organizations ing, as are the skill sets of graduates. for specialists with geospatial skills. At the request of At the same time, recent technological shifts—­ H. Greg Smith, NGA Chief Scientist, the National including open-source data exploitation, crowd­ Research Council established an expert committee to sourcing, distributed computing, and hand-held mobile examine the supply of experts in geospatial intelligence 9

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10 FUTURE U.S. WORKFORCE FOR GEOSPATIAL INTELLIGENCE disciplines and to suggest ways for NGA to obtain the The committee began its analysis by characterizing scientific knowledge and analytical skills it needs over the 10 core and emerging areas, including their evolu- the next 20 years. The specific charge to the committee tion, the scope of university programs offering classes is given in Box 1.1. and/or degrees, and the body of knowledge and skills that are generally taught. Information for this over- COMMITTEE APPROACH view was drawn from professional societies, university websites, and the committee members’ own knowledge This report is the second of two requested by and experience. Next, the committee assessed the avail- NGA. The first report, New Research Directions for the ability of experts in the core and emerging areas over National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency: Workshop Report the next 20 years (Task 1). The committee considered (NRC, 2010a), summarized workshop discussions of two sources of potential employees for NGA: (1) new new research directions for geospatial intelligence. The graduates entering the workforce and (2) individuals workshop considered 10 subject areas, including NGA’s currently employed in occupations that require similar five core areas and five crosscutting themes that are knowledge and/or skills. Statistics on new graduates likely to become increasingly important to NGA over were obtained from the Department of Education, the next 15 years. Definitions of these areas, slightly which tracks the number of degrees conferred by level refined from those given in NRC (2010a), are given in and field of study and by citizenship. Employment Box 1.2. This report builds from the workshop results, statistics for more than 800 occupations were obtained analyzing workforce trends and education and training from the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor programs in the 10 core and emerging areas. Statistics, and citizenship of employed individuals was determined from Census data. Based on the education and skill requirements laid out in NGA occupation descriptions and the committee’s evaluation of the BOX 1.1 Committee Charge core and emerging areas, 164 instructional programs (Appendix C) and 36 occupations (Appendix D) were An ad hoc committee will examine the need for geospatial deemed relevant to NGA. Although a few professional intelligence expertise in the United States compared with the pro­ societies collect degree and employment information duction of experts in the relevant disciplines, and discuss possible for some of the subject areas (e.g., geophysics, photo- ways to ensure adequate availability of the needed expertise. In its grammetry, remote sensing), the data are less compre- report the committee will hensive and consistent than the government statistics 1. Examine the current availability of U.S. experts in geo­ and were not analyzed in this report. spatial intelligence disciplines and approaches and the anticipated For Task 2, the committee was asked to identify U.S. availability of this expertise for the next 20 years. The disci­ gaps in the current or future availability of geospatial plines and approaches to be considered include NGA’s five core intelligence expertise relative to NGA’s needs. NGA’s areas and promising research areas identified in the May 2010 NRC current needs were characterized using informa- workshop [see Box 1.2]. 2. Identify any gaps in the current or future availability of tion provided by the agency or posted on its website this expertise relative to NGA’s need. (Box 1.3). The NGA job listings and position descrip- 3. Describe U.S. academic, government laboratory, industry, tions provide a measure of the knowledge and skills and professional society training programs for geospatial intel­ the agency is currently seeking, and the universities ligence disciplines and analytical skills. where NGA recruits provide an indication of where the 4. Suggest ways to build the necessary knowledge and skills agency is looking for this knowledge and skills. Based to ensure an adequate U.S. supply of geospatial intelligence experts for the next 20 years, including NGA intramural training programs on discussions with NGA managers, the committee or NGA support for training programs in other venues. focused on science and analysis positions (Box 1.4), not on management or support positions (e.g., administra- The report will not include recommendations on policy issues tive assistants, database administrators). Future needs such as funding, the creation of new programs or initiatives, or were estimated from the age distribution of agency government organization. scientists and analysts and the assumption that hiring

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INTRODUCTION 11 BOX 1.2 Core and Emerging Areas Considered in This Report Geodesy and geophysics • Geodesy—the science of mathematically determining the size, shape, and orientation of the Earth, and the nature of its gravity field in four dimensions. It includes the development of highly precise positioning techniques, which enable monitoring of dynamic Earth phenomena such as ground subsidence and sea-level change. Related terms include surveying and navigation. • Geophysics—the physics of the Earth and its environment in space, including the study of geodesy, geomagnetism and paleomagnetism, seismology, hydrology, space physics and aeronomy, tectonophysics, and atmospheric science. Photogrammetry—the art, science, and technology of extracting reliable and accurate information about objects, phenomena, and environments from the processing of acquired imagery and other sensed data, both passively and actively, within a wide range of the electromagnetic energy spectrum. Remote sensing—the science of measuring some property of an object or phenomenon by a sensor that is not in physical contact with the object or phenomenon under study. Cartographic science—the discipline dealing with the conception, production, dissemination, and study of maps as both tangible and digital objects, and with their use and analysis. Geographic Information Systems and geospatial analysis • Geographic Information System—any system that captures, stores, analyzes, manages, and visualizes data that are linked to location. • Geospatial analysis—the process of applying analytical techniques to geographically referenced data sets to extract or generate new geographi­ cal information or insight. Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) fusion—the aggregation, integration, and conflation of geospatial data across time and space with the goal of removing the effects of data measurement systems and facilitating spatial analysis and synthesis across information sources. Crowdsourcing—a process in which individuals gather and analyze information and complete tasks over the Internet, often using mobile devices such as cellular phones. Individuals with these devices form interactive, scalable sensor networks that enable professionals and the public to gather, analyze, share, and visualize local knowledge and observations and to collaborate on the design, assessment, and testing of devices and results. Related terms include volunteered geographic information, community remote sensing, and collective intelligence. Human geography—the science of understanding, representing, and forecasting activities of individuals, groups, organizations, and the social networks to which they belong within a geotemporal context. It includes the creation of operational technologies based on societal, cultural, religious, tribal, historical, and linguistic knowledge; local economy and infrastructure; and knowledge about evolving threats within that geotemporal window. Related terms include cultural geography, spatial cultural intelligence, geo-enabled network analysis, and human terrain. Visual analytics—the science of analytic reasoning, facilitated by interactive visual interfaces. The techniques are used to synthesize information and derive insight from massive, dynamic, ambiguous, and often conflicting data. Related terms include scientific visualization, information visualization, geovisualization, and visual reasoning. Forecasting—an operational research technique used to anticipate outcomes, trends, or expected future behavior of a system using statistics and modeling. It is used as a basis for planning and decision making and is stated in less certain terms than a prediction. Related terms include prediction and anticipatory intelligence. would continue at the current pace but would focus on The last two tasks address mechanisms for building the core and emerging areas. To estimate how many knowledge and skills in the geospatial disciplines now experts would likely be available in the future, the com- and over the next 20 years. For Task 3, the committee mittee extrapolated the trend in the number of degrees described current government agency, university, pro- conferred over the past 10 years to 2030. fessional society, and private company programs that

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12 FUTURE U.S. WORKFORCE FOR GEOSPATIAL INTELLIGENCE BOX 1.3 BOX 1.4 NGA Information Available for This Study NGA Scientist and Analyst Occupations As an intelligence agency, little information on NGA’s current Geospatial intelligence is produced by scientists (including activities, future plans, or the workforce needed to carry them out is mathematicians) and analysts. Scientists are experts in a particular publicly available. At the request of the committee, NGA provided the discipline, and they define NGA’s research strategy, oversee scien­ most essential information needed to carry out this study, including tific activities, apply new technologies, and develop expertise and the following: tradecraft for the agency. Analysts acquire, process, and analyze data from government and commercial sources; ensure the quality, ac­ • NGA occupation descriptions (including education, curacy, and currency of geospatial information; populate databases; knowledge, and skill requirements) for current scientist and analyst and produce information products for military and intelligence positions. applications. NGA distinguishes more than 30 types of geospatial • The total number of scientists and analysts currently intelligence analysts, based on scientific discipline (e.g., geodetic working in each geospatial intelligence occupation and the number earth science, nautical cartography, political geography) or func­ hired each year over the past few years. tion (e.g., data analysis, development of analysis methods, cross-­ • The ages and highest degrees held by the current scientist disciplinary issues). Some analysts address agency-wide issues, and analyst workforce. such as developing multisource strategies to address intelligence • The courses offered at the NGA College. problems, discovering and evaluating new open-source data, and • The universities where NGA recruits or sends employees tasking data collection systems. Descriptions of current NGA sci­ for training. ence and analyst occupations are given in Appendix B. • The occupations tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that are most relevant to NGA. These data were provided in 2011; trends may have shifted signifi­ cantly since the data were collected. and Clark expedition began exploring the Louisiana NGA did not provide strategic information, such as NGA hir­ ing priorities, problems finding skills or expertise, or the basis for Territory (Table 1.1). Mapping and charting efforts the NGA College curriculum. When such information was needed advanced significantly during World War I, in part to support the analysis, the report states the assumptions made by because of the extensive use of aerial photography for the committee so readers can follow the reasoning. battlefield intelligence (e.g., MacLeod, 1919; Collier, 1994). In the World War II era, technological im- provements in aircraft and cameras greatly expanded military applications of aerial photography, and maps offer education or training in the disciplines, methods, began to be combined with analyzed imagery (e.g., and/or technologies underlying geospatial intelligence. Monmonier, 1985). The development of high-altitude Few of these programs are targeted to NGA’s needs. For aircraft in the mid-1950s enabled detailed maps of Task 4, the committee identified a short list of actions, military bases, shipyards, and other strategic targets to of varying scope, that NGA can take to help build a be made, revealing, for example, the presence of Soviet skilled geospatial intelligence workforce in the future. medium-range ballistic missiles in Cuba in 1962 (e.g., Richelson, 1999). The advent of satellites in the late OVERVIEW OF THE NATIONAL 1950s provided the capability to photograph the Earth, GEOSPATIAL-INTELLIGENCE AGENCY measure its physical properties, and accurately deter- mine positions of objects on the surface (Table 1.1). In the decades following World War II, the col- History lection and handling of intelligence information from Military intelligence has always required mapping, photogrammetry, geodesy, mapping, and charting cartographic analysis, and the collection of geographic became increasingly automated (Clarke, 2009). With information (Sweeney, 1924). The United States has automation came an improved ability to integrate dif- supported mapping and charting for military intel- ferent types of information and to carry out new types ligence purposes since 1804, when the Army’s Lewis of analyses useful to decision makers, including time-

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INTRODUCTION 13 TABLE 1.1  Milestones in the Application of Core Areas to National Defense and Intelligence Year Event 1804 Lewis and Clark began to map and gather intelligence and other information on territory from St. Louis, Missouri, to the Pacific Ocean 1813 The Topographical Engineers began conducting surveys to facilitate the safe movement of troops for the War of 1812 1835 The Navy began to produce nautical charts and, 3 years later, to make astronomical observations 1889 The Army began to collect and compile information on geography and foreign forces, and to communicate it to military attachés during the Spanish-American War 1911 First photoreconnaissance flight. Aerial photography became a major contributor to battlefield intelligence during World War I 1922 First modern bathymetric chart, made using sounding data collected from a Navy ship 1928 The Army Air Corps began producing aeronautical charts 1941 Second World War aviation enabled photogrammetry, photo interpretation, and geodesy to replace field surveys 1953 Navy aircraft began measuring magnetic variations around the Earth; project U.S. Magnet continued until 1994 1956 High-altitude U-2 aircraft began to carry out manned reconnaissance missions, becoming the primary source for intelligence gathering over the Soviet Union and other denied areas 1960 Successful return of imagery from Corona, the first photoreconnaissance satellite system in the world 1960 World Geodetic System (WGS 60) defined an Earth-centered orientation system and formed the basis of current global positioning systems 1966 Launch of the Geodetic Earth Orbiting Satellite, the first dedicated satellite for geodetic studies 1974 First electronic dissemination of near-real-time, near-original-quality overhead imagery to support rapid targeting and assessment of strategic threats 1978 Launch of the first four Global Positioning System satellites, which enabled accurate measurements of position, velocity, and time 1994 Presidential directive PDD-23 directed the National Imagery and Mapping Agency to acquire commercial satellite data 1995 Unmanned aerial vehicles began taking streaming video during reconnaissance flights 2000 The Shuttle Radar Topography Mission began to acquire elevation data over about 80 percent of the Earth’s surface using interferometric synthetic aperture radar 2005 Surface warships began to navigate using digital nautical charts 2006 First automatic construction of the three-dimensional world from diverse sources of photographs and images SOURCES: Day et al. (1998); Snavley et al. (2006); Clarke (2013a); NGA historical reference chronology, . space analysis and the evaluation of natural phenomena National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA).1 and human activities at the Earth’s surface. NGA’s NIMA’s primary focus was on acquiring and providing current model for producing geospatial intelligence is imagery and maps to intelligence agencies. Increasing illustrated in Figure 1.1 and an example of an informa- demands for speed, accuracy, and synthesis of geo- tion product is shown in Figure 1.2. spatial information—especially since the September 2001 terror­st attacks in the United States—led to the i Organization concept of geospatial intelligence or GEOINT, the use of imagery and geospatial data to describe and depict Through most of the 20th century, responsibility features and activities and their location on the Earth. for specific aspects of mapping, charting, aerial pho- In 2003, the agency’s name was changed to the National tography, and eventually satellite reconnaissance was Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to emphasize its mis- distributed among multiple defense and intelligence sion of producing geospatial intelligence. agencies and departments. In 1996, mapping, imagery NGA is part of the Department of Defense, and acquisition and analysis, and intelligence production it is one of 16 federal agencies responsible for national were brought together from the Defense Mapping intelligence. Its emphasis is on military and intelligence Agency, the Central Imagery Office, and other imag- 1 See NGA historical reference chronology, .

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14 FUTURE U.S. WORKFORCE FOR GEOSPATIAL INTELLIGENCE FIGURE 1.1  NGA’s process for analyzing geospatial information. SOURCE: Courtesy of Ed Waltz, BAE Systems. support in foreign countries, although humanitarian experts each year. A bachelor’s degree or a combina- and disaster assistance, both at home and abroad, is a tion of education and experience is preferred, although growing area of work for NGA. For example, NGA many NGA scientists and analysts have higher degrees. supported U.S. troops deployed to the Indian Ocean Additional training on sensors, geospatial analysis, and following the 2004 Sumatra earthquake and tsunami other subjects is provided by the National Geospatial- and provided imagery to U.S. and international relief Intelligence College (hereafter referred to as the NGA organizations.2 NGA also maintains the World Geo- College). NGA employees can also take classes at uni- detic System, which is instrumental for both military versities through the Vector Study Program. and civil uses of the Global Positioning System. NGA employs several thousand scientists and ana- ORGANIZATION OF THE REPORT lysts, who acquire and analyze imagery and other geo- spatial information and deliver information products, This report examines the supply of experts in 10 services, and geospatial intelligence to policy makers, geospatial intelligence areas, gaps between the supply military decision makers, warfighters, and others. Ac- of experts and NGA’s needs over the next 20 years, cording to NGA, the largest fractions work on imagery and ways to build necessary knowledge and skills. analysis (about 40 percent), geospatial analysis (19 Chapter 2 characterizes the knowledge, skills, and percent), and cartography (10 percent). Over the past academic programs in the five core areas that have few years, the agency has hired several hundred such historically underpinned geospatial intelligence, and Chapter 3 focuses on five emerging areas that could 2 See NGA historical reference chronology, .

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INTRODUCTION 15 FIGURE 1.2  Army Research Laboratory’s tactical digital hologram technology, which is being used by special forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. The unit has a three-dimensional holographic display that incorporates human intelligence, terrain, and imagery data. SOURCE: U.S. Army Research Laboratory. assesses the current and future supply of geospatial in the future are discussed in Chapter 7. Supporting intelligence expertise in these core and emerging areas, material appears in the appendixes, including relevant based on government statistics. Chapter 5 matches the university curricula and degree programs in the core supply of experts to NGA’s needs, considering gaps in and emerging areas (Appendix A), descriptions of disciplinary knowledge and analytical skills, as well as scientist and analyst positions at NGA (Appendix B), where experts are recruited. Chapter 6 describes train- and statistics on relevant degrees (Appendix C) and ing programs in academia, government, industry, and occupations (Appendix D). Biographical sketches of professional societies that offer useful models for filling committee members are given in Appendix E, and a list gaps in knowledge and skills. Potential mechanisms for of acronyms and abbreviations appears in Appendix F. building the supply of geospatial intelligence experts

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