The Evolving Mission of NGA
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) was established as the National Imagery and Mapping Agency in 1996, and the current name was adopted on November 24, 2003. The agency absorbed in entirety the former Defense Mapping Agency (DMA), the Central Imagery Office, the Defense Dissemination Program Office, and the National Photographic Interpretation Center (NPIC). The agency also incorporated elements of the Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The 1996 reorganization recognized that the mapping tradition of DMA and the imagery analysis and interpretation capabilities of the IMINT (imagery intelligence) agencies were merging as a consequence of digital transitions in image processing and geographic information management. Consequently, the 2003 renaming of the agency recognized the emergence of geospatial information as an intelligence source in its own right, now termed GEOINT. NGA defines GEOINT as “the exploitation and analysis of imagery and geospatial information to describe, assess, and visually depict physical features and geographically referenced activities on the Earth” (NGA, 2004a). Box 2.1 provides additional thoughts from NGA regarding GEOINT. However, now GEOINT must evolve even further to integrate forms of intelligence and information beyond the traditional sources of geospatial information and imagery, and must move from an emphasis on data and analysis to an emphasis on knowledge. In this document, the term GEOINT2 is used to reflect the
It is coming to be known as “a powerful new analytic discipline—the product of increasingly complex sources which, together, are greater than the sum of the parts. GEOINT is emerging as the most valuable tool for envisioning and predicting activity around the world. It serves everyone—from the White House to the pilothouse, from the Situation Room to the ready room” (Schultz, 2004).
Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper, in “Imagine the Power of GEOINT” (Clapper, 2004), says, “GEOINT is about more than pictures. GEOINT makes possible in-depth assessments and judgments based on the information that is gleaned from visual depictions. In short, GEOINT is more than imagery, maps, charts and digital displays showing where the bad guys are. GEOINT at its best is the analysis that results from the blending of all of the above into a dynamic, composite view of features or activities—natural or manmade—on Earth.
This brings us to the official definition of GEOINT: the exploitation and analysis of imagery and geospatial information to describe, assess, and visually depict physical features and geographically referenced activities on the Earth that have national security implications.”
evolution of GEOINT toward this broader capability, which is defined as knowledge gained from geospatial data through the application of geospatial techniques and by skilled interpretation, in which the location and movement of activities, events, features, and people play a key role. It is the goal of this report to show what areas of research should be addressed to achieve this evolution to GEOINT2.
With the emergence of GEOINT as critical not only to the NGA, but also to national security and the intelligence world as a whole, NGA’s leadership has been engaged in overhauling the agency to reflect the security needs of a complex post-9/11 world. NGA’s new mission is to “provide timely, relevant, and accurate geospatial intelligence in support of national security.” GEOINT at NGA includes information on weather, order of battle, intelligence reports, navigation safety, and other forms of intelligence. These information sources are placed into geospatial context using standard data products, including imagery, baseline intelligence data, digital topography and bathymetry, feature information, and gravity data. As is common in geographic information science, the underlying spatiotemporal reference frame or geography acts as a data integrator,
allowing disparate data to be exploited in such a way that higher forms of spatial knowledge and more profound interpretations can be drawn than if the information were examined in isolation. Furthermore, multiple sources of data have to be integrated at several spatial and temporal scales, from the entire globe to a detailed city neighborhood or mountain gully, and from the epoch to the second.
NGA actively responds to rapid changes in the demands being placed on the nation’s military. In recent years, targets have gone from static to mobile; time frames, from months to minutes; new forms of denial and deception have been employed; and targets have moved both underground and into civilian and more uncharacterized contexts (Box 2.2). NGA’s capabilities for handling GEOINT are substantial and involve high-precision observations, visualization methods, global on-demand information access, permanence of records, multisource data collection, and the capability to add value and densify information content. On the other hand, limitations of the current environment include deficiencies in surmising plans and intent from imagery and geospatial information, restricted information access under unfavorable conditions, dealing with time lags in data acquisition and use, and the lack of tools and methods for information uncertainty and ambiguity. Technological changes are impacting NGA’s day-to-day operations, and the next-generation systems reflect the change from a Cold War mission that demanded maps and imagery information on static targets, offered limited revisit capability, and had low time sensitivity. In the Cold War era, data came from secure government-owned systems with highly compartmentalized analysis and rigid distribution control. Today’s needs are for the rapid visualization of government and commercial space and airborne data from highly targetable and temporally persistent sources. Targeting can be ad hoc, responsive, and instantaneous; it can be forward controlled; and it can use integrated intelligence that is both foreign and domestic. Targeting strategies draw on data from across the electromagnetic spectrum and from multiple sources.
In the future, NGA has plans to further evolve the systems it uses, toward an e-business enterprise model, providing Internet service to individual users who can both pull data on demand and push data back to the system within a multilevel cybersecurity framework. Such a one-stop portal-based system has been highly successful in other government and commercial geospatial solutions and has high potential for effective use at NGA. This approach is intended to create an environment in which analysis is insightful and actionable, freeing humans in the loop from data manipulation tasks so that they can concentrate on judgment, thought, and prediction and provide solutions that are customized and on time. Given the volume of data that are handled, operations need to be highly
With the imminent invasion of Kuwait by Iraq still only a vague and distant threat, a U.S. intelligence agent in Kuwait has been approached by Iraqi politicians inquiring as to the nature of a U.S. response to more assertive claims by Iraq of oil fields that lie close to the Kuwait-Iraq border. The agent requests information from an intelligence officer on a U.S. Navy vessel moored in the Persian Gulf. The officer requests from DMA and NRO maps and imagery that detail the borders and from CIA a set of maps showing oil fields annotated with updated intelligence information about oil operations. Several individualized requests must be made to different agencies. Data flow back to the intelligence officer over a period of weeks, with the oil field data arriving last by courier from a transport flight. During this period, Iraqi troops are detected massing on the Iraqi border. By the time the multiple information sources are assembled and interpreted, there is no longer any actionable intelligence since Iraqi tanks surround the oil production facilities and operation Desert Shield is under way.
A known terrorist training camp in Kyrgyzstan has shown unusual activity within the last two days, with the arrival of four middle-aged men with several crates and an increase in small arms training. Activity consistent with tunneling is newly detected. A special forces team has been dispatched and has the location under observation. This team is cooperating with a Russian government special security team, who have positioned motion detectors, gas and magnetic field detectors, and web-cams. Overhead imagery comes from Global Hawk and more traditional space-based sources. Intercepted signal intelligence (SIGINT) traffic has indicated that a Lebanese microbiologist has been transported under cover to the nearest city. A known associate of the microbiologist was recognized among the four new arrivals at the camp by automatic face recognition software in a covert microcamera pre-installed in one of the crates. Yesterday, a Vladivostok Novosti news website carried an article noting the theft from a government agricultural research laboratory of a batch of weaponized anthrax. Using a one-hour-old automatically interpreted image of the village, road, and jeep trail network, a map is generated locating every vehicle near the scene and a computer trafficability model is quickly constructed. It is projected that the microbiologist could arrive at the site within one and a half hours. With all of the critical information displayed on a head-worn computer display, the forward special forces commander, after consultation with his commanding officer in Langley, decides to synchronize his move with the geographical convergence of the equipment, the microbiologist, and the terrorists at the tunnel entrance.
automated so that routine tasks are performed from a stored geospatial knowledge base that is capable of learning from human action, while human attention is focused on intelligence that is the most sensitive and valuable.
The NGA is also a human workplace. It currently supports eight key occupational codes directly related to geospatial intelligence: aeronautical analysis, cartography, geodetic science, geospatial analysis, imagery analysis, marine analysis, regional analysis and imagery, and geospatial sciences. Increasingly it also includes management and other skill sets. NGA aspires to an integrated GEOINT trade craft that reflects current needs rather than the occupational categories specified during the Cold War era. Also, NGA faces a changing employee demographic, as interpreters and cartographers hired decades ago reach retirement age. This is a clear opportunity for NGA to retool and retrain for the next generation and for future GEOINT environments. The latter task is likely to be a significant challenge to NGA in the next 10-20 years.
BACKGROUND TO NGA RESEARCH
Research has long played a role in the organizational heritage of the NGA. In the mid-1960s, with the Cold War at its height, the techniques offices under the Aeronautical Chart and Information Center, aligned with the production offices, supported military and intelligence analyst requests and did independent research. DMA was founded in 1972 and started to fund research through the Department of Defense (DoD) service labs, although little research took place in-house. There was some dissatisfaction with this way of doing research and with the lack of metrics to define its success, leading to the formation of a Special Program Office, which functioned from 1981 to 1996. During this period, large amounts of money were spent to modernize the processing of digital imagery, including some revolutionary changes in operational concepts. Often this involved working with private companies directly to develop new hardware and software. By this means, three versions of a digital production system (MARK 85, 87, and 90) were implemented with a total of six major contractor partners. While these automated systems were successful at streamlining the creation of standardized map and imagery products, the nature of the underlying task was shifting away from that approach to GEOINT.
After 1997, research funding increased by an order of magnitude over seven years, with much of the money supporting joint work with developers. Meanwhile, with the end of the Cold War and a period of flat DoD budgets and increased congressional scrutiny, long-term projects found themselves at risk. Much of the organizational culture at NGA evolved
during this period and reflects the heritage of the agencies that made up NGA at its creation, in particular the very different perspectives adopted by groups trained as cartographers and those trained as image analysts. In this environment, and through several reorganizations, the emphasis has been on short-term return on investment rather than long-term research. As a consequence, the committee views these changes in activities as evolutionary rather than revolutionary.
NGA’s need for basic research is greater than that of its predecessor agencies. The committee feels that there is also a need for research that integrates new theories and methods into technologies and that is essentially applied. This underemphasis on advanced research has placed NGA at a disadvantage at the very time that the demands of the new era have challenged the agency. Calls from NGA’s leadership have been made for research to provide innovative and provocative concepts and technologies to solve NGA’s most pressing problems; to discover new knowledge in fields relevant to NGA; to support and nurture technologies that are relevant to NGA; and to shape, focus, and balance the various technology programs. There is a strong need to leverage extramural activities and funding sources (e.g., the National Security Agency [NSA] Disruptive Technology Office [DTO], the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency [DARPA], the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Reconnaissance Office, and the U.S. Geological Survey). There is also a pressing need to educate, train, and mentor the next generation of NGA scientists and engineers.
In mid-1996, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) chief scientist advocated for more than $6 million a year to support new research and development funding. The goal was to push the state of the art in several science and technology areas (“thrusts”), including source data acquisition and brokering; exploitation, analysis, and data extraction; and information and data handling. Long-range, high-payoff potential was targeted for NIMA mission requirements, with commensurate high risk. The result was the NIMA University Research Initiative (NURI), modeled on a successful Navy program. The NURI program gave NIMA grant-funding authority with a first solicitation in FY1997. This attracted 68 pre-proposals, with 29 full proposals involving 53 universities, in five technology areas (geospatial information science, computer science, physical science, image science and neuroscience, mathematics). A target was to proceed from solicitation to award in only 4 1/2 months. In FY 1997, six awards were made totaling $2.1 million for three-year grants, with optional fourth and fifth years for the ‘best-of-best’ projects aimed at producing tangible products that could be brought to market very quickly.
The NURI program is now part of the NGA Academic Research Program (NARP), which also includes funding to historically black colleges and universities, service academies, and intelligence community postdoctoral research fellowships. Each year NARP’s focus is different and includes a targeted request for proposals and numerous site visits by NGA staff. With an annual research symposium in which investigators present their results, NARP has grown to become an important, if not the leading, source of research funds in geographic information science research in the United States. The following section describes in more detail the full suite of mechanisms currently used by NGA for funding research.
RESEARCH FUNDING BY NGA
NGA’s geospatial research and development investment in the advancement of geospatial science and technology is largely administered through the InnoVision Directorate, yet it is manifested through a variety of specific programs both inside and outside NGA. These investments contribute to multiple academic disciplines, affect all of NGA’s mission imperatives, follow a variety of organizational models, and address different systems architectures.
The InnoVision Directorate forecasts future environments, defines future needs, establishes plans to align resources, and provides technology and process solutions to lead NGA, with its customers and partners, into the future. InnoVision also provides the focal point in NGA to address research and develops comprehensive plans and technology initiatives based on the analysis of intelligence trends, technology advances, and emerging customer and partner needs. InnoVision drives NGA transformation by linking needs, analysis, plans, advanced technologies, programs, and resources and also champions the transformation of the intelligence community. This, of course, includes investment in geospatial science and technology research and development in many forms. The InnoVision Directorate assumed the legacy of investment in geodetic sciences, geoprocessing, remote sensing, and geospatial analysis from a variety of predecessors including DMA, NPIC, NIMA, and others. The InnoVision Directorate invests in a matrix formed by the intersection of these core geospatial science and technology disciplines and NGA’s mission imperatives. Each mission imperative involves almost every area of geospatial science and technology. Every mission imperative also benefits from research that is conducted through a variety of organizational means.
Specifically, NGA benefits from research conducted through underwriting of postdoctoral research; grants to academic principal investigators; research contracts to academicians; research contracts to industry researchers; time and materials contracts with system integrators; focused
development contracts with product vendors; cooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs) with government labs; cooperative engineering efforts among government, university, and industry; and venture capital investments. This suite of programs collectively provides by far the majority of funds available for geospatial research in the nation.
NGA’s primary research support mechanisms include the following organizational means:
NGA Academic Research Program
NGA University Research Initiatives
Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Institutions (HBCU-MI) Research Initiatives
Service Academy Research Grants
Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Research Fellowships
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
National Security Agency Disruptive Technology Office
Department of Defense Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrations (ACTDs)
Cooperative Research and Development Agreements
Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program
Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Interoperability Program Initiatives
Large System Integration Contracts
National Technology Alliance and Rosettex
The synergies among these programs and divisions are quite important. For example, NGA’s interest in airborne persistent surveillance has inspired and influenced the following:
Academic geodetic research to support better inertial navigation (NARP);
Multiple ACTDs (namely, urban reconnaissance, interferometric synthetic aperture radar, rapid terrain visualization, Predator-B, Global Hawk, and Gridlock);
BAAs through DARPA, the Army, and the Air Force;
Sponsorship of SensorWeb activities within OGC; and
Substantial numbers of system integration contracts.
These organizational means are discussed in detail in the following sections.
NGA Academic Research Program (NARP)
NGA conducts a multidisciplinary program of basic research in geospatial intelligence topics through grants and fellowships to the leading investigators, research universities, and colleges of the nation. This research provides the fundamental science support for NGA’s applied and advanced research programs to address shortfalls in imagery and geospatial science and technology supporting the National System for Geospatial Intelligence. The component programs under the NARP funding umbrella include research initiatives with universities, HBCU-MIs, and service academies. A postdoctoral research fellowship program is also under way.
NGA University Research Initiatives
Started in 1997, the NURI program extends an annual solicitation for basic research proposals in geospatial intelligence disciplines from U.S. academic institutions. The solicitation topics are selected to provide the scientific basis for advanced and applied research in NGA core disciplines. The stimulation of graduate programs in geospatial intelligence-related disciplines is an additional benefit to the basic geospatial intelligence research conducted under the NURI program.
Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Institutions Research Initiatives
In 1998, this program was created to provide basic research grants of more limited scope. These two-year research grants are awarded competitively to investigators at HBCU-MIs across the U.S. academic community. The annual solicitation topics are selected to provide the scientific basis for advanced and applied research in NGA core disciplines.
Service Academy Research Grants
For more than 20 years, NGA and its predecessor agencies have awarded annual research grants to conduct basic research in the geospatial sciences and to enhance geospatial science education at the U.S. service academies (Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard). This program directly impacts the geospatial intelligence knowledge and awareness of 13,000 future officers in the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security.
Intelligence Community (IC) Postdoctoral Research Fellowships
In 2000, the chief scientist of the Central Intelligence Agency established the Director of Central Intelligence Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program, now called the Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program. This annual solicitation for proposals seeks to establish long-term relations and mentoring of postdoctoral researchers at leading U.S. academic institutions and federal or national laboratories. NGA serves the intelligence community as the executive agent for the IC postdoctoral program. Each IC agency contributes topics to the solicitation that reflect either agency-specific interests or broader interests across the intelligence community.
Beyond its sponsorship of academic geospatial science and technology research and development (R&D), the InnoVision Directorate directly funds other types of geospatial R&D projects and sponsors R&D through other agencies and organizational means. InnoVision has the authority to make awards based on its own broad area announcements. InnoVision’s 2003 BAA, for example, requested different kinds of proposals: thesis-grade scientific or technical paper(s) that addressed general or specific GEOINT concepts, ideas, approaches, and/or techniques; and advanced systems, tools, software, or products that demonstrated significant value when added to GEOINT products, data, information, knowledge, decisions, approaches, and/or techniques of persistent surveillance imaging (or other persistent sources). In addition to BAAs, InnoVision has also funded initiatives such as the Synergistic Targeting Auto-extraction and Registration (STAR) Program, which addressed the automated and semi-automated extraction of information from imaging sensor data. Areas of interest include feature extraction for production of geospatial information, automated or aided target detection and recognition, change detection, automated image registration, and imagery and information fusion to support each of these areas.
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
NGA has a history of funding a variety of DARPA R&D programs that have had an effect on knowledge creation across the geospatial science and technology arenas. DARPA makes awards to industry, academia, research institutes, national labs, and teams comprised of any of the above. In the geospatial R&D realm, DARPA has devoted a considerable amount of resources to R&D into new platforms (in situ, mobile,
tactical, and space based) and sensors (particularly hyperspectral and machine vision sensors). DARPA has also expended considerable resources on R&D into software that exploits data collected by these platforms and sensors.
Disruptive Technology Office
NSA’s DTO fosters collaboration throughout the intelligence world with the technical and scientific communities in academia, the national laboratories, and the commercial sector. DTO then helps transfer emerging solutions to the intelligence community technology centers for integration and implementation. Like DARPA, DTO also commonly uses broad area announcements. DTO funds geospatial sciences R&D jointly with NGA through its Advanced Research in Interactive Visualization for Analysis (ARIVA) Program. DTO’s mission is to sponsor high-risk, high-payoff research designed to leverage leading-edge technology in the solution of some of the most critical problems facing the IC. The phase one focus of DTO’s ARIVA program seeks to dramatically improve the visualization of geospatially based national-level foreign intelligence information.
Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrations
Recently, NGA has played a significant sponsorship role in a variety of ACTDs1 (Garrett, 2004). ACTDs exploit mature and maturing technologies to solve important military problems. Work done under ACTDs generally spans what might traditionally be called R&D and what otherwise might be thought of as demonstration. In particular, the ACTD process is focused on rapidly transitioning new capabilities from the developer to the user. ACTDs are largely industry focused, since they concentrate on demonstrating mature or maturing technologies that could be procured rapidly for real mission gain. The funding for these ACTDs is substantial, with the Office of the Secretary of Defense proposing $40 million for ACTDs in its FY2006 budget. ACTDs are designed to develop over the course of three to four years, with immediate technology transfer into operation. The disciplinary and mission focus of ACTDs can range widely, but the ACTDs cosponsored by NGA have focused largely on unmanned airborne vehicles, airborne sensors, and the processing of data from these sensors.
See the Joint Tactical Terrain Technologies JT3 web page at https://portal.jpsd.belvoir.army.mil/jt3/jt3.htm.
Cooperative Research and Development Agreements
To encourage the transfer of technology between the government and the private sector and to enhance U.S. competitiveness, Congress passed legislation under the Federal Technology Transfer Act of 1986 (P.L. 99-502) that promotes technology transfer by introducing the CRADA as a mechanism to increase federal laboratories’ interaction with industry. NGA uses CRADAs for its technology partnerships and actively seeks commercial and academic research collaborators. A CRADA is not a procurement or a grant, but a means to pursue joint research goals while protecting and creating intellectual property and a means of granting certain rights for licensing to a commercial partner.
Small Business Innovation Research
The DoD Small Business Innovation Research program funds early-stage R&D at small technology companies. NGA issues an SBIR via this mechanism once a year. It involves a phase I award of up to $100,000, which if successful, may result in a two-year phase II award of up to $500,000 to further develop the concept, usually to the prototype stage. After this point, other funding must be used to develop a commercial product from the concept.
Open Geospatial Consortium
OGC is a nonprofit, international standards organization that is leading the development of standards for geospatial and location-based services. Through member-driven consensus programs, OGC works with government, private industry, and academia to create open and extensible software application programming interfaces for geographic information systems and other mainstream technologies. In the case of the OGC Interoperability Program, members sometimes receive “cost-sharing” funds provided by sponsors (such as NGA) to offset some of the costs associated with developing or documenting new interoperability technologies. NGA has been a longtime sponsor of OGC, which has allowed the agency to play a leadership role in defining interoperability specifications for distributed geoprocessing, as well as work in partnership with a broad range of other organizations to help create significant standards alignment across industry. NGA’s investments in OGC specifically support an open architecture. This architecture supports a wide range of NGA’s mission imperatives and allows the incorporation of advances in research from a variety of geospatial science and technology disciplines.
Large System Integration Contracts
There are still quite a few geospatial science and technology research activities at NGA that require large teams of technical staff with appropriate security clearances. This is due to the closeness of the problem to particular “sources and methods.” For example, an R&D project might experiment with large-scale, automated processing of data from a classified sensor. Although the work is very similar to the type of R&D that might be conducted under a NARP grant by an academician, the sensitivity of the sensor and the mission-critical nature of the work will lead this work to be conducted by one of NGA’s large system integrators.
While this work can be sponsored by the InnoVision Directorate, it may fall under existing system contracts managed by the Analysis and Production Directorate or the Acquisition Directorate. Individual projects will often receive more funding than the entire NARP.
Supporting the transplant of basic R&D through the transition to a commercial application will benefit NGA as it shifts from a digital, datacentric environment to a geospatial intelligence knowledge base. A possible role model for such transfers is the Lockheed Martin GeoScout contract. GeoScout’s mission is systems integration in support of implementing the National System for Geospatial Intelligence. In conjunction with modernizing NGA infrastructure, the engagement of both basic and applied academic research with an enterprise system integrator will connect academic and industry research networks, thus expanding scientific expertise nationwide. Just as importantly, it will facilitate transition of research to practice for innovations within the intelligence community and will speed the transition to GEOINT2.
National Technology Alliance (NTA) and Rosettex
NTA was established in 1987 to foster relationships with critical commercial technology sectors, to reduce the barriers that inhibit commercial firms from working directly with the government, and to motivate commercial firms to address community needs in new product development. NGA is the executive agent for the NTA program and is chartered to execute the program on behalf of the IC, DoD, and other government agencies. By design, NTA encourages cross-department and cross-agency cooperation.
NTA’s geospatial R&D covers three specific technology thrusts concerned with discovering, initiating, or accelerating the development of commercial technologies and applications for geographic information systems and cartography that facilitate more effective and timely image and geospatial data analysis, production, and presentation. In 2002, NGA
awarded procurement agreements to the Rosettex Technology and Ventures Group, a joint venture formed by Sarnoff Corporation and SRI International, and the Chemical, Biological, and Radiological Technology Alliance (CBRTA), administered by 3M Company, to address technology needs in geospatial intelligence; information processing; data management; information technology infrastructure; and chemical, biological, and radiological defense and security. Between them, Rosettex and CBRTA have assembled teams of more than 100 leading research universities, institutes, laboratories, and commercial companies, with facilities in 34 states and across the globe, to support these processes.
In 2002, NGA established a partnership with In-Q-Tel to support investment in geospatial technology advancement. Chartered in 1999 as a private, independent, nonprofit corporation, In-Q-Tel is an evolving blend of corporate strategic venture capital, business, nonprofit, and government R&D models. In-Q-Tel leverages third-party money and resources to deliver technology solutions that the intelligence community could not afford to develop on its own and, thus, can deliver technologies that will be supported over the long run by government and commerce. Designed to increase the IC’s access to new technologies and talent, In-Q-Tel involves government and private labs and universities, and both startups and established enterprises, in unclassified activities. In-Q-Tel and NGA partner on geospatial technology investments and next-generation geospatial information systems to move beyond cartography to develop fully integrated analytic environments for geospatial and location information and services.
NGA has redefined its own mission around a new form of intelligence, GEOINT. Consequently, NGA faces major challenges in the years ahead, and research will play a strategic and critical role in ensuring that current and future goals are met. While NGA has been active in promoting research, this has occurred through parallel and generally independent mechanisms, publicly most visible through NARP. In the following chapters, the committee reports on its examination of the challenges that must be supported by research, the most difficult research questions that have to be addressed, and the institutional and technical framework for research within NGA. Recommendations are made to assist NGA in reaching its ambitious future goals.