Executive Interview - Robert Cardillo, Director, Source Operations and Management, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency

By Joe Francica

Directions Magazine conducted the following interview with Mr.Robert Cardillo, Director of the Source Operations and Management Directorate for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, or NGA.The NGA began operations just about 1 year ago and succeeded the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) as so directed by the Defense Authorization Act.NGA's objective was to create a coordinating body that "emphasizes the geospatial intelligence mission in support of national security." His agency disseminates information not only to the Director of Central Intelligence or DCI but to many other intelligence agencies in the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, and other customers in the State and Commerce Department.

In that regard, the NGA has an incredibly broad mission to serve not only intelligence agencies but other areas of our national government for which geospatial information can be used to prepare for national emergencies, such as for severe weather or other natural disasters.Again, according to the NGA, "Those whom we serve -- the President, Congress, Executive Branch, policy community, military commanders, law enforcement officials, and civil leaders -- require reliable information with a geospatial intelligence foundation as the enabling common denominator.This information must be accurate, timely, current, detailed, easily accessible, and, in relative terms, affordable."

Mr.Cardillo refers to certain charts during this audio interview however; his explanation is sufficient to warrant not having them in conjunction with the audio.Mr.Cardillo is supported by the NGA's Director of Public Affairs, David Burpee whose comments you will also hear.I think you will enjoy this interview as we cover a variety of topics related to their current mission, and in particular, how the NGA functions in it critical role of providing information to the battlefield commanders as well as policy-makers in the war on terrorism.Click on the icon above to listen to the interview or review the transcript below:

CARDILLO: First of all, the organization that I run here is Source Operations and Management, is fairly new.We stood up on the third of July 2003, so we're approaching our first year.Now the legacy of the organization is decades old.We were formerly called the Central Imagery Tasking Office; prior to that it was Operations and Tasking Division, prior to the NIMA standup; prior to that it was something called COMEREX: Committee of Imagery Requirements and Exploitation.Somehow we came up with COMEREX out of that.But again, the historical legacy of my organization was essentially to protect the allocations of what were pretty scarce imaging resources.And, I mean, I'm going all the way back to the sixties, in which our ability to put images into the hands of our customers was relatively limited, and so we set up a business and a construct that made it, quite frankly, a little difficult for our customers to get at it, I mean, with good reason, lots of permissions, lots of hoops to jump through, and the like.And, when you look at our mission statement, what we're really trying to turn around now is advice; rather than having a customer having to compete for a particular image or collection is we want to compete a broad set of image capabilities against their needs.

So, if you will, we're really turning around the business proposition, and so -you mentioned a military commander- you know, if you want to know what's over the next hill, or if you need a map of your area of responsibility or future operations, we will take that information need, we will of course go through archives, see what's on the shelf, see what's already in production. Whenever we have gaps in answering your question, we go out in what we're euphemistically calling a "source marketplace" and identifying the best in breed, the best in cost, the best in time, depending on what the key metric is to fill that gap.So, as I said we're a year into this, and it's quite a different paradigm for us to be in.We have many challenges, and I'll try to talk through some of those, technologically is key, but it probably isn't the biggest one.A lot of these are cultural, institutional, legacy, kind of a tradition, if you will, of the prior mindset and the like.With that kind of a background, we walk through few slides.What's lifted is chart four of the dual executive mandates, what I need to emphasize to you is that I'm clearly an NGA employee, I know who pays my check and writes my appraisal and all that.The key is that the authorities that my organization executes on a 7 by 24 by 365 basis, are derived from the Director of Central Intelligence.So it really is a community function that I'll be talking to you today.The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is a functional manager of the US government for this discipline so it makes sense that we execute it.

But everything I'm going to tell you about is really from a community perspective so USGS is a perfect example.If they were to bring needs or requirements to the table, I would handle those requirements just as I would, and right next to, requirements that would be brought to me from NGA.And again, I have to put on this second hat, if you will, to put myself into the DCI role and that's kind of what that chart lays out: that these directives and corresponding DOD instructions kind of gives me my operating authority.And that committee there, that operations committee chair that sub-bullet, is in fact a community committee.And every member of the intelligence community [is] represented on that committee.Even though it's classified, and even though we deal in sometimes highly compartmented areas, it's a very open process.There isn't really a green door, if you will, in our business from the committee perspective, very transparent.

FRANCICA: What comprises the intelligence agencies represented throughout NGA? Are there individuals from the CIA, DOD (Department of Defense), NSA (National Security Agency)-who else?

CARDILLO: It's broader than that, the up set CIA, NSA, but for DOD, defense intelligence I have all the services.I now have the Department of Homeland Security.I still have the civil applications committee, which you may recall from your USGS days, which is really a sub-committee within a committee, and they would represent the civil users at the table. So whether it's state and local, or whether it's USGS, it could be anything outside the route of FEMA, is a good example, although they're now ruled under DHS (Department of Homeland Security) as well.Everybody isn't always at the table.The people who might -and I hate to use the word, so I won't use it- might have an issue is the military commands.[They] are represented at the table by the Defense Intelligence Agency.

And that's not unique to my committee, that's the way it works for all the requirements from the DIA and the DIA represents them.But from that, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Central Command was at the table.I mean, they just sat right next to the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency), and brought General Franks requirements right in, and -I mean, I don't want you to think of it as a cut-out or a bureaucratic sect, it really is a relatively seamless process.Chart 5 is kind of a simplistic look at the operations intelligence cycle that you're probably familiar with.I just want to highlight the NGA source, and this may not come out well in the FAX, because of the dark lettering, the top box is customer needs, and as you go around clockwise, we sit in the one or two o'clock position. And our job, writ large, is to take those questions and needs and do a translation service, really.How best can we allocate that question to the appropriate source, whether it is an airborne source, a space-borne source, whether it is government owned or commercial owned, whether it's in the archives or needs to be newly collected? To answer the question, I need to be clear, my folks don't answer questions, per se, we turn those over to analysts, or cartographers, or geospatial analysts; that's a different, large part of NGA and the community that does that.For the community, we do that bridging role, if you will, between that question, and then in the bottom right-hand corner of that chart, figuring out who's best postured to answer that question.

FRANCICA: So, in this framework of operationally capturing the imagery intelligence, there's a number of public sources, DigitalGlobe and Space Imaging, and I assume there is a number of satellites that are controlled specifically by the military intelligence agencies.Are they also under your control as well?

CARDILLO: Well, this starts to get somewhat complicated. If I could go back-If you recall the DCI authorities I talked about at the outset.Those authorities talk to field that you may not see; it's the National Reconnaissance Office of the bottom right-

FRANCICA: I see that, yes.

CARDILLO: Behind that is what we call our National Technical Means, that the euphemism for our capabilities to image across the globe. Those are the ones that my committee, OPSCOM, manages, all right? And we manage those, again, for the military, and for CIA, and for the National Security Council, for all customers.The icons you see on this chart, for example, there's a U2, and a Global Hawk, and a Predator right above that. Those, in general, are managed by the military services, though predominantly the Air Force.They build collection plans for those assets, but there is a coordination process between the two.So I share what I'm doing with assets that are delegated to us, the Air Force shares what they're doing on their airborne platforms.And while it isn't pretty today: I mean, there are issues with classification levels and connectivity, even in things such as what software people are using, but there's a much better coordination process today.So if your General Franks, and your fighting OIF, you can be confident that the collection deck I'm building is not just compatible with, but coordinated and synergistic with those airborne assets.Like I said, we've got a ways to go to improve that, to really make it more efficiently executed online, desktop and whatnot.But the intent certainly is there, and when it needs to happen, it happens very well.

FRANCICA: From an ideal operational perspective, all of these collection platforms would eventually come under your auspices to collect and disseminate all of the information that any commander in the field would require?

CARDILLO: That's a dicey topic, and I'll tell you why. There are sensitivities in our communities about joystick control, and ownership of assets.Just as the DCI would be very protective of his authorities, and his assets that he manages for he community, the services are equally sensitive.So, when you say "ideally", everything would come under one person or organization.I'm not sure that the community or the services, or the DCI would agree with that today.I will tell you that there is a great deal of discussion about how we achieve that effect of your ideal proposition.For example, we're looking on standing up a global intelligence surveillance reconnaissance effort.We don't know what to call it, yet. What this would essentially do would be either a physical or virtual merge of those collection planners that I just talked about.So if you're planning U2 missions, you would sit, virtually, side by side by my collection managers. So, that transparency that exists at our OPSCOM, or Operations Committee, would bridge the airborne-space-borne divide or gap.But there isn't a consensus, Joe, on-that one place should do that right now.It's more, "how can we do it together?"

FRANCICA: Of course, the reason I ask is from a technological perspective as much as it is from an operational one, because of the need to integrate a variety of spatial information that an individual, a commander, or whoever - an intelligence officer - would want in a single representation.

CARDILLO: You're exactly right, and, don't get me wrong, if we had a clean sheet of paper and the politics and anxieties that I just talked about didn't exist, you would do it that way.But, let's face it: politics are real, and ownership is real, budget, and all that comes into play.But I don't want to get you overly concerned that that's causing us-it's inhibiting our support to customers like a war fighter, or customers like the Department of Homeland Security.It works, it probably isn't as efficient, but hey, sometimes the U.S.Government is not efficient for a reason.And, just as you just said, if we were able to coalesce all of these management and joysticks into one room, for, let's say a General Franks or (Gen.) Abazaid in today's construct for central command, you would cause anxieties on the non-military side of the fence.The Department of State would say "Well, why don't I get my support, where are my dedicated assets? And how can I be sure my treaty negotiation, my border dispute will be covered?" So that's why we try to approach it from a community perspective and figure out and even a set of agreed to priorities.And that's the key, that we can allocate and flex that community process to the right mission at the right time.

FRANCICA: Understood.

CARDILLO: And the one last thing I didn't talk about, too, was that you mentioned the three space imaging commercial companies.We have a good partnership with those companies today, as evidenced, in part, by our Clearview contract with all three companies.That partnership grows on a daily basis.I'm working to not just virtually connect my business with theirs, but do it physically as much as possible so that if you're the customer set at the top of this chart, and you need, again, to look over the hill, a aerial view of a particular town/city/region, you shouldn't care whether I go to OrbImage to satisfy that or I go to the NRO to satisfy that, unless, and this is a big caveat, you have a big classification requirement. If you say, "hey, I need to release this to people who are not cleared" for whatever reason, and that certainly drives us to a particular solution. But, short of that, you should just be interested in your question and your need, and let us go worry how to fill it.

FRANCICA: The Clearview contract was obviously in effect when the Iraq war started, and I believe it was Dave Burpee who filled me in that there's a period of time which you exercised the clause in the contract to collect essentially all the imagery over Baghdad, and the entire country so that you have adequate imagery.It certainly was part of the contract, but it sounds almost like shutter control.Can you elaborate on that?

BURPEE: Well, I can.But, Joe, what we were talking about what something called Assured Access.And it was OEF Afghanistan, not Iraq. And at that particular time we didn't believe-Afghanistan was not one of the places we were looking on putting massive US forces in.We certainly had a lot of information about Taliban and specific sites, but we didn't have countrywide baseline data in a digital format that we needed.So, for two months, October to December, we paid $3.8 million to assure that whatever the satellite was over, that we would be the ones who did the tasking, and then we actually paid about another five and a half million dollars worth of actual access, you know, taking pictures.We didn't do that in Iraq, one, because our holdings were so much better, and secondly, there was a second commercial satellite up there.So, we didn't have to go through assured access, because if someone got a picture on one, we got it on the next one.And, although we don't use the term "shutter control", and others have used censorship and so forth, that whole shutter control issue is run by Department of Commerce.As you know, it's a formal process they put in to last for a specific period of time, short a specific area, and it's run by Commerce and invoked by them with, obviously, input from lots of people.So, we use the contract, I mean, anybody else who had a contract limiting access, that same clause could've done it, too.So, it was Afghanistan, not Iraq.

FRANCICA: Thanks for clearing that up.

CARDILLO: Sure.Okay, I'll move on the Chart 6, and kind set up a couple of vignettes that I'll walk you through, Joe, and see if it doesn't come together what we're trying to do here.But, again, the broad move from, what I talked about, the Central Imagery Tasking Office to the Source Ops, is, again, is to try to be more responsive, more relevant to our customer needs.I mean, we've got greater capability today, and that capability isn't just volumetric, it is spectral, it is temporal, and we want to be sure that that capability is effectively applied against our customer's questions.So, we talked about these strategies that we developed now by -I mean, don't get me wrong, we still put in collection requirements, and we get very specific, whether it's through Clearview, or NRO, or Air Force association about what we want- but, the strategy I'm talking about really is a thought-based, analytically approached process in which we say, "Okay, given Question A, what sources and what spectral ranges, at what times of day, will best help, again, the analyst -not my folks, but the analyst- to derive answers." So, I'll use the Hurricane Isabelle, both preparations and recovery, and Department of State issue with a border resolution in South America, as a couple of examples.

Chart 7, I mean, it's not a secret, a large storm approaching the east coast.FEMA came to us with a request for -the same way the military would- "hey, I need baseline coverage.I need context for whatever might happen". And so, we would put in collection requirements, again, based upon the best information we had as to the areas of highest interest and what would be impacted be Isabelle.So that comparative analysis could be done afterwards. And, again, this is predominantly one of the reasons that -and here's a perfect example of why the commercial vendor or an airborne platform would be preferred.We knew that the usefulness of this product would be extremely limited, where it could be at any classification level, I mean, this is going to be local fire, police, county emergency offices and the like. And we would do as much as possible, again, from our commercial vendors, again, space or air, to provide that baseline coverage.And then, clearly, post-storm, you obviously know exactly where your highest need is, and if you look at the next graphic, on Chart 8, it will give you a derived product on the left side, and it really is, as you can see, a geospatial base information product that gives them, and this is probably not coming out well in your FAX, but there's areas that are limited for both flooding and levels of damage.And so, certainly there's ground control that is, to say, you got sources of information on the ground.But you do provide context, and overall context so that resources always being limited, FEMA in this case can apply them in the best place.

And so, whether it's evacuations or relocations or just control of an area in which you're trying to contain, again, environmental, or it could be physical -it could be just trying to keep people out of a particular area. We would give those overviews, and obviously the right side is unclassified orientation as to where we're providing the information. Now, what we can do, we have a link to a federal agency, like we do in this case with FEMA.The information from what we give the data that's on that left graphic, like where the damage is, where the flooding is and whatnot.That information could, in fact, be derived from classified sources, but we would go through what's called an Imagery Derived Product, IDP, which is a process by which we go though a vetting and take that information and put it into an unclassified format and then provide it to an uncleared customer.The same thing would happen, for example, with Forest Service, if they're fighting fires out west.Some of our information on hot spots and fire lines and coverage of a large area, could be derived, again, from a classified original source, and we would go through that IDP process to derive a line drawing, be able to annotate a map so that the forest service could use the result.

FRANCICA: Now, what would FEMA's objective be in coming to NGA versus going to NOAA or USGS to derive similar information? I guess if I was FEMA, and I was looking for weather data, I would go to a GOES satellite or another weather satellite as opposed to NGA.I'm just curious what you provide in addition or instead of.

CARDILLO: Yeah, I wasn't clear, Joe.They're not coming to us for weather data or prediction of where the hurricane's going to hit.They're going to us with "can you provide us," as I said, "baseline understanding for the high threat areas." And so it really is a GIS product. It may not be a newly created map, but it would be a GIS product of that region.And then they want the analysts, the geospatial types, within NGA to do an assessment of the results of the weather or the fire or whatever. And so, just as we do analysis of denied areas, for a military, state, national customer, they come to us for that expertise to be able to interpret results.And the results here are damage from an environmental impact. But, the chart's a little misleading because I've got the weather shot on the right side.We would be a customer like FEMA would be, to make sure we're focused on the right areas.

FRANCICA: Maybe you'll come to this, but what it sounds like is that NGA is becoming more or less a central repository for a lot of geospatial information, whether it's collected by another agency or not.Am I wrong in stating that? In other words, if I was somebody in the Department of State, and maybe your next scenario will bear that out, but if I wanted either a boundary line information or crop assessment, whatever, my tendency would be to go to an agency that would more likely collect that type of data.My way of thinking, maybe having served with the USGS, was "they're collecting natural resource information, so I would go to a USGS" ...I wouldn't think of going to a NGA, which, in my thinking, would be more oriented towards military operations.

CARDILLO: You're not wrong, and there's a strong partnership between USGS and NGA.Clearly there are areas, as I said, of very strong cooperation, co-production arrangements and the like when it comes to US coverage and their analysis.The standup of the Department of Homeland Security has highlighted the need to do just that.And, again, I'm a little bit out of my lane on this sense that I don't manage those resources.I can confidently tell you that relationship is strong.I do want to add that NGA does have expertise on environmental agricultural issues, because it is of interest to a Department of State customer.And, quite frankly there responds a congressional direction, especially on drug surveys worldwide. So that, again, I think, I can't get into too much detail because I don't know how it works, but that expertise does cross over between the two organizations. And if I could get back to your original question about a repository, you are right, because we are the functional manager for the discipline.Whether or not NGA creates the geospatial product itself, we are making a lot of progress on being the repository of choice.

Please, don't get me wrong, it doesn't mean that if USGS has the archive, for, let's say, the LANDSAT cover of the United States, that we would feel the need to replicate it.We would just want to be able to point to it so that when a customer came to us and said "hey, I'm interested in North Dakota oil/shale environmental impact," or whatnot, we go, "Here's where you need to be redirected to, here are the experts, they have the archive and the like." Chart 9, I'll walk through in order; maybe this'll help a little bit.An issue that we had in the late 90's.And the issue is, quite frankly, how to limit the orders we've had to improve.Not a new dispute, actually decades, over a hundred years old.And the range in which the dispute centered was not the easiest one to survey.And, quite frankly, the two countries weren't inclined to believe the other one when they brought forward, "well, this is our assessment of the boarder and here's our way points and delineation, or demarcation." And so, State Department was actually asked by the two countries to mediate the issue and to come to some closure. State then turned to NGA, NIMA at the time, to work the issues.So, if you look at chart 10, we had both delegations come to St.Louis, which is our Geospatial Center of Excellence, the former DMA had a large amount of effort, and we still have about a third of our workforce out there. And we used mainly airborne imagery to drape over digital terrain data we had in the area.And it was, again, going back to your comment about it being a repository of all geospatial information.What we were able to do is, with a combination of the airborne on top of the terrain was to, again, provide a common context for both delegations to either make decisions or to in some cases to understand where the disagreement was about which delineation.So the service that we provided got an independent broker dispute between two parties, but it was really our ability to step back and provide context that was agreed to by both.And so, what it resulted in was, over a period of about two months, was that that context we were able to provide, that expertise to allow both parties-to give them confidence...there was in fact a middle ground, so to speak.So, by October of that year, the signing ceremony was completed and the demarcation issue settled.

FRANCICA: That's a pretty unusual application.It would seem more relevant or likely to be settled by the offices of the United Nations than of the US government to bring this to bear, unless it was done under the heading of the OAS or something like that.

CARDILLO: That's a good question, I don't know.But I guess we'd have to ask them.

BURPEE: They have those options and came to the State Department, so...

FRANCICA: Okay, well, fair enough.

CARDILLO: We're happy to help.

FRANCICA: Yeah, sure.

CARDILLO: Let me wrap up with where we're going and I won't lecture you with Slide 12.Suffice to say, the world's different post-9/11. And I do use this chart to talk about-if it's no longer efficient for us to look back and to provide historical information for what our customer says, we've got to find a way to be more aggressive and invasive and proactive against the new threat.I personally have been in the business 20 years now and grew up in the Soviet Union mindset.And in that mindset, it was a nice repeatable long-term predictable adversary.Oh, by the way it was very large and easy to find.You knew where they were going, you knew what they were doing, a lot of things were above ground and fixed and all that. Clearly today's adversary, the global war on terrorism, is quite different. Much more subtle, much more complex, and much more aware of our capabilities.

And so, the era in which we could afford to be relatively passive and relatively reactive is over.And so, again, to repeat, we're trying to find innovative ways of applying the spectrum across the entire clock, if you will, throughout the entire day to make sure we can keep the new adversary and their activities at risk.I'll use the next two charts with chart numbered, but Delivering ISR affects today is a chart that I borrowed from Lieutenant General Buchannan who runs Central Command's Air Force component, or CENTAC.And he tells it very well.Today, quite frankly, my customers will come to me and say, you know, "I need electro-optical" or "I need and imagery requirement".And we understand that, that's why they called.But what we want to do, and you can see they also go to the SIGINT discipline or MTI's Moving Target Indicator, and we'd go to those disciplines and say, "I have that kind of requirement." But what we want them to move to, is what we got on the next chart that's titled "ISR Affects Future" is, bring to us information need, the effect, operation to achieve. So, you're looking to locate enemy firing positions or identify infiltration routes, or just monitor a site for activity levels.If you tell us that and tell us the time frame of interest, we have a much better opportunity, if I ask this differently, and on this chart, from a syntax perspective of General Buchannan, it's the airborne assets.The picture on the far right there is a U2 and the pod you see on top is called an extended tether pod, which makes it accessible in near real time to the NGA architecture. The Predator that you see, hopefully, flying at the bottom, has a smaller area of view, but we've made great strides in making sure that as that video, in that case, is being collected for any of these effects.It is now included in the NGA architecture, and therefore part of the solution space.

But the point of the two charts is that we really, I need to be careful here, we're not getting out of the business of satisfying imagery requirements. That's not the point.The point is we want to provide a more responsive service to make these kinds of questions with sources and methods, and by methods I'm talking about post-processing on the ground, advanced algorithmic calculations, to answer the questions that the customer might not even know exist.Quite frankly, as our capabilities get more complex, you don't even want the customer to worry about it.You want them to worry about what's the effect.And you want them to worry about their information and then let us worry about how to go about doing it.Whether it's, again, strategy using an archive, new collect, a combination of both, or whatever.

FRANCICA: I think this brings up an interesting question, because it's one that I've asked other people as well.The satellites today that are up there, even the commercial ones, are becoming sophisticated to the point of gathering high-resolution imagery.And even though they're not on an orbital path that allows them to collect more real-time information, the need and the interest in collecting real-time information is becoming greater and greater.I think you would probably confirm that you have the ability to collect some real-time information to present to battlefield commanders.It seems to me, looking from the outside, that we're not all that far away from having a commercial satellite collect real-time data so that the news media all of the sudden might get a handle on troop movements in downtown Fallujah.And, I wonder if there's concern at the NGA that we're getting that close or that the demand for that kind of information, even if it's real-time weather information, we're closing the gap from what used to be a static piece of satellite imagery collected at a point in time and getting very near real-time, if not real-time imagery.Does that cause any concern in the intelligence agencies?

CARDILLO: Sure, let me start ...let me cheat and say we are responsive, we can provide timely support to any customer, whether it's a field commander or someone in the White House.And, on the commercial side, you're right.The commercial industry's ability, and it's not just a US ability, to image any point on the earth at better and better resolution, and more and more spectral range, and provide that data back to its customer, you know, whoever swiped a credit card, in a pretty timely way....And it depends on how you define timely, but certainly within a day or two is not out around today, it's improving all the time.Now, I'm going to ask Dave here to keep me out of trouble as to how much concern is that.

BURPEE: Yes, you know, there's the Presidential Directive and Space Policy that says, "We want the US to be number one in the commercial imagery business." And for lots of reasons.It gives us their capabilities, and if it's real good, others won't develop it, and so it will kind of US controlled.So the thought is, yes, that kind of material, those kind of pictures have always been available to our adversaries.Now it's getting to the point of what you're talking about, real-time.So, we've always had this as an OPSEC concern.I think where (Director James) Clapper, and the system is going now into the tasking processing, evaluation, distribution -- the portion so that all people knowing something at the same time, the key is getting inside the other person's decision loop.

So we need to be able to know "who can take the first action" based on knowledge at the same time.And so the systems are now being looked at not so much as peaking in the other section's collector, but all the way through.Can we collect it and do something in the shortest possible time.That's where the focus and synergy is, to address the problem, this issue as you might have.Others might have real-time knowledge of the battlefield, so isn't that a concern to us.At the NSC (National Security Council) and others they said "Well, yes, but it's overweighed by the advantages we get to be able to ingest all this information." We've always worried about OPSEC and the way we're going to approach it is being able to act on that intelligence faster and better than anybody else.

FRANCICA: Okay, yes, that's fair.

CARDILLO: Okay, I'm just going to change to slide 15, actually, this really is a chart that I can use, well, I can use it here because it's here, I like to use it up front because, you know, if I go to the Rotary Club and talk about why we spend tax dollars, money, for this company called NGA, what do our customers get out of it.I use these five bullets and it's actually captured recently in this craft of operations that we put together.It's pretty simple, but it does tell the end to end role. And I talked about a lot of this today, this morning.But at first, our customers come to us for context, you know, "where am I?" "What's it look like in my region?" "What's the terrain, what's the graphic ability?" And the like."What's in my areas of interest?"

Sometimes our customers come to us and say, "Okay, not just what's in it, but what's exactly where, the precise position?" And again, this can be navigation on seas, flying into the previously unknown or unfamiliar airport, or it can be for more traditional targeting reasons.Once we've provided that context and given precision, we do provide a watch function. We monitor that space for our customer set.

But where we really make our money is in the fourth bullet today.And that is the "so what?" question.Okay, if you've given the context, precisely positioned, you're watching the space, you've detected change in that space, what's it mean? Is it hostile, is it friendly, does it portend offensive operations, defensive operations, is it a threat to the US or its interests, or not? It's that analysis, analysts function in the fourth bullet that is providing us with the capability to get to the fifth one.It's the new business in the post 9/11 world which is once you have that understanding, what does it mean, not for today but tomorrow.And, of course, this is all of ours challenge across the intelligence community now, not just a description of the past, but a representation of the present, but some idea, some level of confidence we can provide our customers about what that means for tomorrow.So it's quite a daunting challenge, especially the fifth bullet.It kind of wraps up the "so what?" or "why did we move this?" Source operations have got to bring, again, more parts of the spectrum, more times of day, more sources whether they're government or commercial, air, ground or space based.So that we can create the greatest potential for our direct customers, and those are the analysts, to derive the information for all of those bullets, but mainly the fourth and the fifth one.

FRANCICA: As you said, it's a pretty daunting mission that you've got.So can you tell me a little bit about how you're deploying your resources to a field-based personnel, whether it's someone on the ground in Baghdad, or someone at a CIA regional affiliate office.It's a fairly trained professional that has to know where to collect the data and where in NGA you can retrieve that information and give it to their customers. Are there people deployed actively with field commanders or at the CIA regional offices?

CARDILLO: Yes, it's a mix of both, you can imagine, with the number of customers we have, we can't be with all of them.So we do strategically place what we call source management analysts, these are my experts, to work with the key points within our customer set.So that might be Tampa for Central Command, or Special Operations Command.And I say might, that is Tampa.That's not hypothetical.It is Langley, you know, it is Defense Intelligence Agency, it is the service centers, from the National Ground Intelligence Center in Charlottesville, and the Air and Space Intelligence Center in Wright Patterson.And so, NGA provides what we call NGA Support Team, I don't know how many there are, Dave, there's a lot.

BURPEE: There are NST in all the intelligence community, all of the unified commands and beyond that, and you go down, in some cases, like Iraqi Freedom, we had NST's right with the 3rd Infantry Division, we had them in the Army, right at the division level, and went forward with them as the went into combat.Small teams, with some laptop capability that could reach back to NGA, who then used its massive workforce and computing power to work on issues that just couldn't be done in the field.Service to the customer, hearing what they needed, but then knowing what to ask for, and coming up with solutions.So yes, we put NST's all the way down to combat and command level, and they include Roberts' people.People who know that if they got a person there, that person would fall in with a cartographer, an analyst, a couple other people, an admin person, and a senior 06 or higher, chief of the NST didn't used to be that way.It used to be only 3 or 4 NGA people.

FRANCICA: Well, this has been a very fruitful discussion.Thank you, both, very much for your time.


Published Friday, July 30th, 2004

Written by Joe Francica



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