Letitia Long, Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) Press Conference Transcript #geoint2011

By Joe Francica


Below are remarks delivered by Letitia Long (photo at right courtesy of the NGA), the Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) during a press conference held on October 17, 2011 at the GEOINT Symposium in San Antonio, Texas. The press conference was held just after her remarks to the general audience. The transcript below are of the remarks were made before opening it up to questions from the press.

Thanks to you all for being here.
I'd just like to spend a couple minutes amplifying or reemphasizing a few points that I just made.
Last year I announced a vision to put the power of GEOINT into the hands of the users. One thing I didn't say while I was standing  up there and it was kind of a given is that in addition to all of the great work that we've had underway way over the last year in implementing the vision … we've been doing our day jobs. So, there's a lot going on in the world every single day and GEOINT has been right there. So, in addition to the Osama bin Laden operation which you've certainly have heard plenty about, Director Clapper (DNI) referenced the number of the other operations that have taken place over the past year where GEOINT was really at the heart of things.
Likewise, our support to the humanitarian assistance and disaster recovery arena; think of the natural disasters we've had over the last year; the tornadoes in the mid-west; all of the flooding in the mid-west, the wildfires in California, Texas, Oklahoma, as well as hurricane season. So, we are not just responding to those, we are trying to anticipate; we are always working with FEMA in that area and then of course the regular military operations. We've got a number of folks still in Iraq. Our numbers are actually growing still in Afghanistan as well we still have folks deployed elsewhere around the world in support of our military forces.
So, our up tempo beat is extremely high to begin with and at the same time I am asking the workforce, I'm asking the whole GEOINT enterprise to innovate, to modernize, to take GEOINT to the next level. And I think that I demonstrated in there; I think I actually showed you that we've been pretty busy this past year; we have delivered concrete applications not only to FEMA but some of our other customers within the Department of Homeland Security; to our military forces and so I said we've been busy and we've been very successful. And so what I really wanted to do here is just emphasize that and to say that we've been doing our day jobs as well as innovating. We have been creating … well we have been creating new value; we've been creating new value from the standpoint of the applications that we have delivered; they are going to save a lot of time and money; they are going to save lot of our partners time and money and again it's been freeing up our analysts to work on the harder issues, the enigma that are out there and we'll continue on this path.
We have irreversible momentum; we are going in the right directions; we are getting tremendously positive feedback from all of our users out there and basically what they are saying is, 'can you do more and can you do it faster.' So, that's what we are going to continue to do over this next year. 
The other thing that I would like to amplify and I mentioned this a bit in my remarks is our new headquarters at Geocampus East at Fort Belvoir North in Springfield Virginia. We have consolidated our east coast workforce in one location and it is purpose-built for our business. We have the luxury of being able to modernize our infrastructure virtualize a lot of the applications that our analysts use to again make them more efficient. When it used to take hours to days to pull archived imagery we can not do that in minutes to hours; huge improvement. In fact some of our analysts will tell you that they didn't even bother to order archived imagery sometimes because it would just take too long and it would be past the point of being useful. Archived imagery is pretty important if you want to show the before and after of what's going on now.
The facility was also built with collaboration in mind and we are already realizing the benefits of that…sometimes there is no replacement for a face to face meeting…and we have our folks who are doing the R&D sitting with our analysts; we have our collection managers sitting with our analysts. And the way in which we are organized, we actually had all our R&D efforts all out in one location; we had analysts in two different locations and we had our collection managers in a totally different location. So,  just those physical boundaries sometimes precluded collaboration. And now having everyone all in one place…the level of energy is noticeably different as you walk through the halls. Some folks say, 'we're standing taller.'

Published Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Written by Joe Francica

Published in

Location Intelligence

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