National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) director Letitia Long addressed the GEOINT Symposium and announced that her analysts spend too much time looking for data. The NGA and other agencies of the intelligence community (IC) are moving toward a "common IT desktop" being spearheaded by several groups including the Department of Defense and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. By March 2013, and in collaboration with the Defense Intelligence Agency and NGA, over 2,000 IC employees will transition to the Common Desktop Environment (CDE) with the goal of 60,000 by March 2014.
The objective is to enable geospatial analysts to log on from anywhere in the IC to get to data and applications. No more tunneling through networks or finding a computer that belongs to your own agency. This common infrastructure will enable certain efficiencies and to scale exploitation needs as necessary.
Long also wants more collaboration between agencies. Long wants her clients to access data when they need it but also to add back to NGA data sotres when enhancements are made. In return, the NGA is willing to host it and share it back out to the community. The hope is that by exposing content to tens of thousands of users that there will be innovative applications and use cases that are "unthought-of by anyone at NGA today," said Long. But she acknowledges that they have to deal with the data metrics and integrity, and ensure the data quality from others. "We need your help to understand this," says Long.
Long sees certain challenges regarding a compensation model for those building applications for NGA. Long wants to move to a commercial-based compensation model. "We want developers creating apps speculatively," said Long. The NGA has 150 apps in their app story today and 80% of them are created by NGA personnel. However, Long wants to see at least 75% developed privately next year as a way to embody more innovation.
On sequestration, Long was very direct. "If it happens they way it is set out today it will absolutely be devastating," she said. Longs said that it will allow NGA to manage the risks. However, putting aside the specter of budget cuts, her vision is all about being ready for streamlining operations. "[NGA is] all about efficiency and doing things in a more efficient way," said Long. Having one authoritative copy of data is one example. NGA proposes to "Store it once, cut down on storage and take advantage of the open IT environment.
According to a statement release by director Long's office her vision is four-fold:
- Providing easy, intuitive access to content
- Implementing an open IT environment to allow data sharing
- Creating a new delivery model for content and services - self assisted and full service.
- Deepening analysis that takes advantage of a riher source mix.
So far, according to NGA, 40% of its content stores are available with the goal of 100% by July 2013.
A video of Director Long's remarks are available below.