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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

We have had some discussion on the pages of Directions Magazine regarding how some civilian federal agencies of the U.S. Government are tapping the geospatial resources of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), whose mission is to support intelligence ad military operations. Normally, these agencies might look to the USGS. I asked both the former direnctor, General James Clapper (ret.), and the current director, Vice Admiral Robert Murrett if they believed that the NGA was properly positioned to support the civilian agencies with respect to the stress already placed on the NGA for military/intel missions. Murrett believes they are properly balanced and that the agency is very proud of their work with FEMA and other embedded teams of NGA analysts in other agencies. Clapper believes that certain circumstances regarding funding of USGS operations is creating some impact on the NGA mission. He suggests that it may be wise to transfer some mapping capabilities that had been with the USGS to other agencies, perhaps the NGA. So, the question becomes: Is there a real concern that the USGS is still the lead agency, with the proper skill set, to support civilian mapping needs? Are we correctly focusing the necessary funding to keep the USGS "alive" given the problems besetting the agency’s organizational problems?

by Joe Francica on 11/14 at 03:47 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

At GEOINT, at the afternoon plenary panel on "Challenges for the GEOINT Community" moderated by Michael Jones, CTO of Google Earth, the lack of a skilled workforce continued as a major theme as mentioned in the early blog post. I was expecting to hear more on policy and geospatial technology transfer but much of the discussion turned to what Dr. Leo Hazelwood, Sr. VP and GM of SAIC, called "a missing generation in the workforce." Hazelwood indicated that because of the drawdown in funding intelligence agencies in the ‘90s that the country is lacking experienced workers necessary to stand up the agencies responsible for intelligence analysis. "The workforce is skilled but enormously green," said Hazelwood. He also said that many young workers are looking for different things in their careers and that many may not hang around for 30 years in the civil service. Jones mentioned that some organizations don’t allow their workers to fail. "Failure is the first step in creativity," he said.

by Joe Francica on 11/14 at 03:22 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

I got my regular update from Scott Tatro earlier this month noting that summary judgement submissions from both side in the case were due November 10th. (I’ve found nothing in the press on the case; I’ve been looking for Web info on it daily for many months.)

Tatro notes that the National Association of Realtors has put together a legal fund that tops $1.2 million. He also is confident the patent holder will win:

Even a curt review of these case documents [which he offers to share with the press] will demonstrate that the outcome has become heavily weighted in favor of the patent holder.  Documentation of endless Delays, Distraction, and Destruction of evidence help to map out what appears to be the only path on which the NAR believes that they may now proceed.


by Adena Schutzberg on 11/14 at 12:44 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Former Congressman Tim Roemer, a member of the 9-11 Commission reviewing the events of September 11th, 2001 and future recommendations for changes in government provided a keynote address at GEOINT on the issues of terrorist insurgency. He indicated that al-Qaida is using very professional means to communicate their messages to the young insurgents. In the war of ideals, Roemer said, "We can not afford to be out-communicated."

by Joe Francica on 11/14 at 12:06 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Dr. John Stopher, Budget Director for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence said that, "I think there is the idea that there is mixed news," regarding the change in leadership to a Democratically-controlled Congress. He believed the change in leadership has more to do with fighting the war than with spending for intelligence. "I would say that support for intelligence by Democrats should be as strong as from Republicans. I would be surprised at any reductions (in spending on intelligence.)"

by Joe Francica on 11/14 at 11:55 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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