New NGA Director Sees #GEOINT App Store for Warfighter
Letitia Long, the newly appointed director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), replacing Admiral Robert Murrett, spoke for the first time at the GEOINT conference today (read her prepared remarks from her keynote). Long has a lengthy resume in the intelligence community (IC) and was recommended by Jim Clapper, the director of national intelligence (DNI) for her new post. She articulated a vision for the agency based on needs she experienced while working as the second in command at the Defense Intelligence Agency.
During her remarks at the GEOINT conference, Long said that she wants to provide online and on-demand access to NGA’s knowledge as well as access to content, services, expertise and support plus the tools that allow users to serve themselves. She wants to create new value for NGA’s expertise and interject human geography with other resources. Long said, “I want to fundamentally change the user’s experience.” By “user’s” Long is referring to forward deployed personnel in theater as well as coalition partners. Having seen the potential of the agency she now commands she commented that, “Nobody will go to war without us.”
Long wants to create a “GEOINT Store Front” based loosely on a commercial “app store” model for specific application areas to support many geospatial functional areas thereby . Longs sees this as a way to improve discoverability of NGA’s products and to empower developers to create apps. She believes that a warfighter working on an iPad is the ideal candidate for someone developing a custom “common operational picture” specifically for their immediate purpose.
She said she wants to empower users to give them a selection of services and to leverage social media and crowd sourced information. As such she said that she wants to make more data available online so as to free up NGA staff for doing more of the advance applications. Long sees the need to create value in her agency by broadening and deepening the NGA’s analytical expertise and move toward a participatory posture. “If we can use our GEOINT expertise, before crises arise… we will have given policy makers more time to consider policy options,” said Long.Though her vision is much more in tune with technology than Murrett’s I found her presentation muted and steeped in typical government speak. Long on vision and short on specifics. Perhaps she needs to work into her role but her vision is too broad. She’ll need to become much more knowledgeable about the technology to speak more impactfully about the direction of the organization and the applications of geospatial information.
See the video with her complete remarks.
[Disclosure: The USGIF supported a portion of travel costs to the conference this year.]