This portion of the NGA website will provide you with tools to understand the agency and its mission in the context of American and world history. These tools can serve a curious individual, become part of a lesson plan for a secondary school class, or provide foundation details for a university lecture. We shall continue to add resources over time, but the most basic items will always remain. These include the Advent of NGA, our historical introduction, the Historical Handbook of NGA Leaders, highlighting our leadership well back into the 1960s, and the NGA Chronology.
It is important to realize that NGA came together from multiple agencies, resources, and tradecrafts. Many of the latter are quite ancient, while others have more recently emerged. In these sources you will find the leaders of organizations like the Defense Mapping Agency (DMA), absorbed by NGA in 1996 along with its skills in maps, navigational charts, geodesy, and photogrammetry. The NGA Chronology will demonstrate that the skills inherited from DMA extend back to the very creation of our republic and beyond.
Imagery analysis emerged during World War One as a tradecraft. By the early 1960’s the National Photographic Interpretation Center (NPIC) provided President Kennedy with photos that revealed Soviet missiles in Cuba. Imagery analysis quickly rose to the top as one of the most important tradecrafts at NGA.
In 2014 we initiated an effort to commemorate the centennial of World War One and the role played by NGA’s predecessor organizations. We wish to applaud the tradecraft expertise and to honor the memory of the fallen. We have made the “Remembering World War One” cards issued at NGA available here in pdf for download.
NGA brings many diverse skills and tradecrafts to the problems facing the country and the world.
Office of the Historian, NGA