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Association of Former Intelligence Officers Visit to NGA

Remarks as Prepared for
Letitia A. Long
Director, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
for the
Association of Former Intelligence Officers Visit to NGA
May 1, 2014

Thank you, Maura, for your kind introduction. I am glad that you are visiting us here today, and I hope you have been enjoying your first visit to our headquarters facility. I look forward to an even stronger relationship with you in the future.

Last year when I spoke with you, I shared with you how our transformation has made NGA the driver for intelligence integration. I know you have heard about how our strategy and future state vision are moving us forward. And you have heard how several key initiatives—Map of the World, Analytic Capabilities, and the Globe—are driving us toward realizing our Vision by 2018.

This afternoon you will learn about several more key areas driving the Vision. You will hear how NGA’s partnership with DIA is implementing the IC Information Technology Enterprise—IC ITE. It is the technological underpinnings for the DNI’s highest priority of intelligence integration and the infrastructure we all must have for integration to succeed. You also will learn how NGA’s Cyber GEOINT effort and our leading edge integrated working groups are reshaping the Community’s approach to analysis.

But now I would like to spend some time speaking about the future of NGA and our role in the future of the Intelligence Community. And I will end with a couple of challenges that we are facing.

Since September 11, 2001, the Community has proven in thousands of operations and in the work of our analytic cells and joint task forces that we deliver deeper insights to decision makers when we integrate our efforts, share our different approaches, and fuse our different data sets. The UBL story is a great example. That simple fact explains why the DNI is pushing integration as his highest priority.

The Community is making rapid progress toward the DNI’s goal by integrating our IT infrastructures through IC ITE and integrating our disciplines through the National Intelligence Managers. NGA is all in for intelligence integration not only because it is the right thing to do, but also our experience shows that GEOINT is the driver of integration.

That is why NGA must complete our transformation from a provider of static products into a resource for dynamic GEOINT content, analysis, and services. That is why we are building the platform for Community-wide integration. This platform will deliver the next phase of intelligence that we call immersion. By immersion, I mean living, interacting, and experimenting with the data in a multimedia, multi-sensory experience with GEOINT as its core.

Let me show you what I mean. (Show FSV Video). You saw how immersion breaks down the barriers between collectors, analysts, customers, and decision makers. Living together in this experience, they will share rich content and robust expertise. Their more meaningful, more predictive insights will occur on a scale we could not have imagined just a few years ago.

But to move toward immersion, we must build the platform. The platform is upheld by six “pillars.” You have already heard about the Map of the World, Analytic Capabilities, and the Globe. This afternoon you will hear about the Open Information Technology pillar. The other two pillars are Next Generation Collection and Research and Technology.

Let me briefly tell you about the Next Generation Collection and R&T pillars. We collect an incredible amount of data from an array of traditional and non-traditional sources. The number, the amount, and the types of data are increasingly rapidly. If that data is publicly available—that’s a key point—and we have a legitimate intelligence reason to use it, then we want to use it. And then we want to share that data--with everyone—with appropriate authorization—on the Map of the World through the Globe.

Next Generation Collection transforms how and why we collect all of that data. Next Gen Collection is going to enable us to “collect to discover” the unknowns. We are moving our customers away from how we have done things in the past—customers asking for images they need—to anticipating their needs. The difference is this: Rather than ask, “Did we image what you asked for,” we will ask, “Did we give you the insight you needed to help you solve your real problem?”

Our R&T investments include numerous partnerships, agreements, grants, and initiatives focus on three building blocks: persistence, anticipatory analytics, and immersive intelligence. Persistence means state-of-the-art research to optimize how we process Big Data from all GEOINT sources. Our goal is turn our sensors and processes into a global persistent asset. Anticipatory analytics means the ability to accurately assess and anticipate events and trends. To foster the immersive experience, we aim to increase the ability to intuit, perceive, and create meaningful insights from the vast amounts of complex content.

Together, these pillars establish a completely integrated GEOINT enterprise. Ultimately, they bring to bear the power of GEOINT to discover the unknown and deliver faster, more predictive insights to decision makers. As these capabilities work together, NGA leads the Community into the immersion phase. So, what impact will this new phase have on analysts and decision makers? Let me tell you a story.

Recall the future state video. And think about your children and grandchildren. Every day you see how they are immersed in online games and how they multi-task—texting, listening to music, using Facetime or Skype for real-time video, and doing their homework—all at the same time. My three-year-old granddaughter already knows how to use a smartphone to make calls and play games! She hasn’t started ordering off Amazon or Zappos – yet!

Now, recall from our video the young analyst, her virtual team meeting, and her virtual tag-up with the warfighter. Imagine that your child or grandchild is that young analyst or a member of her team that must answer a Combatant Commander’s urgent question. That question is to anticipate the impact of civil unrest on an unstable country, its growing humanitarian crisis, and the potential response of an embattled government.

The team must keep the COCOM, warfighters, planners, and decision makers informed in real time. They can do that because their teammates “live in the data” and collaborate through a variety of virtual environments, such as multimedia, gaming, simulations, and dynamic 3D models. As they begin their day, their automated data mining app warns them about anomalies in troop movements, puts video of overnight protests on screen, and notifies the rest of the team.

With their teammates across the IC and the DOD in a virtual meeting, they share fresh content from multiple sources and add it to their constantly evolving “model of the moment.” They use advanced natural user interfaces to share your content and navigate the model. The sound of their voices – the sweep of their hands – the touch of their fingers – the glance of their eyes quickly organize clear, meaningful visuals.
Applying advanced analytic tools to their models, the team discovers a critical unknown. They identify a network of extremists trying to infiltrate the protestors’ camp. The team anticipates that within days, the extremists will try to provoke violence in what had been peaceful protests and the government will respond with a strong crackdown.

Two other team members quickly visualize the story for senior leaders. They make their discovery and insight immediately available to key planners and COCOM analysts, uploading it to the Map of the World with instant access through the Globe. Minutes later, the Combatant Commander herself joins the team on screen and asks them to confirm their assessment, provide more details, and offer her options for action. The team stands by their judgment, shares more visuals, and discusses the implications with the Commander.

Two days later, the team—with your child or grandchild present—watches a live video feed as a multinational force raids the extremists’ camp and captures them. Living in the immersive experience, that team created cutting-edge analysis. It gave the decision maker what she really needed: more warning, more time, more space, and more options for action. Their unique insights had real consequences, and that team saved real lives. And as the parent or grandparent, you have every reason to be proud of their contribution to a critical situation.

NGA is making this dream a reality through our new platform for intelligence integration. We are driving the next phase of immersion so that our ability to predict and warn becomes the norm—not the exception. Nonetheless, we face several key challenges.

First, as I discussed with you last year, how are we going to attract, hire, train, and retain the best and brightest STEM graduates? With Wikileaks and Snowden influencing our young people and the decreasing number of STEM graduates, the problem may become worse. We need a national conversation and a government-wide approach to the solution. And I urge AFIO to take a leading role in that conversation.

Next, we face the challenges and opportunities of a global, dispersed, deployed workforce. Our workforce is in more than 100 locations around the world, supporting military, intelligence, and humanitarian missions. I understand that budget constraints are pressuring me to reduce our forward presence. But I will fight that. I will sustain our commitment to the COCOMs and our forward troops.

SOCOM Commander Admiral McRaven said at GEOINT that he cannot do his job without GEOINT sitting next to his operators. That statement is true of every Combatant Commander, every Service Intel Chief, every one of our 17 IC partners. However, as I have said, the numbers, locations, and skill sets of those deployed may change. It does not mean we will be doing less forward; it does mean we will be doing better forward.

In closing, I want to thank you again for the opportunity to share our view of the next phase of intelligence and for your support in facing our challenges. I look forward to developing an even stronger relationship with you. Thank you. I would be happy to answer a few questions.