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Statement for the Record before the House Armed Services Committee

April 4, 2014

Statement for the Record
before the
House Armed Services Committee
Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats, and Capabilities
on the
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s
Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Request
Letitia A. Long
Director, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency 

Chairman Thornberry, Ranking Member Langevin, and distinguished members of the Committee. Thank you for the opportunity to discuss the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2015 and for your continued interest in efforts to provide and enhance defense intelligence.

I am very pleased to appear here with Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, Dr. Vickers, and my fellow Directors of the Defense Intelligence Combat Support Agencies. In my more than 30 years of working in defense intelligence, the cooperation and collaboration between our agencies has never been stronger.

Mapping and imagery analysis, now known as geospatial intelligence or GEOINT, is the analysis of information from a number of unique and highly technical sources that describe, assess, and visually depict physical features and geographically-referenced activities on Earth. Today, GEOINT serves as the driver for intelligence integration because everything in the world is somewhere at some time. As the lead federal agency for GEOINT, NGA is the primary provider of this information to the defense community, military commanders, decision makers, troops deployed in harm’s way, and first responders. NGA products and services inform mission planning, combat operations, strategic warning, precision targeting, counterterrorism operations, counter proliferation, GPS navigation, and humanitarian assistance and disaster response.

As an example, NGA produces and sustains global aeronautical and maritime safety of navigation information for military flight crews and sailors, as well as civil mariners. This effort includes charting over 116 million square miles of ocean, and maintaining over 6,000 charts for surface and subsurface navigation. The Agency is also responsible for maintaining electronic files on over 45,000 airfields worldwide, producing 14,000 aeronautical navigation charts annually, and providing data for use in cockpit navigation systems and pilots’ portable electronic devices.

A second example of the contribution of GEOINT is the integrated temporal and spatial view of the battlespace that NGA provides to combatant commanders and policymakers. By revealing threat force capabilities, locations, patterns of activities, relationships, and infrastructure across the globe, NGA helps commanders and policymakers hold adversaries at risk. The intelligence that NGA provides every day is critical to the planning and operations of intelligence agencies and military units fighting to protect all Americans.

Our workforce is a highly skilled and diverse mix of over 14,500 civilian, military, and contractor personnel. These dedicated individuals possess specialized and extensive experience in geographic fields and image science, and in managing the capabilities of a complex satellite constellation, mapping and charting on a global scale, analyzing various imagery sources, and building scale models of buildings and installations. NGA personnel have deployed to conflict zones more than 5,000 times since 2001, where they are embedded alongside military and intelligence personnel and participate in mission planning, execution, and follow-up. In addition, we have a presence at all ten combatant commands and eight partner departments and agencies – including CIA, DIA, NSA, and the Service Science and Technology Intelligence Centers.

In the broadest terms, the vision that drives NGA’s workforce is putting the best GEOINT possible in the hands of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen. NGA is realizing our vision by ensuring our information is discoverable, accessible and easy-to-use, and that we are broadening and deepening our analytic expertise. We continuously seek to produce new value to warfighters – whether through a map, technical analysis, or a specialized interactive product.

One direct example of NGA’s contributions is the Agency’s well-earned reputation for our work with special operating forces. In the 2011 raid of the Usama bin Laden compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, NGA provided imagery and terrain analysis, physical models of the compound itself, and other GEOINT that contributed to that mission’s success.
I also want to add that our GEOINT saves lives. NGA contributes to international response and recovery operations, such as in the aftermath of the devastating Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in November 2013. During that crisis, we provided U.S. military and international disaster response organizations with time critical access to our content and expertise. As the response shifted to recovery, Admiral Locklear, Commander of the Pacific Command and the US lead for our disaster response said “The efforts of your team undoubtedly contributed to saving countless lives and alleviated much suffering. The positive impact will long endure in the minds of the people of the Philippines.”

NGA continually strives to improve how the Agency provides this rapid, impactful GEOINT to warfighters and policymakers, and our FY2015 budget request is focused on accelerating our transition from a traditional product provider to a leading edge content and services provider. It includes continued investments that will enable GEOINT to be the foundation upon which NGA and our mission partners layer and synthesize information into a common, integrated intelligence picture.

The FY2015 budget request includes funding for expanding our analytic capabilities and next generation collection strategies to anticipate evolving national security threats, shaping and retaining a skilled and diverse workforce, and expanding protections against insider and cyber threats.

These investments are aligned with a number of long-term strategic initiatives NGA is pursuing to continuously improve our contributions to the warfighter and the Intelligence Community as a whole. Three initiatives I want to highlight today are Map of the World, the Globe, and Activity Based Intelligence.

The Map of the World will serve as the central hub for integrated intelligence. The Map of the World presents a cohesive view of collection from across the Community, including mapping information for military operations, GEOINT observations, and NGA analytic products, data, and models. Just as Google Maps and Google Earth have brought location to the Internet, the Map of the World is bringing location and authoritative content to the IC and DoD, enabling faster decision cycles and anticipatory analysis.

The Globe will be the single NGA gateway for discovery, presentation, and access to integrated intelligence. The Globe will become an immersive intelligence experience for NGA customers, and is the organizing principle for many of the other GEOINT products and services I have mentioned, such as Map of the World. The Globe is being designed with the customer in mind, and its development is centered on the concept that packaging and presentation of knowledge is adaptive and based on consumption. This is especially relevant for warfighters who will be able to access managed content that conveys an integrated and evolving intelligence picture, in a unified, consistent manner, in real time, as they prepare for and execute operational missions.

Activity Based Intelligence, or ABI, is our method for modeling the known and discovering the unknown. ABI is a set of algorithms for improving analytic tradecraft through discovery of key intelligence patterns hidden in masses of data. ABI is enabled by a set of automated and manual processes that structure GEOINT data in a way that allows us to expose our content and analysis to our intelligence partners and facilitates discovery of unknown objects and relationships and the sharing of that understanding. NGA’s FY2015 budget provides resources for the development of capabilities to create analytic models and strategies to help us align our technological, personnel, and collection resources to help our analysts discover signatures, patterns, and relationships hidden in the GEOINT data. As warfighters begin to have better access to this information, they will go into combat better prepared and with the situational awareness to increase the success of their missions.

Before I close, I would like to comment on the damage wrought on the nation’s Intelligence Community by the recent NSA contractor compromise of classified data. As intelligence professionals we understand the profound harm this betrayal of trust can have on U.S. national security. In time, this information will help our enemies devise more sophisticated ways to elude detection, which will make our work harder and threaten the safety of all Americans. We know a substantial amount of classified information has been compromised, including NGA products and information. NGA has been working, as part of the IC-wide task force, to determine the impact of disclosure of this information on our missions, activities and personnel. We must recognize that what happened at NSA could have happened anywhere, and the need to protect our classified information from purposeful and unauthorized disclosure falls to all members of the national security community. Finally, more engagement is needed to maintain the public’s trust and I look forward to working with you and my colleagues in the Intelligence Community to make that a reality.

Today’s world demands timely, relevant, and accurate intelligence, which requires NGA to be flexible and adaptable, and deliver deeper insights faster than ever before. At NGA, we are driving toward a new, more engaging experience for analysis across the intelligence and defense enterprise that allows us to know what we should know, see what our adversaries cannot, and act first. Our FY2015 budget request better positions NGA to add additional depth to our analyses for policymakers and warfighters, including faster decision cycles and anticipatory analysis.

As the nation prepares for the asymmetric challenges of the future, we will continue to adapt our investments in technology, our workforce skills, and our analytical techniques in ways that leverage the tools and methodologies I have described to produce the most valued intelligence information. The investments we are making in the areas I have described will drive NGA to achieve a fully integrated and engaged GEOINT enterprise.

On behalf of the women and men of NGA, thank you for the support we receive from this Committee.