Good morning! I’m happy to join with you, the members of the
Hydrographic Society of America here at the US Hydro 2015 Conference.
forum is often cited as the chief source of information on how agencies
can find, access and use CI, as well as an opportunity to hear the
latest in sensor capabilities and applications, emerging technologies,
CI policy and user success stories.
It is a privilege to be one
of the organizing partners with the National Oceanographic and
Atmospheric Administration – NOAA – and the U.S. Navy Naval Meteorology
and Oceanography Command. I also am proud to note that one of NGA’s own,
Chris Andreasen, former NGA Hydrographer, will be inducted into the
Hydrography Hall of Fame later today. Chris, congratulations and thank
you for your decades of service to NGA and our predecessors, to the
hydrography community, and to the nation!
This annual event and
this large turnout speaks volumes about the critical nature of what you
do. For generations, the hydrographic community has played a key role to
ensure safe global navigation, promote positive international
relations, protect the environment, and above all, protect national
As Director of NGA, I pledge to sustain our status as a
premier hydrographic office and support our efforts to enhance our
safety of navigation missions.
Before I introduce our keynote
speaker, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode Island, let me take a
brief moment to discuss NGA, what we do, and why it is important to you.
The world has been growing markedly less stable. We face more and
more diverse crises than at any time during the past 50 years.
every major crisis in international relations involves the hydrography
community and what we do. Consider traditional geopolitical matters such
as the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. It clearly concerns
access to and control of the Black Sea.
Iran has shown every
intention of being able to control access to the Persian Gulf. Of
course, 40 percent of the world’s oil supply sails through the Straits
of Hormuz every year. And the world economy would be severely damaged if
conflict blocked those straits.
The statements – and actions –
of religious extremists in Yemen and Egypt show they understand the
vital importance of the Gulf of Aden, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Suez
The disagreements over sovereignty over islands in the
South China Sea involve vital ocean lines of communication as well as
control over vast natural resources. And one area with which NGA is
seriously concerned is climate change and its impact on the Arctic. NGA
has aligned our long-time interests in the Arctic region with 2013
Department of Defense Arctic Strategy.
We support a wide variety
of Arctic Strategy missions, especially to: preserve freedom of the
seas, improve domain awareness, support allies and civil authorities,
support human and environmental safety, and help to develop the Arctic
Equally important, NGA is an essential enabler of the
scientific study of the region and supports a wide range of Polar
NGA is also known for its massive
efforts to support ocean-based disaster recovery efforts, especially
remapping damaged areas. From Hurricane Katrina and Operation Deep Water
Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico to the Indian Ocean Tsunami, NGA has
contributed millions of dollars and tens of thousands of manhours to
make – and keep – the world’s maritime charts as accurate as possible.
we have partnered with many of you in the room today and your fine
organizations to ensure that the seas remain open and safe for every
vessel that transits U.S. waters.
I could continue to list
crisis after crisis, but the one constant is that the United States
hydrographic community remains a world leader in addressing these
complex problems. As your partner, NGA is the nation’s leading provider
of geospatial intelligence related to hydrography. We hold the
privileged responsibility of providing dynamic, persistent, accurate
intelligence that guides our maritime customers’ decisions and actions.
who sails a US ship, flies a US aircraft, goes into harm’s way on the
ocean, responds to maritime disasters, or even navigates a vessel or
uses a cellphone with GPS relies on NGA. We do not make the GPS system,
but we do help make sure it is accurate.
So, I cannot overstate
the importance of hydrography to the nation and to NGA’s maritime safety
and naval mission. Hydrographic offices throughout the world support
safety of navigation, maritime security, and environmental protection.
They improve the accuracy of hydrographic information on a global basis.
Technological developments have led to greater accuracy in
hydrographic surveys, faster compilation of digital nautical charts and
documents, as well as improved coverage to foster today’s maritime
NGA seeks to automate our processes and be “machine to
machine” so we can provide more accurate charts and improve coverage.
Our work in hydrography has created another vital opportunity for NGA.
It helps us to lead the Intelligence Community in being transparent and
open about what we do.
We are making our content and
applications more openly available and more transparent. One very
pertinent example is our new safety of navigation app available on the
iTunes App Store and Google Play. Called the Anti-Shipping Activity
Message, or ASAM, interactive database, the mobile app includes the
geographic location and reported accounts of hostile acts – piracy,
robbery, hijacking and kidnapping – against ships and their crews and
Now, every sailor, whether a captain of an oil
tanker or the owner of a private yacht, can know where pirates are
active and whether they could be sailing into dangerous waters. The app
has been downloaded hundreds of times of the iTunes App Store and on
But one app is the least of NGA’s growing
contribution to hydrography. Our seamless, dynamic Map of the World
enables customers to visualize and access integrated content fixed to
accurate and authoritative geographic features on the earth. Through the
map, our customers can see a unified, online, geospatial, temporal and
relational view of the world.
And since 70 percent of the
world’s surface is water, it is obvious that the integration of our
foundation GEOINT with our navigation datasets, feature data, imagery,
and intelligence can play a huge role in maritime and naval safety and
The Map of the World serves as the basis for the IC’s
object-based production environment and as the geospatial bedrock of all
intelligence, information and knowledge. We can integrate many
different types of intelligence because we offer a common frame of
reference that brings together multiple sources of information about one
Customers can access the map through multiple security
domains, on multiple devices, and they can customize it as needed.
Today, it is available on all three domains.
An important aspect
of this map is that it displays not only NGA-generated data, but also
data generated by our partners, and the origin of all data is easily
accessible. It has been developed by a partnership between NGA and
numerous industry partners. Furthermore, some 80 percent of our
foundation data, including our maritime data, is provided by commercial
sources. Simply, we desire to partner with industry – not compete.
is indispensable to everything we do in our hydrographic work. We draw
on technologies and methodologies from other agencies, our military
partners, our allies, industry, and academia. We want to benefit from
industry’s creativity. And if you think we’re headed into a space that
industry can better fill, tell us.
Before I conclude and
introduce our keynote speaker, I want to mention a couple of Information
Technology – IT – projects underway.
They will migrate us to a
future enterprise architecture that fully supports the S-100 line of
products, especially all current Maritime product lines from a single
feature database. In addition, this same database will house the data
for other Domains, including Aeronautical and Topographic, to build
their products and be the base feature layer of the Map of the World. An
Initial Operating Capability for both is planned for later this year.
architecture will unify all of our hydrographic and maritime data and
save our customers hours and days of time searching for data and
building charts. Rather than searching multiple databases, they will be
able to go to the Map of the World. And through a series of simple menus
and clicks, they will be able to access all of our content and
In conclusion, NGA remains committed to be a vital partner to the national and global hydrographic community.
It’s now my pleasure to introduce the Honorable Sheldon Whitehouse, Senator from Rhode Island, the Ocean State.
Whitehouse is a graduate of Yale University. But those of us who live
in this area can also claim him since he received his law degree from
the University of Virginia School of Law.
After many years of
public service, in 2006 he was elected to the US Senate where he now is
in his second term. Coming from the “Ocean State,” Senator Whitehouse is
a great advocate of understanding and protecting our oceans. He knows
that the health of our economy and the security of our way of life
depend on the health of our maritime environment.
In fact, he
founded the Senate Oceans Caucus to promote creative, bipartisan policy
solutions to protect our oceans, our coasts, and the people and
economies that rely on them.
As a forceful voice for action on
the challenges of climate change and its impact on the seas, he also
joined with Representative Henry Waxman to form a bicameral Task Force
on Climate Change to tackle this essential issue. And by the way,
Senator Whitehouse receives constant encouragement for his support at
his home in Newport. His wife, Sandra is a marine biologist and
So without further ado, it is my honor and privilege to introduce Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.
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