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Royal Air Force Wyton Officers’ Mess Formal Military Dinner

June 28, 2013

Remarks as Prepared for
Letitia A. Long
Director, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
for the
Ceremony to Mark the Initial Operating Capability of Pathfinder Facility
and the Joint Forces Intelligence Group
Royal Air Force Wyton Officers’ Mess Formal Military Dinner 

“Trailblazing International Intelligence Integration”

Thank you for your introduction and your always warm welcome. I am grateful for the opportunity to respond on behalf of NGA, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Intelligence Community, and our steadfast Allies.

I’d like to recognize our partners in this great intelligence endeavor represented here tonight: from Australia, Liaison Andrew Ball, and from Canada, Nathalie Schryer, on behalf of Lt Col Lester LeBlanc; Colonel Greg Burt, commander designate for the new Intelligence Collection Group; and Colonel Erik Gjos (Pronounced JOSS), J2 for the Chief of Defence Intelligence. I would also like to recognize our New Zealand liaison who could not join us tonight, Lieutenant Commander Alastair Howieson. Thank all of you for all you do to make our strong bonds even stronger.

I also would like to thank several dignitaries who are very special both to this occasion and to our FVEYs’ alliance:

  • Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, Vice Chief of Defense Staff
  • Vice Admiral Alan Richards, Chief of Defense Intelligence
  • Brigadier Nick Davies: Congratulations on assuming command of the Joint Forces Intelligence Group and the successful stand up of the Pathfinder building and the new capability it represents.
  • Group Captain Steve Thornber, who has done so much to turn this vision into reality.
  • And especially, Air Vice Marshal Jon Rigby, the visionary who had the foresight and the determination to create this nucleus of true Allied multi-intelligence integration.

Gentleman, thank you on behalf of the US Government and our Allies for your belief in – and commitment to – this vision. This splendid Pathfinder facility and the Joint Forces Intelligence Group are blazing new paths that will transform international intelligence. We must transform as today’s challenging fiscal and international security environments are more asymmetrical and more demanding than ever before. They are too much for any one nation to face alone. We five partners have stood together against so many challenges. We have stood together for freedom against tyranny. We have shed blood, sweat, and tears together. Through two world wars – through the Cold War - and from Korea 50 years ago to Afghanistan today, we have defeated our enemies and protected our nations.

This new facility—and its total integration approach—will help us face our current crises and overcome future challenges for generations to come. We will seize this opportunity to forge stronger, more meaningful bonds in our unwavering intelligence alliance. This unique capability will serve as a major intelligence fusion center beyond anything we in the U.S. have done. 

The innovations in cross-discipline integration you make here will take Allied intelligence to new levels of collaboration.  It will serve as a bold model that we have been delighted to support. We will be equally delighted to learn from your experience and bring your best practices to our own urgent efforts to integrate our disciplines. Your innovations will act as a catalyst for unique insights. These new insights will result from the true value of our intelligence partnership—the cognitive diversity, the new perspectives, the open sharing of ideas, the close rapport our staffs will grow.

We are already taking steps that are shaping our path toward this bright future. The unprecedented Allied Systems for Geospatial-Intelligence – ASG – Coordination Cell shows our collective commitment to better align our connections. The planned ASG Integrated Working Group will bring together the best experts—analysts, developers, researchers, and more—into a physical and virtual analytic environment.  

Our analysts are already learning from each other through frequent exchanges—an effort we hope will grow rapidly to where we sit side by side as co-workers. As we have learned at NGA, the dynamic daily interactions that take place within the Pathfinder facility will produce unique insights with faster, deeper, broader, more agile analysis.

T
hese insights will create the most vital advantage we can offer—the time, space, and foresight to make the best decisions.  And we will do so for all of our partners: Decision makers to respond more wisely to international crises, commanders to execute operations more efficiently, warfighters to ‘find, fix, and finish’ foes more effectively, and first responders to save lives more rapidly.

Everyone here believes this trailblazing organization will have a huge impact on intelligence analysis. Everyone here believes in strengthening our partnership. Everyone here knows that the more closely we stand together, the better we protect our nations. 

Thank you.

Presentation of Certificate of Appreciation

Before I sit down, I have a special presentation I would like to make. Group Captain Steve Thornber, will you please join me. Steve has been the driving force that has made a large part of this magnificent vision come to life. All of us owe Steve a special debt of gratitude for his outstanding leadership. Steve, I am honored to present you with this Certificate of Appreciation from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

It reads: In grateful appreciation for your outstanding support to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in enhancing bi-lateral relations between NGA and the Ministry of Defence of the United Kingdom during the period September 2010 to August 2013. While serving as Commander of the JARIC and the Defence Geospatial Intelligence Fusion Centre, your professional leadership and technical skills, combined with your boundless enthusiasm, contributed significantly to the continued success of our special relationship. Your superb work and dedication reflect the highest credit upon yourself and the UK Ministry of Defence.

Thank you for all you have done for us, Steve, and fair winds and following seas in your next assignment as the Chief of Information Knowledge Management for the Supreme Allied Commander within Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Mons Belgium.  

END