As director of the Defense Mapping Agency from 1981 to 1983, Maj. Gen. Richard Wells provided critical leadership as the agency embarked on a $2.6 billion modernization program during the transition of the national intelligence and mapping program from a film-based program to a flexible, digital-based satellite imaging system. Wells presented the technical and funding plan through the Office of the Secretary of Defense to Congress and successfully secured the plan’s approval and funding.
In July 1983, Wells became deputy chief of engineers in the Army’s Office of the Chief of Engineers, in Washington, DC. He retired from the Army in 1984. Wells was inducted into the NGA Hall of Fame in 2004.