The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency launched a new pilot program in September to examine the viability of using commercial radio frequency geospatial data and analytics to support the agency’s intelligence products.
The pilot program is a limited scope, experimental effort that looks at how commercial RF data can be delivered to analysts at NGA and military combatant commands to augment existing intelligence activities.
“We are pleased with the pilot’s progress so far and the initial results associated with the commercial RF data and analytics have been positive,” said NGA’s Scot Currie, director, Source operations group, which is responsible for overseeing GEOINT collection from current and emerging data sources. “This pilot is an example of NGA’s commitment to exploring how we can integrate new and emerging commercial data sources into our analytic platforms to better support our mission partners’ needs.”
The commercial RF collected as part of this effort is being examined to support a variety of GEOINT applications, such as using RF geolocations for mapping and tipping and cueing of other data sources, including electro-optical and radar imaging satellites. NGA is working closely with its partners at the combatant commands to explore how data from this pilot can improve maritime awareness and cooperation with regional allies through shareable unclassified data and analytics.
“One of our challenges is to look at how we can take non-traditional data and services that are not pixel-based – like RF geolocations – and explore how we can apply these sources to be more responsive to the needs of our defense and intelligence partners,” said NGA’s Dave Gauthier, director, Source commercial business and operations group. “Moving forward, we want commercial industry to develop automated imagery exploitation algorithms, bringing multiple sources together, including RF geolocations, so we have a stream of information and activity updates feeding our national security algorithms.”
NGA is leveraging a National Reconnaissance Office’s commercial integration study contract with HawkEye 360, to access commercial RF data. The data is then integrated via NGA’s Predictive GEOINT Prototype, which supports an agile development approach for exploring new commercial sources and analytics that can support NGA’s partners.