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Senator Warner talks innovation, commercial technology with NGA employees

 Feb. 5, 2016

 Michelle Hankins
 National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

Photo by Tony Boone, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
Photo by Tony Boone, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia encouraged innovation, commercial technology and pushing the current boundaries of how the government does business during a visit Feb. 1 to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency headquarters at North Fort Belvoir in Springfield, Virginia.

Warner has spent the last five years of his seven-year tenure in the Senate on the Select Committee on Intelligence. During this assignment, he became familiar with the intelligence community and NGA’s role to provide geospatial intelligence in support of the Department of Defense, he said.

“The mission of NGA has never been more important,” said Warner in his second visit to the agency since 2013.

According to Warner, NGA’s mission is only going to grow in terms of mapping and the ability to notice change and monitor potential adversaries around the world.

Warner’s visit came as NGA Director Robert Cardillo has encouraged more transparency and an increased use of innovative and unclassified solutions to address national security challenges. Warner echoed this sentiment, saying he wants to constantly “nudge” the agency and its workforce to think broadly.

Specifically, Warner recommended innovative thinking about the use of commercial technology, noting the growing acknowledgement from NGA’s leadership about better use of commercial technologies.

“I think there is going to be a remarkable transformation,” Warner said. “I couldn’t believe as somebody who’s been an observer of this sector just over the last three to five years, the enormous kind of upsurge of capability on the commercial side and how we use that in a more effective manner.”

The more work the intelligence community can do in the unclassified space, the better, Warner said. “That gives us the capability to engage with a broader set of individuals,” he said.