Monday, December 05, 2005
NGA Reinventing Itself
All right, I've "slacking" on my posting. Reason? I've been extremely busy at work and actually outside work too.
Anyway, part of what I've been researching it's the use of commercial satellite imagery for intelligence and disaster relief by our national intelligence agencies, particularly the National Geospatial Agency (NGA).
The agency is providing much of their support to the Hurricane Katrina and Pakistan earthquake relief efforts using commercial satellite imagery.
This type of high-resolution commercial satellite imagery (1-meter resolution and better) will continue to play an increasingly important role in supporting the imagery needs of our government when it comes to disaster relief and military operations.
So far NGA has been one of the biggest customers of this commercial technology, after recognizing that these commercial satellites provide a much welcomed force multiplier to complement our government satellite systems.
Space Imaging is one of the companies that currently provides high-resolution satellite imagery.
Another company that's involved in this sector is Orbimage. This commercial provider of earth imagery products actually acquired Space Imaging last September.
Orbimage has the high-resolution OrbView-3 satellite in orbit, capable of providing 1-meter resolution imagery.
Last September too, Orbimage received new orders totaling $6.1 M under its ClearView contract with NGA. Clearview is a NGA-commercial satellite sector partnership by which the U.S. government buys imagery collected by existing commercial satellites.
DigitalGlobe is another commercial firm that provides high-resolution earth imagery products and which also supported the Katrina relief with imagery products.
I see all this as the start of the reinvention of NGA from a sluggish government organization to a more agile -and disembodied- enterprise that will closely resemble a professional service firm that delivers outstanding services to its clients. These clients include anything from local, state, and federal agencies involved in disaster relief, to the warfighters on our war on terror.
I am optimistic (optimism ain't for wussies) that our intelligence agencies will be forced to further break with tradition and will be forced -mainly due to "competition" from virtual organizations like al Qaeda and the like- to completely reinvent themselves in the next 15 years. One step towards this reivention is to borrow a page from Forrest Gump: "Don't own nothin' if you can help it. If you can, even rent your shoes."