NGA Director Cardillo: democratization of data offers NGA opportunity for transparency, public service
Encouraging the geospatial intelligence community to look at its mission through “a new lens – a lens of consequence,” National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Director Robert Cardillo said on January 21 that the agency can become a leading example of transparency, private sector collaboration and public service by the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC).
“With our new focus on consequence and NGA’s great legacy of public service, I have been encouraging NGA to become even more transparent,” Cardillo told an audience of more than 400 guests at the Intelligence and National Security Alliance’s Leadership Dinner at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View. “With more transparency, I think NGA is uniquely positioned to play a leading role to advance public confidence in the IC.”
Cardillo, who became the sixth NGA director in October 2014, cited the “democratization” of geospatial information as an impetus for NGA to partner with public and private organizations in ways unique to the IC. He attributed this democratization to the growth of Internet connectivity and the “darkening of the skies” by small satellites, drones and other airborne collectors by the private sector and public-private partnerships.
Director Cardillo noted his pride in the contributions NGA has made to humanitarian assistance and disaster recovery efforts in the U.S. and abroad, most prominently a Web site dedicated to sharing unclassified data with NGOs and health organizations combating the Ebola crisis in West Africa. He also noted NGA is the first IC agency to crowdsource its mobile apps development, encouraging public participation in improving its disaster response applications and other tools for first responders.
“We are the most open and transparent intelligence agency involved in humanitarian relief, safety of navigation, public science and research,” he said. “So we are natural integrators. Every modern local, regional and global challenge – climate change, future energy landscape and many more – has geography at its heart.”
Director Cardillo also touched on strengthening cooperation with the private sector through initiatives such as the Geospatial Solutions Marketplace. “In the GSM, companies can propose solutions and capabilities in a secure environment and get quick feedback from potential NGA customers,” he said, adding that 83 companies already have registered.
INSA began hosting Leadership Dinners to give Intelligence Community leaders a forum to discuss important issues related to their agency as well as broader national security issues. Past Leadership Dinner speakers include Admiral Mike Rogers, former National Counterterrorism Center Director Matthew Olsen and General Keith Alexander.