NGA inducts three members into Geospatial Intelligence Hall of Fame
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency inducted three members into the Geospatial Intelligence Hall of Fame in a ceremony on May 27 at the agency’s headquarters in Springfield, VA.
Constance Babington Smith, Robert Ballew and Geoffrey Langsam join a group of trailblazers in the United States’ highly technical, complex and analytical world of geospatial intelligence.
Babington Smith was a pioneer in the field of aircraft-based photographic interpretation and is the first Commonwealth partner to be inducted into the Geospatial Intelligence Hall of Fame. Following the outbreak of World War II, she joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force in support of the Royal Air Force as a photographic interpreter. She was later assigned to the Central Interpretation Unit at RAF Medmenham, where she commanded the Aircraft and Aircraft Industry section. Following victory in Europe, Constance Babington Smith transferred to the United States and contributed to the allied effort in the war against Japan. Her expertise and methodology significantly influenced American interpretative processes.
Ballew played an integral part in the development of the Department of Defense’s World Geodetic System 1960 and 1966. He was the technical leader at the Aeronautical Chart and Information Center for geodetic and geophysical support for the U.S. Air Force’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. Ballew’s pioneering efforts helped to enable the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and its predecessors to provide highly accurate, image-based geospatial products.
Langsam led initiatives that linked imagery intelligence with operational defense missions, enabling target development, precision strike targeting, threat analysis and mission planning. He also developed strategies to target networks and infrastructure, as well as strategies to detect and characterize foreign weapons systems and emerging asymmetric threats. He advocated for creation of and was assigned to lead the Defense Intelligence Agency Deputy Directorate for Collection and Imagery Activities in 1988. His role expanded in 1992, making him the DoD functional manager of technical collection requirements and operations. Langsam later became the first ever civilian appointed Special Assistant to Joint Staff Director of Intelligence (J2) in the Pentagon.
“Today is a time to reflect and celebrate as we pay tribute to our heritage, and three remarkable people,” said NGA Director Robert Cardillo.
Previously known as the NGA Hall of Fame, the Geospatial Intelligence Hall of Fame allows NGA to recognize those who have profoundly affected the geospatial intelligence tradecrafts whether or not they were directly associated with NGA or one of its heritage organizations. Hall of Fame inductees have clearly enhanced the direction, scope and value of GEOINT for decision makers, military commanders or other customers and partners. Criteria for Hall of Fame induction include a legacy of leadership that exemplifies the NGA tradition and core values; provision of geospatial intelligence that enabled the U.S. to resolve a national security crisis; being responsible for a technological or analytic innovation that now provides greater geospatial understanding throughout the U.S. government; or other support or sacrifices made that personified or enhanced the NGA mission.