AURORA, Colo.—The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) this week released an updated technology focus guide that for the first time delves into details of its four mission imperatives, including various technology needs, and how it will deliver these capabilities to its customers.
The mission imperatives were previously released and include assured positioning, navigation, timing, and targeting (APNT&T), accelerated tasking orchestration, data access and data capability, and analytic workflow modernization. The updated guide outlines more specific investments NGA is making to advance its mission imperatives.
“These imperatives and the technology needs within them are crucial to understanding where we’re heading,” Vice Adm. Robert Sharp, director of NGA, said on Monday during a keynote address at the annual GEOINT Symposium here. “And we know that the only way we can make them a reality is as a team. So, we look forward to working with you deliver on these together.”
Sharp also said that the updated Tech Focus Areas provides more clarity and public awareness of his agency’s needs around the four mission imperatives. The guide also includes a new graphic on how NGA must change its workflows around geospatial intelligence (GEOINT), going from human-initiated to machine-initiated, utilizing all data rather than simply prioritizing government-based sensor outputs, and enabling greater use of unclassified data to make the agency’s products more accessible.
The APNT&T mission imperative is to ensure that geospatial position and navigation data is reliable for warfighters and intelligence operations at all times. To deliver on this, the 2022 Tech Focus Areas guide says that NGA is investing in stabilizing, modernizing, and transforming the world geodetic system to streamline processes, eliminate legacy manual activities, apply artificial intelligence and machine learning, and automate standards implementation.
One project that NGA is already working on for GPS resiliency is called Magneto, which Sharp said is based on utilizing the magnetic field frozen in Earth’s crust. This magnetic navigation isn’t as accurate as GPS but has the advantage of being passive, making it nearly impossible to jam or spoof, and available all the time in any weather conditions.
NGA also needs “new and novel approaches and technologies” if the battlespace is impaired by GPS interference, global dynamic modeling, and automated precision geospatial intelligence for precise targeting points and faster delivery to warfighters and decision makers, the tech guide says.
Under the accelerated tasking orchestration imperative, the guide calls for automated strategies and mechanisms to collect data and provide tip and cue services.
The guide also references NGA’s new environment for software development and operations, what it calls NGA CORE. Sharp said this is “where we’ll build and operate software.”
Sharp highlighted a new document that NGA released last week, called The NGA Software Way, which “shows how we’ll deliver useful software faster.”