AURORA, Colo.—The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) will pick up an ongoing effort to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) being applied to geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) with the goal being to quickly leverage the technology to provide warfighters and decisionmakers at the pace of their missions, the head of the agency said on Monday.

The shift of the GEOINT AI services component from Project Maven to NGA from the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security is contained in the Defense Department’s recent fiscal year 2023 budget request to Congress, Vice Adm. Robert Sharp said at the annual GEOINT Symposium.

These responsibilities include labeled data, AI algorithms, test and evaluation, and the platform, Sharp said.

NGA already has existing efforts to apply AI and ML algorithms to “enable GEOINT analysis at scale,” and combined with the Project Maven component it will give the agency “strategic leadership and a corporate approach to GEOINT AI investments,” he said.

“In the months to come, we’ll be calling on industry as we progress with this great responsibility,” Sharp said. “We want to move forward together, so we can deliver GEOINT at the pace that our warfighters and decisionmakers needs. We have to be able to keep up with the rapidly emerging digital trends. We have to be able to accelerate our ability to provide detections at the speed of mission, to give our customers tactical, operational and strategic advantage.”

Beginning in FY ’23, NGA will bring to bear its AI/ML and related work on computer vision to automate delivery of “GEOINT detections” to the intelligence community and warfighters, Sharp said. NGA will apply its expertise to train the delivery system, he said.

“We’ll bring together those disparate, sometimes siloed communities of machine learning experts, develop standards, and lead interoperability efforts for the GEOINT community,” Sharp said. “The bottom line is that we’ll be able to lead and coordinate the GEOINT community in the AI programs that have already been started and continue applying them directly to mission.”

Sharp, who is retiring in June, also outlined an effort by NGA for a backup to GPS that is based on the magnetic field frozen in Earth’s crust and would create resiliency to the current position, timing and navigation system. The Magneto effort is passive and “not quite as accurate as GPS” but works all day long in all weather conditions and is mostly jam and spoof-proof, he said.

The Navy and Air Force are already requesting Magnetic Navigation products, he said.