Intell agency zeroes in on apps, metrics and reform

NGA panel talks progress in top efforts in improvement

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is pursuing measures to improve the way it collects and distributes information, as well as its overall operations. Work to establish metrics, use social media and bolster identity access and management is yielding success and helping build an open environment, according to NGA officials.

One of the primary goals is to achieve more open standards that catalyze the information environment, the officials said Oct. 17 at the GEOINT 2011 Symposium in San Antonio, Texas.

“We want that as open as possible so we can insert technology as fast as possible,” said Ann Carbonell, director, national system for geospatial-intelligence expeditionary architecture at NGA.

Carbonell said her office has focused on standards for open-source infrastructure and applications, efficiencies, identity management, app store capabilities and streamlining the testing and development of new capabilities.

“We’re going to be able to make big strides in [the Defense Department] with these initiatives,” she said.

Robert Laurine, NGA west executive, said he’s considering options in apps and services – and in the analytics behind those.

“The analytics [examine] the operation of the business, understanding where content is being leveraged, how services and apps are being used across the intelligence community. We want to make sure we’re tailoring our overall investments based on what we see,” he said.

The metrics behind the new technologies and capabilities are essential and also a challenge, according to Mark Riccio, senior lead NGA disaster strategic initiative, chief FBI NGA support team.

“It’s not enough to be quantitative; you have to be qualitative,” he said.

NGA is also pursuing reform in its acquisition sphere, moving toward a more agile process.

The agency is focusing on the enterprise, end-to-end process while also enabling mission and strategic initiatives, said Tonya Crawford, NGA's director of acquisition contracts.

“The goal is to balance delivering customers what they need, when they need it [while] safeguarding our acquisition authority,” Crawford said.

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a staff writer covering military networks for Defense Systems.

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