Intelligence officials sidestep concerns about DigitalGlobe/GeoEye merger

Intelligence officials attending the GEOINT 2012 Symposium on Oct. 9 sidestepped concerns about whether the merger of the two major providers of commercial satellite imagery would hurt the ability to collect needed intelligence.

“There has not been a change in the demand for commercial imagery,” National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Director Letitia A. Long told reporters. “What we have today is sufficient.”

She would not comment on concerns that the merger of DigitalGlobe and GeoEye might reduce the amount of available imagery in the future, except to say the NGA’s use of commercial imagery is “an enduring part of our architecture. Nothing has changed in that regard.”

The two companies announced earlier this year that they would merge. The Defense and Justice departments are reviewing the proposal.

Long did say however that “there are concerns – not necessarily with two companies merging – but with their subcontractors,” which emerged from a study of how the merger might affect the industrial base. She said she would not consider those concerns serious enough to prompt attempts to block the merger.

The NGA has contracted with both companies to provide satellite imagery amid cost-cutting in the intelligence budget that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper described in a keynote speech as a slight decline in the scope of cost increases.

“In a constrained funding environment, very hard choices have to be made,” he said.

About the Author

Charles Hoskinson is a contributing writer for Defense Systems.

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