National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency creating space intel hub

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency creating space intel hub

ORLANDO — The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is creating a hub for space intelligence collection and decision-making that its director hopes will improve collaboration among government agencies.

NGA Director Vice Adm. Frank Whitworth said May 6 the Joint Mission Management Center will integrate data collected from the Defense Department, various intelligence agencies and international partners. While the center, dubbed JMMC, is still in the concept phase, he said the agency is working quickly to get it up and running.

“Integration is the right thing to do,” he said in a speech at the GEOINT Conference in Orlando. “The JMMC is going to be the way of the future for us in this regard. It will be critical to unifying DOD, IC and allied GEOINT collection operations that deliver decision advantage at speed and scale during competition, crisis and combat.”

NGA is the intelligence community’s lead organization for analyzing satellite imagery and turning it into usable data. Whitworth said the need for a collaborative center is being driven in part by an increasingly dynamic threat environment that requires better data from multiple intelligence sources.

Government agencies have a tendency to manage data in stovepipes, he noted. NGA wants JMMC to provide a place for distinct space organizations to stitch together a more complete picture from the intelligence they gather – one that relies less on assumptions and more on trusted information.

“Space is a vast domain where many organizations operate, but it’s no place for a stovepipe – or multiple stovepipes,” Whitworth said. “It requires a joint or integrated approach, were we all work together.”

JMMC will not only provide a venue for collaboration, it will also take advantage of advanced intelligence collection capabilities, he told reporters in a briefing after his speech.

“It’s going to rely on better and better speed based on better and better code,” Whitworth said.

Courtney Albon is C4ISRNET’s space and emerging technology reporter. She has covered the U.S. military since 2012, with a focus on the Air Force and Space Force. She has reported on some of the Defense Department’s most significant acquisition, budget and policy challenges.

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