National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Director Robert Cardillo delivers a keynote address May 16, at the GEOINT Symposium in Orlando, Florida. This was Cardillo’s second GEOINT Symposium keynote since taking the reins of the agency in October 2014. Photo Credit: United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation

5 things you need to know from the GEOINT Symposium

On Monday, May 16, Robert Cardillo, the director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, delivered a keynote address at the GEOINT Symposium in Orlando, Florida, where he announced new initiatives and stressed NGA’s continued focus on people, partners, profession and value.

Here are the Top 5 (and a bonus) quotes from his remarks:

1. Director Cardillo describes geospatial intelligence, or GEOINT, as more relevant than ever for customers today.

“Enabling customers’ success is what compels us and what impels us every day … They — you — are our priority — our reason for being.”

2. He noted the importance of succeeding in the open.

“We must reject outdated mindsets about the pursuit and value of open source data. We must overcome our historic reluctance to let analysts engage externally. We must embrace the imperative to release appropriate information on our unclassified network. We must do all of this — we must do it smartly. And we will.”

3. He continued that NGA has overhauled how we think about — and shape — the future.

“NGA Research builds on tech talent, ingenuity and expertise — from national labs, universities and businesses. It moves us away from internal research, and allows us to deliver more minds on tasks bringing fresh ideas, innovative research techniques, and path-breaking science.”

4. He highlighted the importance of adapting processes to bring in new talent, while maturing and retaining the agency’s current talent.

“All of us struggle with the clearance process — and the length of time it takes to bring in new people. We miss opportunities because of it. So we’ve done something about it. We recently hired 27 new Aero and Maritime analysts and got them to work — and thus got them to the mission — as the clearance process continued. And we’ll scale this best practice.

5. He went on to announce a new workforce exchange initiative, which will facilitate a more efficient talent cross-flow between the agency and industry and academia.

“The NGA Geospatial Exchange — or ‘eNGAge’ for short — will offer our people immersive experiences with industry and academia and will also allow us to welcome outside talent into NGA.”


6. And, he emphasized that 20 years after the creation of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, NGA’s legacy organization, there is a new age of GEOINT.

“We must go wherever the data exists, and apply the knowledge wherever our customers demand. We must let go of any remnants of ownership — and embrace our stewardship of the profession. We must enable outcomes that are bigger than ourselves. If we do these things, and if we do them together, we can actually turn our planet into a better place to live.”

Read NGA Director Cardillo’s full remarks from the GEOINT Symposium.

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About NGA: The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency delivers world-class geospatial intelligence, or GEOINT, that provides a decisive advantage to warfighters, policymakers, intelligence professionals and first responders. Both an intelligence agency and combat support agency, NGA fulfills the president’s national security priorities in partnership with the intelligence community and the Department of Defense.

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