The National Geo-Intelligence Agency (NGA) began moving into its new, high-tech $1.7 billion home at Fort Belvoir in Springfield, Va., this month. The move is being done incrementally and is expected to be completed by September, 2011.
The 2.4 million square foot spy facility will house the NGA’s 8,500 analysts and other workers. It was the first headquarters that was “purpose built” for the agency and includes new information technology and an IT architecture that eliminates a multitude of separate systems, said Letitia Long, director of the NGA.
The facility will promote collaboration among NGA employees through greater information sharing and new computer systems and improve collaboration with partners worldwide and increase geospatial intelligence, including predictive intelligence.
“The physical facilities are at the leading edge of the Intelligence Community, and the collocation of NGA’s East components will greatly expand the possibilities to both enhance mission performance and promote community collaboration,” said Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr.
The NGA is a Department of Defense combat support agency and a member of the national Intelligence Community. The organization is “the nation’s eyes” that provides geospatial intelligence—the fusion of maps, charts, graphs and satellite images—to help warfighters and national decision makers “visual what they need to know,” the NGA noted in a press release.
The new facility will allow NGA analysts to produce geospatial intelligence faster since data will be digitized in the new system. For instance, imagery that might have taken a day or more to locate on archived tape can now be found in minutes. Because of this, the NGA hopes it can anticipate events through “human geography”, or how people interact with their physical environment, Long said. Examples include where pandemics might break out, where transnational crime might spread, where populations are susceptible to extremist ideology and where mass migrations are likely.