This week, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) celebrated a milestone in the agency’s history—commemorating 20 years since the organization was formed as the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) in 1996. NGA held a 20th anniversary ceremony Oct. 4 at NGA Campus East (NCE) in Springfield, Va., inviting current NGA employees as well as welcoming back former NGA and NIMA leadership.
The ceremony began with a video that reflected on the establishment of NIMA and how the organization evolved to become NGA in 2003. The video featured all six directors of NIMA and NGA, who each spoke about significant events that occurred during their tenures.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who was NGA director from 2001 to 2006, reflected on the shift from NIMA to NGA during his term.
“The bigger task we took on with the name change was to break down the barriers between imagery and mapping,” Clapper said. “That experience is a part of why NGA has taken a leading role in integrating the Intelligence Community. [NGA] understood the positive impact they could have on the national security enterprise, bringing GEOINT to the table and letting GEOINT serve as a framework.”
A common theme echoed throughout the ceremony was the contributions of the agency’s people.
“I’m always impressed when I come [to NCE],” said Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Marcel Lettre. “The building, yes, but beyond the brick and mortar, the extremely talented people who comprise a diverse workforce, catalyze the innovation, and continuously embrace new ways of doing their tradecraft. You all represent the organization’s contributions today. You are GEOINT present.”
The 2016 inductees to NGA’s Geospatial Intelligence Hall of Fame were also recognized during the ceremony. This year’s inductees are: Rear Adm. Christian Andreasen; Rear Adm. Joseph J. Dantone, Jr.; B. Louis Decker; Joanne O. Isham; John A. Oswald; the Women’s Army Corps Photo Interpreters; and the Army Map Service Civilian Women Cartographers. The hall of fame recognizes individuals and groups who have made significant GEOINT contributions to NGA or its heritage organizations.
Also part of the day’s events, the NGA Museum at NCE officially opened Oct. 4. The museum’s exhibits include the legacy of the six NIMA/NGA directors, a display of imagery analysis tools throughout the years, vintage models from the Cold War, maps for space exploration, and more.
Additionally, the NGA Choir sang for the first time the “NGA Song,” composed and directed by Jason Curtis of NGA’s Source Directorate. The song was inspired by U.S. Armed Forces’ hymns and service songs and is intended to demonstrate pride for the agency.
“We get to think proudly about our past, but most importantly, excitedly, of our future,” said current NGA Director Robert Cardillo. “Being a part of this has been a privilege and continues to be everyday. … Everyone who’s here made a difference and you should be proud of the foundation you’ve established for today’s agency and for tomorrow’s success.”
Photo Credit: NGA