For the past four years, Letitia Long led the agency National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) as it matured from a producer of static images and maps to a content and context provider, delivering on her promise to put the power of on-demand GEOINT into the hands of NGA customers. Under her leadership, the agency gained the national spotlight for its role in the 2011 capture of Osama Bin Laden, embraced the advent of commercial imagery, and weathered the storms of sequestration and the 2013 federal government shutdown.

Meanwhile, in the same four-year span, Robert Cardillo, who began his career as a Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) imagery analyst in 1983, served as the first deputy director for intelligence integration with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). In this role, he was responsible for integrating and synthesizing data from across the Intelligence Community to deliver the presidential daily brief—what he liked to refer to as “turning in the IC’s homework.”

Prior to ODNI, Cardillo served in senior leadership roles with both NGA and DIA. In October, he returned to NGA to succeed Long as director. Cardillo aims to carry NGA core mission one step further—beyond contextual content, to conveying consequences.

Trajectory Managing Editor Kristin Quinn spoke one-on-one with both Long and Cardillo shortly before NGA’s Oct. 4 change-of-command ceremony. Long reflected upon the evolution of the discipline and the agency; Cardillo set the stage for an era of increased partnership and measured risk-taking. Both gave a strong nod to the changing GEOINT landscape and competitive marketplace, acknowledging the criticality of teaming with industry to drive innovation.

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Posted by Kristin Quinn

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