Shifting Collection at NGA

John Goolgasian speaks at GEOINTeraction Tuesday

By Lindsay Tilton Mitchell

Jan. 19, 2016

John Goolgasian wants to employ commercial GEOINT and change collection processes to fill intelligence gaps.

“How do I learn what’s going on in the ‘white spaces’? How do I train—not people—but our systems to automatically understand and sense those areas?” said Goolgasian, director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s (NGA) Source Operations Management Directorate.

Around 120 people heard Goolgasian speak at USGIF’s Jan. 12 GEOINTeraction Tuesday networking event, sponsored by NT Concepts and held at the Children’s Science Center in Fairfax, Va.

Adalene Spivy, executive director of the Children’s Science Center, briefly spoke to attendees about the new facility and its mission to inspire children’s interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

“What we’re doing to inspire children to love learning about STEM subjects is very much connected to what you’re doing and the future of our community,” Spivy said.

Goolgasian focused his speech on the agency’s Next Generation tasking initiative, new Commercial GEOINT Strategy, and efforts to shift imagery collection from a target-based to an activity-based approach.

“We’ve changed our collection paradigm completely on its head,” Goolgasian said. “For those of you who have worked in the community for a long time, the adage is ‘analysis drives collection.’ It’s been true and it’s still true, but I think we can change that.”

He added the agency is trending toward change detection driving analysis—a goal commercial GEOINT will help meet with its large constellations and high revisit rates.

Another piece of NGA's collection transition mentioned by Goolgasian is the Commercial Initiative Buying Operationally Responsive GEOINT (CIBORG) program, which aims to create new mechanisms for the procurement of imagery and imagery-derived products and services. NGA aims to implement the CIBORG program and begin procurement within the next year.

Goolgasian encouraged the audience to review recent broad agency announcements NGA has posted on seeking solutions to help it leverage commercial GEOINT and transform collection.