The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) has a new role on the GEOINT stage. So explained NGA Director of Source Justin Poole yesterday to a full house at the GEOINT 2017 Government Pavilion Stage. Poole moderated a panel discussion among NGA and General Services Administration (GSA) experts who discussed NGA’s role as a broker, which allows the agency to take advantage of the explosion in geospatial data and information.

Poole explained CIBORG, the Commercial Initiative to Buy Operationally Responsive GEOINT, NGA’s new partnership with GSA that will allow the agency to broker commercial imagery products for other government agencies.

“It’s an excellent opportunity for companies not used to doing business with us,” Poole said, noting CIBORG will allow industry providers to make their capabilities available to other government customers, military services, and first responders.

Sherry Prewitt, director of NGA’s Source Operations Group, explained the broker concept as an ever-changing set of value-added services for customers.

“At its core, we needed to look at, do we really understand what our customers are trying to achieve,” she said. “Once you understand what they need, you can provide more services.”

This supply chain structure offers a tremendous opportunity to NGA, said Scot Currie, director of the agency’s Source Mission Integration Office. He explained it as a central depository—“a single place to look at… what the commercial world can offer us.”

The key to making the broker role work is speed. NGA senior analyst Carter Christopher acknowledged, “If you’ve ever delivered technology at NGA, you know it can take a long time.”

“When we’re trying to connect customers with solutions,” Carter said,” they don’t want to wait six months. They don’t want to wait—in many cases—six minutes.”

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Posted by Melanie D.G. Kaplan