GEOINT and Homeland Security

David Lilley Jr., acting director of the DHS Geospatial Management Office, outlined his office’s main objectives and discussed the utility of GEOINT at USGIF’s GEOINTeraction Tuesday in March.


David Lilley Jr., acting director of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Geospatial Management Office (GMO), outlined his office’s main objectives and discussed the utility of GEOINT at USGIF’s GEOINTeraction Tuesday event in March.

Lilley said the need for geospatial intelligence is prominent, as the discipline is increasingly used to secure events, protect U.S. borders, assist in emergency response, inform policy, and much more.

“The need for GEOINT is not slowing down,” he said. “It is ever evolving and expanding. It’s helping DHS answer questions and plan and execute missions.” He added GEOINT is “a force multiplier” that helps “do more with less.”

According to Lilley, his office is focused on ensuring homeland security enterprise mission partners throughout the nation—a force of more than one million people including federal, state, and local agencies—have the geospatial information and technologies they need to perform, plan, and rehearse their mission sets.

The GMO accomplishes this goal via five key components:

  • Building GEOINT tradecraft and standard operating procedures that can be replicated across this broad community set. Lilley described this as striving to “do common things commonly.”
  • Advancing geospatial information technology interoperability through effective governance and open-source standards.
  • Delivering geospatial information tailored to individual mission partner requirements.
  • Delivering information via an architecture aligned with the National Spatial Data Infrastructure strategy and the GeoPlatform provided by the Department of Interior (DOI) and the Federal Geographic Data Committee, as well as aligned with the National System for Geospatial Intelligence and the National Geospatial Intelligence-Agency’s (NGA) GEOINT Services. Lilley said the collaboration among DHS, DOI, and NGA will “provide revolutionary capabilities for the community.”
  • Working with intra- and inter-agency governance boards to promote collaborative governance.

Lilley also highlighted partnerships as essential to GMO’s mission—citing other federal agencies, 22 offices across DHS, 78 fusion centers, more than 3,000 counties, 78 major urban centers, research laboratories, academia, and organizations like USGIF, to name a few.

Moving into the future, Lilley said his office is seeing a demand for 3D and 4D information, data from small sats, integrated wearable and mobile devices, and fine grain attribution—which can only be achieved by proper metadata standards. He added the office is often being tasked to evolve from a data producer to a data broker.

Lilley concluded by encouraging the audience to explore GMO’s GeoCONOPS, a community-based website that provides access to existing technology capabilities, data repositories, and stakeholders contributing to the homeland security mission.

Lilley said GMO is currently hosting a series of workshops to build use cases around different mission sets highlighted in Presidential Policy Directive-8 and demonstrate via GeoCONOPS how the GEOINT Community supports each of these missions. He invited those interested in attending these meetings to contact the GMO via the GeoCONOPS website.

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