An enjoyable read from The Atlantic as they describe in detail the function of the NGA (www.nga.mil) , in particular, the role geospatial intel plays in crucial missions like the recent covert operation that brought down Bin Laden. An enjoyable intro as the author describes’s President Obama’s first brush with an NGA staffer at a Five Guys Burger restaurant in D.C. – I believe I heard about this encounter in a story told at last year’s GeoInt event in New Orleans, it definitely doesn’t get old hearing about this!
In the article, The Atlantic goes on to describe the function of the NGA. From the piece… The NGA’s contributions to the bin Laden mission are substantial. As described to National Journal by senior U.S. policymakers who do not work for the agency, they include:
- Creating three-dimensional renderings of the Abbottabad compounds using imagery and laser-based sensing devices–laser radar, or ladar.
- Analyzing data from a sophisticated next-generation drone that kept watch on the compound before, during, and after the raid. The drone was an RQ-170 built by Lockheed Martin.
- Helping the Joint Special Operations Command create mission simulators for the pilots who flew the helicopters into the breach. (This was first reported by Washingtonian magazine.)
- Providing to the CIA and other policymakers assessments of the number of people who lived inside the compound, their heights and genders.