National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA)

Report of the Independent Commission on the National Imagery and Mapping Agency

The Information Edge: Imagery Intelligence and Geospatial Information in an Evolving National Security Environment

February 2001


(Excerpts from

15. Recommendations

15.1 DOD and DCI Policy and Planning

15.1.1 Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff (C/JCS) should commission a study of the demands and constraints that military doctrine places on imagery intelligence and geospatial information. The study should be available for congressional review within 18 months.

15.1.2 The Under Secretary for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (USD/AT&L) should include the cost of information as part of the total cost of ownership (TCO) of each new system; the programmed availability of that information should be the equivalent of a Key Performance Parameter (KPP). New, more emphatic guidelines should be promulgated to the Department of Defense, and available to Congress within one year.

15.1.3 D/NIMA should provide positive mechanisms that inform every consumer as to the "true cost" of NTM imagery in order to promote conservation of this scarce resource, as well as to support rational economic decisions about the use of commercial imagery.

15.2 Long-Term (Strategic) Versus Operational (Short-Term)-nee "National Tactical"

15.2.1 The DCI, operating through the ADCI/C in conjunction with the ADCI/AP, should provide a suitable mechanism for high-level, collaborative resolution of lingering imagery contentions.

15.3 Resources

15.3.1 ASD(C3I) and DDCI/CM should work with NIMA leadership to aggressively seek the sources and means -- dollars, competent management, and skilled personnel -- needed to make NIMA's mission whole and its infrastructure functional.

15.3.2 The DCI and SECDEF should, at the earliest opportunity, provide additional SES/SIS billets for NIMA. Congress should act favorably on the request with similar alacrity.

15.3.3 The Director of NIMA should request through the DCI, and Congress duly authorize and appropriate, an increment to the NIMA Program for advanced research and development (R&D); the position of Chief Technology Officer should be created and a top-notch individual found to encumber it.

15.4 Commercial Imagery

15.4.1 The Director of NIMA, in concert with the Director of NRO, should develop, within 120 days, a new commercial imagery strategy -- i.e., prepare an integration plan for commercial imagery -- consistent with current market conditions.

15.4.2 The Office of the Secretary of Defense should establish a fund against which defense elements wishing to make direct use of commercial imagery can charge their purchase.

15.5 Outsourcing

15.5.1 D/NIMA should commission an independent 180-day study to determine the maximum extent to which outsourcing could be extended, to include operation of all infrastructure, production of all legacy MC&G products, and much science-based imagery analysis. Results of the study should be provided to the DCI and the SECDEF within 30 days of completion, together with D/NIMA implementation(s).

15.6 Commercial Technology

15.6.1 D/NIMA should periodically review all "NIMA Standards" which, if divergent from industry, should be revised (or revalidated); and, move NIMA toward a level 3 organizational rating for Software and System Acquisition.

15.7 TPED [Tasking, Processing, Exploitation, Dissemination -- ed.]

15.7.1 DCI and SECDEF, with the full support of Congress, should form an "Extraordinary Program Office" (EPO) within 120 days in order to ensure the prompt and efficient acquisition of required TPED functionality and equipment.

15.7.2 D/NIMA should produce a proposed revision to the current plan for IEC acquisition and deployment, to include new cost and schedule data, for aggressively replacing all IDEX terminals with a fully capable commercial alternative; DDCI/CM and ASD(C3I) shall find the means to allow D/NIMA to execute this accelerated plan.

15.7.3 The SECDEF shall direct the ASD(C3I) and Chairman, JCS, to support the Director of NIMA and the Director of NRO in the preparation of a plan which clearly indicates the role and integration of airborne and commercial imagery into TPED and which integrates geospatial and imagery analysis.

15.7.4 Director, NIMA, should get out in front of any potential FIA upgrade; in particular, he should study the implications for TPED for the five FIA shortfalls identified by the JCS, each of which could have major TPED implications and none of which has been considered fully in the current architecture.

15.8 Imagery Dissemination

15.8.1 ASD(C3I) should ensure that the communications architecture for imagery dissemination for Defense and its intersection with Intelligence subtends both the designs of NIMA (more generally, of the "national" systems) and the last tactical mile designed by the respective services and secure sufficient DOD funding for execution.

15.8.2 The ASD(C3I) shall coordinate the efforts of NIMA, DISA, and the NRO to ensure that both the communications links and acquisition strategy for communications systems are sufficient to support TPED in the FIA era. Director, DISA, shall certify his ability, within the current POM/IPOM, to satisfy NIMA communications needs for dissemination or report to the SECDEF and Congress on the reasons for his inability to do so.

15.9 Multi-INT TPED

15.9.1 The DDCI/CM and ASD(C3I) shall jointly determine the extent and pace of convergence toward a multi-INT TPED. Consistent with their findings, the Director of NSA and Director of NIMA, inter alia, shall conduct the necessary architecture study.

15.10 Management-Director of NIMA

15.10.1 The Director of NIMA should establish a Technical Advisory Board

15.10.2 The Secretary of Defense, with DCI endorsement and congressional support, should fix the nominal tour length for the Director of NIMA at five years.

15.10.3 D/NIMA, along with other intelligence organizations, should work with the JCS to establish the need for, and CONOPS for, advising US commanders of the likely adversary insights into US operations -- the OPFOR J2 role -- given the loss of US imagery exclusivity.

15.10.4 D/NIMA should consider appointing an "Archive Manager" to maximize the value of the imagery archive, to be the advocate for archive use, and to create a "spec-deck" for tasking "to inventory" otherwise unused imaging capacity.

15.11 Culture and Convergence

15.11.1 Director of NIMA should regularize and extrapolate to the organization more broadly his experiments with teams consisting of both Imagery and GIS analysts to work specific, high-priority issues.

Return to NIMA/NGA Table of Contents