The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is a combat support agency under the United States Department of Defense and a member of the United States Intelligence Community, with the primary mission of collecting, analyzing, and distributing geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) in support of national security. NGA was known as the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) until 2003.
NGA headquarters, also known as NGA Campus East, is located at Fort Belvoir North Area in Virginia. The agency also operates major facilities in the St. Louis, Missouri area, as well as support and liaison offices worldwide. The NGA headquarters, at 2.3 million square feet (214,000 m2), is the third-largest government building in the Washington metropolitan area after The Pentagon and the Ronald Reagan Building.
In addition to using GEOINT for U.S. military and intelligence efforts, the NGA provides assistance during natural and man-made disasters, and security planning for major events such as the Olympic Games.
In September 2018, researchers at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency released a high resolution terrain map (detail down to the size of a car, and less in some areas) of Antarctica, named the "Reference Elevation Model of Antarctica" (REMA).
|National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency|
Seal of the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
Flag of the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
NGA Campus East is the headquarters of the agency. The building features trapezoidal windows, color-coded interior sections, and is bisected by an atrium that is large enough to hold the Statue of Liberty.
|Formed||October 1, 1996 (as the National Imagery and Mapping Agency)|
|Jurisdiction||U.S. Department of Defense|
|Headquarters||Fort Belvoir, Virginia, U.S.|
|Motto||"Know the Earth... Show the Way... Understand the World"|
|Annual budget||Classified (at least $4.9 billion, as of 2013)|
|Parent agency||Department of Defense|
U.S. mapping and charting efforts remained relatively unchanged until World War I, when aerial photography became a major contributor to battlefield intelligence. Using stereo viewers, photo-interpreters reviewed thousands of images. Many of these were of the same target at different angles and times, giving rise to what became modern imagery analysis and mapmaking.
The Engineer Reproduction Plant was the Army Corps of Engineers's first attempt to centralize mapping production, printing, and distribution. It was located on the grounds of the Army War College in Washington, D.C. Previously, topographic mapping had largely been a function of individual field engineer units using field surveying techniques or copying existing or captured products. In addition, ERP assumed the "supervision and maintenance" of the War Department Map Collection, effective April 1, 1939.
With the advent of the Second World War aviation, field surveys began giving way to photogrammetry, photo interpretation, and geodesy. During wartime, it became increasingly possible to compile maps with minimal field work. Out of this emerged AMS, which absorbed the existing ERP in May 1942. It was located at the Dalecarlia Site (including buildings now named for John C. Frémont and Charles H. Ruth) on MacArthur Blvd., just outside Washington, D.C., in Montgomery County, Maryland, and adjacent to the Dalecarlia Reservoir. AMS was designated as an Engineer field activity, effective July 1, 1942, by General Order 22, OCE, June 19, 1942. The Army Map Service also combined many of the Army's remaining geographic intelligence organizations and the Engineer Technical Intelligence Division. AMS was redesignated the U.S. Army Topographic Command (USATC) on September 1, 1968, and continued as an independent organization until 1972, when it was merged into the new Defense Mapping Agency (DMA) and redesignated as the DMA Topographic Center (DMATC) (see below).
The agency's credit union, Constellation Federal Credit Union, was chartered during the Army Map Service era, in 1944. It has continued to serve all successive legacy agencies' employees and their families.
After the war, as airplane capacity and range improved, the need for charts grew. The Army Air Corps established its map unit, which was renamed ACP in 1943 and was located in St. Louis, Missouri. ACP was known as the U.S. Air Force Aeronautical Chart and Information Center (ACIC) from 1952 to 1972 (See DMAAC below).
Shortly before leaving office in January 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorized the creation of the National Photographic Interpretation Center, a joint project of the CIA and US DoD. NPIC was a component of the CIA's Directorate of Science and Technology (DDS&T) and its primary function was imagery analysis. NPIC became part of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (now NGA) in 1996.
NPIC first identified the Soviet Union's basing of missiles in Cuba in 1962. By exploiting images from U-2 overflights and film from canisters ejected by orbiting Corona (satellite)s, NPIC analysts developed the information necessary to inform U.S. policymakers and influence operations during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Their analysis garnered worldwide attention when the Kennedy Administration declassified and made public a portion of the images depicting the Soviet missiles on Cuban soil; Adlai Stevenson presented the images to the United Nations Security Council on October 25, 1962.
|Director||Term of office|
|Arthur C. Lundahl||May 1953 – July 1973|
|John J. Hicks||July 1973 – May 1978|
|Brigadier Gen. Rutledge P. Hazzard||June 1978 – February 1984|
|Robert M. Huffstutler||Feb 1984 – Jan 1988|
|Frank J. Ruocco||February 1988 – February 1991|
|Leo A. Hazlewood||February 1991 – September 1993|
|Nancy E. Bone||October 1993 – September 1996|
The Defense Mapping Agency was created on January 1, 1972, to consolidate all U.S. military mapping activities. DMA's "birth certificate", DoD Directive 5105.40, resulted from a formerly classified Presidential directive, "Organization and Management of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Community" (November 5, 1971), which directed the consolidation of mapping functions previously dispersed among the military services. DMA became operational on July 1, 1972, pursuant to General Order 3, DMA (June 16, 1972). On Oct. 1, 1996, DMA was folded into the National Imagery and Mapping Agency – which later became NGA.
DMA was first headquartered at the United States Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C, then at Falls Church, Virginia. Its mostly civilian workforce was concentrated at production sites in Bethesda, Maryland, Northern Virginia, and St. Louis, Missouri. DMA was formed from the Mapping, Charting, and Geodesy Division, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and from various mapping-related organizations of the military services.
DMAHC was formed in 1972 when the Navy's Hydrographic Office split its two components: The charting component was attached to DMAHC, and the survey component moved to the Naval Oceanographic Office, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, on the grounds of what is now the NASA Stennis Space Center. DMAHC was responsible for creating terrestrial maps of coastal areas worldwide and hydrographic charts for DoD. DMAHC was initially located in Suitland, Maryland, but later relocated to Brookmont (Bethesda), Maryland.
DMATC was located in Brookmont (Bethesda), Maryland. It was responsible for creating topographic maps worldwide for DoD. DMATC's location in Bethesda, Maryland is the former site of NGA's headquarters.
DMAHC and DMATC eventually merged to form DMAHTC, with offices in Brookmont (Bethesda), Maryland.
DMAAC originated with the U.S. Air Force's Aeronautical Chart and Information Center (ACIC) and was located in St. Louis, Missouri.
NIMA was established on October 1, 1996, by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997. The creation of NIMA followed more than a year of study, debate, and planning by the defense, intelligence, and policy-making communities (as well as the Congress) and continuing consultations with customer organizations. The creation of NIMA centralized responsibility for imagery and mapping.
NIMA combined the DMA, the Central Imagery Office (CIO), and the Defense Dissemination Program Office (DDPO) in their entirety, and the mission and functions of the NPIC. Also merged into NIMA were the imagery exploitation, dissemination, and processing elements of the Defense Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Office, and the Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office.
NIMA's creation was clouded by the natural reluctance of cultures to merge and the fear that their respective missions—mapping in support of defense activities versus intelligence production, principally in support of national policymakers—would be subordinated, each to the other.
With the enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 on November 24, 2003, NIMA was renamed NGA to better reflect its primary mission in the area of GEOINT. As a part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, all major Washington, D.C.-area NGA facilities, including those in Bethesda, Maryland; Reston, Virginia; and Washington, D.C., would be consolidated at a new facility at the Fort Belvoir proving grounds. This new facility, called the NGA Campus East houses several thousand people and is situated on the former Engineer Proving Ground site near Fort Belvoir. NGA facilities in St. Louis were not affected by the 2005 BRAC process.
The cost of the new center, as of March 2009, was expected to be $2.4 billion. The center's campus is approximately 2,400,000 square feet (220,000 m2) and was completed in September 2011.
NGA employs professionals in aeronautical analysis, cartography, geospatial analysis, imagery analysis, marine analysis, the physical sciences, geodesy, computer and telecommunication engineering, and photogrammetry, as well as those in the national security and law enforcement fields.
This table lists all Directors of the NIMA and NGA and their term of office.
|Term of Office||Director|
|1996–1998||Rear Admiral Joseph J. Dantone, US Navy, Acting Director|
|1998–2001||Lieutenant General James C. King, US Army|
|2001–2006||Lieutenant General James R. Clapper, USAF, Retired[note 1]|
|2006–2010||Vice Admiral (VADM) Robert B. Murrett, USN|
|2019-Present||Vice Admiral Robert D. Sharp, USN|
On February 22, 2010, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced that Letitia Long would become director later that year, becoming the first woman to head one of the 16 Intelligence Community component agencies. Long was at the time deputy director of the DIA. Long was sworn in on August 9, 2010, as head of the NGA.
NIMA / NGA has been involved in several controversies.
Letitia Long, currently the Defense Intelligence Agency's deputy director, will take over NGA this summer, Gates said.
Aerospace Data Facility-East (ADF-E), also known as Area 58 and formerly known as Defense Communications Electronics Evaluation and Testing Activity (DCEETA), is one of three satellite ground stations operated by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) in the continental United States. Located within Fort Belvoir, Virginia, the facility is responsible for the command and control of reconnaissance satellites involved in the collection of intelligence information and for the dissemination of that intelligence to other U.S. government agencies.Cacongo
Cacongo (Guilherme Capelo or Lândana) is a town in Cacongo municipality, Cabinda Province, in Angola. The former Landana municipality is now known as Cacongo, and the town is sometimes still known as Landana. It is located on Landana Bay about a kilometer south of the mouth of the Chiloango River.DAFIF
DAFIF () or the Digital Aeronautical Flight Information File is a comprehensive database of up-to-date aeronautical data, including information on airports, airways, airspaces, navigation data and other facts relevant to flying in the entire world, managed by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) of the United States.Edward A. Wilkinson
Rear Admiral Edward A. Wilkinson of United States Navy was the Director Defense Mapping Agency from July 1983 to July 1985. He was also the Deputy Director of Defense Mapping Agency from July 1979 to May 1981.Frank J. Ruocco
Frank J. Ruocco was fifth director of National Photographic Interpretation Center (NPIC) from February 1988 to February 1991.GEOnet Names Server
The GEOnet Names Server (GNS) provides access to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency's (NGA) and the U.S. Board on Geographic Names's (BGN) database of geographic feature names and locations for locations outside the United States. The database is the official repository of foreign place-name decisions approved by the US BGN. Approximately 20,000 of the database's features are updated monthly. The database never removes an entry, "except in cases of obvious duplication".Howard W. Penney
Lieutenant General Howard W. Penney (December 5, 1918 – June 25, 2004) of United States army, was first director of Defense Mapping Agency from July 1972 to August 1974. Under Penney’s leadership, the new agency focused its assets into a decentralized structure with a lean staff to respond to the rising demands for geographic information by a variety of military users.Leo A. Hazlewood
Leo A. Hazlewood was Director of National Photographic Interpretation Center from February 1991– September 1993), and Deputy Director of National Imagery and Mapping Agency from July 1997 – January 2000. He also served as Deputy Director of Operations at National Imagery and Mapping Agency (October 1996 – July 1997).Letitia Long
Letitia A. Long served as a civilian in the U.S. Navy and the Intelligence Community between 1978 and 2014, retiring as the fifth Director the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and the first woman to lead a major U.S. intelligence agency, in October 2014. She currently is the Chairman of the Board for the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA).List of lights
A list of lights is a publication describing lighthouses and other aids to maritime navigation. Most such lists are published by national hydrographic offices.List of tallest lighthouses
This is a list of the tallest lighthouses, by tower height (as opposed to focal height, i.e. height of the lamp of a lighthouse from water level).
The list is based on the list of tallest lighthouses from The Lighthouse Directory. As such, it includes "traditional lighthouses", i.e. buildings built by navigation safety authorities primarily as an aid to navigation. Some structures of interest that carry navigational lights, but were not mentioned in The Lighthouse Directory since they were not built primarily as lighthouses, are also listed, marked with "*".
Information regarding construction, year, and notes is from the list of tallest lighthouses at The Lighthouse Directory. Sources are given for all other information.
Heights are from the United States Coast Guard Light List for the United States and from NGA List of Lights for the rest of the world, unless a better source exists. Where several lighthouses share the same height they share the same position, and are all marked with "=".Nancy E. Bone
Nancy E. Bone is an American former intelligence officer who served as Director of National Photographic Interpretation Center between October 1993 and September 1996.Robert A. Rosenberg
Major General Robert "Rosie" A. Rosenberg (born 1934) of United States Air Force was Director of Defense Mapping Agency from July 1985 to September 1987. Throughout his 30-year career with the U.S. Air Force, he was instrumental to the U.S. satellite program. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency inducted him into its Hall of Fame in 2005.Robert B. Murrett
Vice Admiral Robert B. Murrett was the fourth Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, from 7 July 2006 through July 2010. In 2011, Murrett joined the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism at Syracuse University where he now serves as deputy director. He is also a faculty member of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and serves on the IVMF advisory board at Syracuse University.Robert Cardillo
Robert Cardillo was the sixth Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and was sworn in October 3, 2014. He was previously selected by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to serve as the first Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Intelligence Integration in September 2010. Clapper said in a statement that the position would "elevate information sharing and collaboration" between those who collect intelligence and those who analyze it. Cardillo previously served as Deputy Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). Prior to that, he served as the Deputy Director for Analysis, DIA, and Director, Analysis and Production, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA).Robert M. Huffstutler
Robert M. Huffstutler was director of National Photographic Interpretation Center from February 1984 to January 1988.At the time of his appointment as director of NPIC, Huffstutler was a twenty-five year veteran of Central Intelligence Agency, and head of the intelligence directorate's Office of Soviet Analysis. He had served in Office of Strategic Research from 1967 to 1982.Shannon D. Cramer
Shannon D. Cramer Jr. (September 18, 1921 - February 15, 2012) was a retired U.S. Navy Vice Admiral. He was second director of the Defense Mapping Agency from September 1974 to August 1977. From April to September 1974, he was deputy director for Plans, Defense Intelligence Agency.Umivik, Ammassalik
Umivik is an abandoned settlement at Ammassalik Fjord. As of the winter of 1884–5, 19 Inuit lived there in a single dwelling. The U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency classifies Umiviik/Umîvik as a ruin at 65.65°N 37.2°W / 65.65; -37.2 (Umivik), which is on the west side of Apusiaajik Island.William K. James
Major General William K. James of United States Air Force, was director of the Defense Mapping Agency (DMA) between June 1990 and June 1993. Under his leadership Major General James redirected the DMA – a heritage organization of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency – from producing products to meet the requirements of the Cold War to a concept of a Global Geospatial Information System (GGIS) directly accessible to combat commanders of the Rapid Deployment Forces. The GGIS was a major paradigm shift in warfare with the delivery of geographic information to fast-moving military forces.
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency leaders
|Directors of NPIC|
|Directors of DMA|
|Directors of NIMA/NGA|
of the President
National intelligence agencies