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NGA Update

This fall, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency released a flurry of news announcements covering the Ebola outbreak, key contracts, the Map of the World project and software. Summaries appear below.

 

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Enhanced Version of USA Freedom Act Introduced in Senate

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced a new version of the USA Freedom Act on Tuesday, a bill intended to protect Americans’ phone records and other personal information. The original bill was passed by the House in May.

As a result of the fallout from former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden’s release of confidential information and revelations regarding NSA policy, President Barack Obama asked Congress in January to curb the massive data collection policies in place by the NSA.

The House bill passed in May, while effective in addressing these concerns, was criticized by many as being too vague and lenient, which led to Leahy’s aggressive changes. One of the main concerns voiced by detractors of the House’s bill was the vague definition of “specific selection term,” which could potentially lead to mass information gathering based on broad characteristics such as geographic location.

 

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IT Initiative Seen Facing Challenges

While progress is being made, the Intelligence Community Information Technology Enterprise (IC ITE) initiative faces a host of challenges as it presses toward the goal of a unified computing infrastructure for the IC by 2018, according to a panel of former federal officials who played key roles in its initial stages.

 

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New Era for Aerial Sensing

After providing huge operational benefits to warfighters and transforming ISR technology in the skies over Iraq and Afghanistan, unmanned aerial systems (UASs) equipped for overhead imaging and other sensing are poised to bring major changes to the domestic GEOINT field.

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Open Source Goes Multi-Int

The unrest that swept the Middle East in the Arab Spring of 2011 not only caught the U.S. national security community by surprise, but also brought home in a dramatic way to intelligence analysts that they needed to expand their traditional sources of information by incorporating social media and other open source material into the overall intelligence picture.

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On the Ground with GIS

The experiences of more than a decade of ground operations have shaped and changed the geographic information system software used most often by the Department of Defense, as well as the ways in which military forces use GIS for intelligence and command and control.

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Plugging into Intel

Standards developed within the framework of the Defense Intelligence Information Enterprise (DI2E) are facilitating interoperability and information sharing among key defense intelligence activities such as the Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS), according to participants at a recent government/industry demonstration.

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