Robert Cardillo (left). Credit: NGA

WASHINGTON — Robert Cardillo, a longtime intelligence official who began his career as an imagery analyst, assumed the top position at the U.S. National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) Oct 3.

Cardillo becomes the sixth director of the NGA, which collects, analyzes and distributes geospatial information to the military and intelligence community. He replaces Letitia Long, the first woman to head a U.S. intelligence agency, who is retiring. In a retirement speech, Long said the 2011 raid of Osama bin Laden’s compound was only possible because of NGA analysts.

Cardillo, a former deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, most recently served as Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s deputy director for intelligence integration — a job that required Cardillo to deliver President Barack Obama’s daily intelligence briefing.

Under Cardillo, NGA will continue developing what it calls the “Map of the World,” which is an integrated collection of data, including geospatial data, from sources throughout the intelligence community.

In a meeting with reporters following the ceremony, Cardillo said it was important to rely on industry, much of which has embraced the agency’s work, and resist reinventing software and other applications that are available commercially.

Bob Knight, the Hall of Fame basketball coach and a friend of Cardillo’s, attended the ceremony.

Mike Gruss covers military space issues, including the U.S. Air Force and Missile Defense Agency, for SpaceNews. He is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.