Excerpted from Remarks Nov. 16 by Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte at the Geoint 2006 Symposium in Orlando, Fla.

Geospatial intelligence [ geoint] is a crucial element in our national security enterprise. Geoint, among other things, is a window providing undeniable evidence of events taking place on the ground; it reveals hidden aspects of otherwise poorly understood phenomena; it brings visual clarity and precision to identifying and locating targets anywhere on the globe; it enables us to search vast expanses of the Earth’ s surface; and it is often the unique discipline if you will, in its ability to depict intelligence issues in areas otherwise denied to us.

The crisis in the Darfur region of Western Sudan is a good example of this last point. It was geoint that enabled the U.S. Department of State and USAID [the U.S. Agency for International Development] to identify massive concentrations of internally displaced persons and mobilize relief efforts ahead of the rest of the world. As a result, we can say that geoint helped mitigate a tragic humanitarian crisis, saving tens of thousands of lives.

And on the domestic front, geoint is a key contributor to warning, reaction and recovery activities as they relate to natural or man-made crises — think of Hurricane Katrina. The value added of geospatial intelligence is easy to grasp: it creates a common picture that improves planning and response.

I ‘d like to place geoint in the context of intelligence reform in general and the Integrated Collection Architecture (ICA), in particular.


When it comes to intelligence reform, integration is the key word. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) was created to integrate the military, domestic and foreign dimensions of national security intelligence.

For the intelligence community, that means productive overlaps, not inadvertent gaps; information sharing, not information withholding; and working as a multi-int, multi-domain team, not going it alone.

We are in the business of creating a unified intelligence enterprise that is responsive to national security threats wherever they may present themselves. Our assignment is to set the highest standards for intelligence collection and analysis and to meet those standards whether the agency in action is the CIA, the DIA [Defense Intelligence Agency], the NGA [National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency], the DEA [Drug Enforcement Agency], any other member of our community, or any combination thereof.

In the post-9/11 world, we have no choice. Fast-evolving threats and technological challenges take parasitical advantage of globalization’ s strengths while attacking its weaknesses. The enemy may be a so-called businessman constantly on the move, or he may be an expert forger in Peshawar. The enemy may be a deadly virus that has mutated beyond the scope of current medical science, or it may be an import-export business that has mutated into a weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferation framework. Which ship at sea or container on the docks contains components that could advance a rogue state’ s efforts to develop nuclear weapons? Whose forces are assembling near what borders? And why? And with what intent? To answer these and many other questions — including questions no one would ask today but might be a vital interest tomorrow — the intelligence community of the 21st century needs collection capabilities that are, among other things: comprehensive; survivable; persistent; timely; adaptable; innovative; credible; and above all, integrated.

Uneven balance

As we in the ODNI along with the Defense Department began developing the Imagery Way Ahead as our first major task in the area of collection, we saw that we didn’ t have a suite of collection capabilities that consistently met those criteria. Of greater concern, we saw that we lacked a sound methodology for thinking through how to develop an architecture that would address them.

Several issues stood out. We had more intelligence collection programs than resources to support them. We had an uneven ability to assess the relative value of capabilities and programs within each discipline and extremely limited ability to assess them across all disciplines. And we couldn’ t use mission priorities and requirements to inform resource allocations to the maximum effect.

The WMD Commission reinforced our resolve to address these deficiencies when it was recommended that, ” The DNI should create a new management structure within his office that manages collection as an ‘ integrated collection enterprise.’”

So there you have the origins of the ICA that we have been developing over the last 15 months. The ICA is a work in progress that really is making strides toward its four goals:

First, the United States must have a capabilities-based intelligence collection architecture that is built, managed and operated as an enterprise.

Second, our nation’ s intelligence collection architecture must respond to the full breadth of requirements for both enduring missions and stressing events.

Third, risk-mitigation must be an intrinsic factor of our intelligence collection architecture, guarding against target and technology changes, countering denial and deception, and ensuring survivability, security and continuity of operations.

Fourth, the way we think through developing our integrated collection architecture must be a repeatable process that enables us to adjust the answers we arrive at today as more information becomes available tomorrow — information about our targets, our requirements and needs, and/or the state of the technologically possible.

In short, the ICA is not a study destined to sit on the shelf. It is an ongoing mission-driven tool for shaping our future portfolio of collection investments. Absolute precision, if such a thing were possible, is not our objective, but as an enterprise, we are positioning ourselves to be able to adjust and focus our collection capabilities more dynamically and more effectively than in the past.

The ICA is a joint venture between the ODNI and the Department of Defense, because it addresses both national and military intelligence needs.

In year one we have divided architecture development into seven critical areas or domains: sigint [signals intelligence], masint [measurement and signals intelligence], geoint, clandestine technical collection, special communications, mission communications, and data management.

In year two , we will add human intelligence and open source capabilities into the mix, while continuing work on technical collection issues.

An intelligence community agency was assigned to lead each team of domain experts, working with their partners across the community to develop architectural alternatives using the fiscal year 2007 to 2011 Program of Record as the baseline. The first step in developing these alternatives was an assessment of our current performance relative to agreed upon scenarios and capabilities.

Facilitating discussions

Here is perhaps the nub of what most differentiates the Integrated Collection Architecture from previous efforts: common agreement regarding scenarios, capabilities and analytic methodology with a resolute focus on intelligence mission capabilities, as opposed to rigid specifications. The ICA, then, is not an attempt to engineer a scientific architecture. We are not the intelligence community’ s technical architects or system developers. Our job is to facilitate the discussions; develop and coordinate the scenarios and capabilities necessary to meet national security needs as defined by our principal customers; work with the intelligence users throughout the national security sector to prioritize needs to set the boundaries for the range of acceptable architectures; and then to ensure that due diligence has been conducted and all potential alternatives explored.

This study is an integral part of our ongoing budget planning process, which is carefully coordinated with the Department of Defense. The ODNI has no more important responsibility than seeing to it that our budget authorities are used in the wisest and most efficient way.

This is a new and different way of doing business that requires more transparency, teamwork and integration than has traditionally been the case. And only with this level of intelligence community -wide partnership will we meet the National Intelligence Strategy’ s objective that calls on us to ” rebalance, integrate and optimize collection capabilities.”

I do not yet know the scale of programmatic change that we might undertake as part of the Integrated Collection Architecture, nor would I preclude consideration of other options that the Secretary of Defense or I might bring to the fore. Nonetheless, I would anticipate that from a resource perspective, the greatest influence of the ICA will lie in determining where the intelligence community should spend its next dollar or how any top-line adjustment to the overall programs — national or military intelligence — should be allocated. The most valuable outcome, however, could very well be the social engineering that is occurring as we develop and pursue the ICA process itself. In effect, the ICA represents one of the more important cultural changes that we are driving forward in our second year. If reform means to integrate, then it is one of our highest order responsibilities and mandates to foster processes that allow the intelligence community’ s 16 agencies to integrate their expertise and capabilities in support of our national security.

One of those agencies, of course, is the agency whose work brings us here today and whose 10 years of achievement merit a few words of special commendation.

Since its creation a decade ago, the NGA has been a forward-leaning leader in providing intelligence support to the United States’ most senior officials. This is to the credit of NGA’ s highly skilled, diverse and dedicated work force. People are what make NGA such an outstanding exemplar of the capacity of our government to transform itself in response to the nation’ s needs. I especially admire the NGA’s spirit of innovation in pursuit of partnerships throughout the intelligence community. NGA’ s work with National Security Agency has been key in making the intelligence community more effective in supporting the warfighter — a difficult but crucial task in these dangerous times.

And as NGA marches into its second decade, it now has the benefit of new leadership. I can already see indeed that Vice Adm. Bob Murrett’ s energy, vision and experience is building on the legacy of his distinguished predecessors. Only the best can lead the best, so I think NGA and Bob Murrett are a perfect match.