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.
With the increased reliance on Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) for military operations--witness the emphasis on information dominance canonized by Joint Vision 2010/2020--it is useful to reassess imagery and mapping support within the context of other military capabilities which it supports, and with which it competes for resources and management attention.
In some cases, the burden placed on NIMA, inter alia, for supporting evolving U.S. warfighting and peacekeeping doctrine is not fully appreciated. Moreover, the espoused doctrine of the individual services is not wholly synchronized with the de facto uses of imagery, and especially geospatial information, as they will manifest themselves over the next decade. The review of doctrine should aim to forecast better the future demands for these intelligence commodities, seek ways to better inform doctrine as to the likely availability and/or scarcity of new intelligence capabilities, and perhaps find ways to fine-tune doctrine so that it is less demanding of costly intelligence capabilities while achieving the same effect.
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.
Intelligence support, every bit as much as ammunition, fuel, spares, and training, is required to make today's military systems work. Too often in the past, a new weapons system was designed on the presumption that the information it needed to consume would appear, as if by magic. Often, the Intelligence Community was able to work that magic. In today's fiscal reality, there is little or no discretionary resource left for such tricks. Such requirements, which can be forecast easily, must engender early debate about their dependence on an intelligence tail. Ignoring the intelligence bill--people as well as systems--at the outset precludes sound planning, programming, and budgeting, and forces invidious choices later on.
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.
Consumers--who levy requirements and generally make decisions that cause resources to be expended--must be turned into customers, with their appetites better matched to the nation's pocketbook, their expectations made more realistic. Among other things, this should help ensure that their decisions about use of commercial imagery are taken on an equal footing with those about use of national technical means. All-source analysts, weapons systems designers, operators--and, yes, even policymakers--all cause scarce intelligence resources to be expended on their behalf and should have a better appreciation of the opportunity cost of those resources at the time the effective decisions are made. The Community Management Staff, with C3I, shall perform the analysis as required to develop the cost basis, which will properly amortize all NTM development, acquisition, and operating costs.
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.
The Commission found no conscious bias on the part of NIMA toward one community at the expense of another. Nevertheless, NIMA first of all needs to understand the ebb and flow of satisfying the competing demands and to sense when a serious imbalance looms; and then needs to deal with changing perceptions of how it balances the needs of multiple customers across the national security community. NIMA must do a better job of establishing metrics and monitoring processes; the results of these should be made generally available. Notwithstanding, the perceived tension between the national community and the tactical community is a larger national security community problem, not the fault of NIMA, and the issue should be addressed as one of balancing long term (strategic) and operational (short-term) intelligence support to a wide range of customers.
The Commission believes that NIMA must be more attuned to impending imbalances; subsequently, communications between contending parties at a suitably high level can resolve disputes where positions among their respective subordinates have hardened. Even when the reconciliation disadvantages both parties, the example of high-level cooperation signals a spirit of cooperation that can keep an issue from festering among subordinates. The Commission was reminded repeatedly that the CINCs, too, have a national mission and they and their J2s do appreciate the necessity for investing intelligence in the long term even while subordinates closer to the daily fray sometimes do not feel they have that luxury.
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.
Admitting that resources are only part of the problem, the Commission observes that the Administration appears to have been reluctant to request from Congress those resources necessary to fully cure the ills that beset NIMA and to cover the acknowledged fiscal shortfalls. It is unclear why that might be, inasmuch as a failure to invest in imagery TPED will mean that the investment in FIA will not be fully realized. The fact that NIMA, as currently staffed, lacks the capability to execute those resources smartly does not mean the resources are not needed.
Budget forecasts have not been models of accuracy but rather the wishful consequence of an impoverished intelligence program, overall. The first step in repairing the problem is to represent more accurately the true cost of TPED, the operations of NIMA as its mission has grown, and the cost to provide it with infrastructure that it failed to inherit from its predecessor organizations. A necessary concomitant is to establish metrics for determining that the money was well spent.
NIMA's analytic corps also requires relief from any future downsizing and in fact, a modest growth trajectory that will allow it to rebuild. As the corps gains back experience, the mentoring burden on those most experienced should lessen, which will, in turn, help erase the deficit of long-term research.
Finally, to anticipate a subsequent recommendation, centralized resources should be sought for offsetting the cost of commercial imagery.
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.
NIMA requires an increasingly technical and skilled workforce and exceptional leaders to help it usher in the FIA area and fulfill the Joint Vision challenge of information superiority. NIMA is disadvantaged by the small number of SES/SIS billets it currently has--about half the overall government average, and many fewer, per capita, than other national intelligence agencies. The Commission considers it unlikely that it can find and retain the caliber of officer it needs and deserves unless the roster of SES/SIS positions can be augmented.
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.
The Commission is quite concerned about the level of research and development conducted by and on behalf of NIMA. Imagery and geospatial activities in the national security sector are only partially congruent with those of interest to the commercial information technology sector. The Commission is convinced that inadequate R&D holds hostage the future success of TPED, USIGS, and of US information superiority.
NIMA's current budget for R&D is far from adequate, and the Director of NIMA is committed to trying to increase the NIMA R&D account. The Commission agrees that a larger percentage of the NIMA budget should be devoted to R&D, once the overall budget realistically is consonant with the mission--i.e., new monies are required. To set a benchmark, the Commission notes that the NRO's Directorate of Advanced Science and Technology (AS&T) has a firm claim on 10-percent of the NRO's resources.
The notion of a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) who would be steward of the R&D program and technological confidant to the Director of NIMA appeals to the Commission.
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.
US policy, a la PDD-23, is to support US commercial space imaging ventures. Commercial imagery has obvious virtues: there are no security bars to sharing it with coalition partners, and/or Non-Governmental and Private Voluntary Organizations (NGOs and PVOs);46 it can augment over-subscribed NTM assets and reduce contention for them; and ultimately use of commercial imagery can allow NTM to progress to esoteric sensing regimes of unique interest to the government.
Paradoxically, although US policy is to nurture US commercial space imaging, the existing NIMA/NRO Commercial Imagery Strategy has the characteristics of acting aggressively while in fact, performing poorly and passively with regard to commercial remote sensing products and services. While the leadership of those two organizations speak about a commercial imagery strategy, what they have in effect is a vision which has insufficient detail and implementation guidance to be an effective plan. Moreover, not only does the NRO, through NIMA, market a product that is technically competitive in some applications with commercial imagery (the latter lacks timeliness and volume), they "give it away" to customers who have to bear the brunt of the cost for commercial imagery, but pay naught for NTM imagery.
The integration plan should encompass how requirements expressed by users get translated into and allocated to either NTM or commercial imagery. The FIA-MIND is supposed to handle commercial (and airborne) as well as NTM imagery, but this is presently more promise than fact. Moreover, the several Intelligence Community "requirements systems" now under development have not yet taken up this challenge.
The Commission has hope that the move it urges toward a "data-centric" architecture will provide new insights into how requirements for imagery, imagery-derived intelligence, and geospatial information can be treated more similarly than different, independent of whether the source is USG or commercial, national or theater, exoatmospheric or endoatmospheric.
Among the elements of a revitalized Commercial Imagery Strategy: the Commission would include the following:
The person chosen to develop the NIMA commercial imagery strategy-and thereby stand as the advocate for commercial imagery within the national security community- must have the authority and responsibility needed to perform these roles. He or she must work to develop an understanding of how commercial and national imagery information systems interact with each other. This person must hold senior status within NIMA for the program to be effective.
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.
Forcing individual components to trade off beans and boots and bullets for commercial imagery when NTM imagery is perceived as a free good is impractical and does not further the overall commercial imagery strategy embodied in PDD-23. While it may be expeditious for NIMA to administer the fund, the Commission feels it imprudent to establish the fund in the NIMA Program or, indeed, in any program outside the immediate purview of the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
This commercial imagery fund should be the vehicle for end-users to buy both raw imagery and vendor's value-added offerings. The Commission estimates that, for the first year, $350 million seems about right; based on what the Commission expects to be a positive experience, that number should be expected to rise substantially throughout the FYDP. Note that this suggested amount for end-user purchases is exclusive of traditional outsourcing of NIMA legacy products, e.g., maps.
While the Commission views the DOD as the largest and most immediate problem, the DCI would be expected to adopt the same strategy if the DOD experience lives up to expectations.
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).
The Commission believes that NIMA should adopt a "disruptive" business model based on a commercial strategy that always looks first to commercial vendors for source data, value-added products, information services, and infrastructure support.
The Commission rationale is threefold: (i) outsourcing operation (and, in some case, ownership) of infrastructure frees up resources, but especially management attention and, in the case of IT, scarce skills; (ii) purchase of commodity items from vendors is nearly always preferable to internal USG production; and (iii) NIMA cannot, itself, afford to maintain a broad base of scientific skills.
The study should, inter alia:
In the event that independent study shows, as the Commission expects, that there are major untapped opportunities for relying on commercial vendors, NIMA should petition for relief as needed from procedures dictated by OMB circular A-76, which allows "internal" components to "compete" against external sources.
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 rating47 for Software and System Acquisition.
The Commission believes that NIMA should be an acquiring organization, not a developing organization. To that end, NIMA should look to commercial technology developers and producers for solutions. D/NIMA should periodically review all development activities and consider their transition to acquisition.
The Commission observed a key distinction between military and intelligence organizations in this regard: within the Department of Defense, the Services are responsible for acquisition, while the agencies and CINCs are responsible for execution. Intelligence agencies like NIMA and NSA are responsible for both intelligence production and the acquisition of systems designed to provide that intelligence48.
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.
NIMA does not have the organic capability to successfully acquire TPED, nor can it "get there from here," in time, using normal government practice. There is no help on the horizon because neither the NRO nor NSA has talent to spare.
NIMA leadership should seek redress from federal hiring restrictions to identify incentives to attract experienced personnel to meet its needs. NIMA leadership should also work with the imagery and GIS industries and academia to determine how to improve the industrial base to encourage more growth in these fields.
For the EPO proper, the special authorities of the DCI should be extended to create the "spaces" and the DCI and SECDEF should intercede personally with the private sector to get the "faces" to fill those spaces. Congress should codify the exceptional measures needed to set up and operate this Extraordinary Program Office (EPO).
It is anticipated that the EPO shall have a five-year lease on life, after which the Director of the EPO and D/NIMA will have arranged for a smooth transition of the required capabilities into NIMA proper.
The Director of NIMA shall ensure that the EPO is not bogged down in bureaucracy; streamlined, responsive contracting, security, and infrastructure services should be available to the Director of the EPO; the NRO model suggests itself, here.
Elements of an EPO
Within 120 days of appointment, the Director of the EPO shall prepare and coordinate a set of definitions that define the scope and content of TPED, FIA, USIGS, and multi-INT TPED, and prepare and coordinate with users in the US Imagery and Geospatial Community (IGC) a TPED CONOPS.
Within the same time frame, the Director of the EPO shall re-baseline TPED requirements and lay out the broad architectural (re)design, developing a strategy for transition from legacy and current acquisition to the desired end-state. As part of the re-baseline effort, significant FIA shortfalls as identified by the JCS shall be considered. The Director of the EPO, consistent with these definitions, shall prepare an acquisition strategy.
The Director of the EPO shall include in the acquisition strategy appropriate use of commercial hardware and software. "Appropriate use" includes a strategy to migrate from legacy GOTS and customized code to COTS products.
The Director of the EPO should make an early determination as to the advisability of adopting as a design philosophy the data-centric/Web-centric architecture expounded on by the Commission as a part of its "clean sheet" exercise, and periodically commission a "technology road map."
The Director of the EPO shall ensure that the TPED architecture either explicitly provides for inclusion of multi-INT or is demonstrably extensible to accommodate multi-INT.
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.
The Commission has found what appear to be viable commercial solutions for IDEX replacement built around the very latest generation of high-end PCs, video boards, and standard operating systems. These solutions are viable today because of the high velocity of technology and were not foreseen when the IEC plan was put in place. This emphasizes the need for more adaptable acquisition plans that provide for midstream technology insertion and the Commission anticipates that the requested revised plan will incorporate this philosophy.
Behind the enthusiasm of the Commission to drive the price continually lower for capable soft-copy imagery exploitation is the desire, finally, to drive a stake in the heart of film-based exploitation and the purchase of yet more light tables. Although this worthy goal was embraced by FIA, whose baseline included no provision for the production of film, that has already been modified when it was realized that the lack of affordable soft-copy exploitation capability meant that it would not be sufficiently widespread in time.
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.
The ASD(C3I) shared with the Commission a TPED vision that stipulates several phases. A later phase, as he described it, calls for the integration of airborne and commercial imagery. The Commission endorses this phased approach, but believes that the time scale should be compressed and the phases given more definition at the earliest opportunity.
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.
These collection-system options would, if added to FIA, constitute major contingent liabilities in the TPED Program. The Commission is concerned that, yet again, the Community may decide to add collection capability with neither an end-to-end design, nor any thought to the resource implications for the TPED segment(s).
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.
ASD(C3I) must acknowledge responsibility for end-to-end architecture, and take more forceful cognizance of the discontinuities that exist.
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.
Current DOD policy requires that the Defense Information Services Agency be the communications provider of choice. Moreover, DISA, in its role as architect for the Global Information Grid (GIG) holds NIMA's life's blood in its hands. There is some reason to question whether two architects, NIMA and DISA, should work separately on two sides of the same architectural coin--storage (library design), and communications. Based on past performance, there is also some reason to question whether DISA can fully slake the thirst of NIMA's users for delivery of their images.
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.
This, too, is consonant with the vision of a phased TPED, which the shared with the Commission. In his plan, a move toward multi-INT TPED is the last stage, and the Commission agrees both with the ordering and with the recognition that such major changes take time; however, we stand at an historic moment when both imagery and SIGINT are redoing their respective "TPEDs." Missing the opportunity for converging them would be regrettable.
18.10.1 The Director
of NIMA should establish a Technical Advisory Board
The Director of NIMA can be well served by an external panel of experts who, jointly and severally, can bring broad experience of both government and the private sector. Diversity should be the hallmark of the Board, with individuals who are intimate not only with the traditional contractor base, but also information technology endeavors of emerging importance to NIMA--colloquially, "dot.coms" and the like--as well as the science base on which exploitation of some future collection systems will depend.
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.
The current tour length of the Director of NIMA, 2-3 years, is too short to solidify accomplishments, institutionalize solutions, and sustain the momentum for needed change; it allows the Director's intent to be frustrated by recidivists who wait out the change in leadership.
The Commission recommends that the DCI and SECDEF, with such help from Congress as may be needed, ensure that the Director of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (D/NIMA) serve a nominal term of not less than five years, absent cause for dismissal, subject to the personal needs of the individual. In the event that an active duty military officer serves as Director, the cognizant military service must commit to this length of tour and Congress should ameliorate any unique hardship that this entails upon the military service. The available alternative is civilian leadership with a military officer as deputy. Whatever the solution, the objective is to ensure better continuity and sustain the momentum.
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.
Information superiority, in its fullest form, is not only about one's own state of knowledge, but also that of the adversary. As we lose sources and methods generally, and imagery exclusivity particularly, it is vital for US commanders to know what the adversary knows, or could know. NIMA, using commercial imagery and tools that could be available to the adversary in accordance with adversary intelligence doctrine, will have to impute what the OPFOR state of knowledge can be.
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.
NIMA has made the imagery library a centerpiece of its architecture--a data warehouse, from which users can pull imagery and which also infers users' needs and pushes imagery or imagery advisories to them. With the passage of time, some of the warehoused material will appreciate in utility such as historical coverage of a now-current crises area, while the utility of other material such as repeated coverage of an inactive target will decline. That is, the inventory in the warehouse has a current asset value and the goal is to maximize this value.
The "Archive Manager" would be responsible for managing the archive, estimating its current and future value, and actively trying to increase that value. Beyond improving procedures and heightening awareness, it is anticipated that the manager would have (low priority, "background") tasking/purchasing authority to add imagery and imagery products to the library "on speculation." The metric by which the manager is rated is the "return on investment"--the increase in inventory value generated by the opportunity cost of the input.
The mission of the Archive Manager might be managing both the operation of the warehouse and its investment value.
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.
The Commissioners were heartened by a planned "experiment" to integrate Latin America imagery and geospatial analysts, i.e., collocate those analysts who are Latin American specialists. NIMA should set explicit goals and performance metrics to determine whether collocation and integration works, how well it works, and how it may be extrapolated to other parts of NIMA. The plan for further integration should address the goal of melding into an overarching NIMA culture the separate cultures now extant, and should include training as an integral part of the reformation.
46 Commercial imagery is, however, subject to terms and conditions of contracts designed to preserve the intellectual property rights of the "owner"--i.e., it must be bought and paid for to include the population with whom it would be shared. This "surcharge" for sharing reflects, more or less, lost opportunity to the vendor.
47 Based on the Software Engineering Institute's Capability Maturity Model.
48 The NRO is unique in the IC in that it is basically an acquisition organization.
| Executive Summary and Key Judgments
| Introduction | NIMA
from the Beginning