NNIMA was established on 1 October 1996 to address these expanding requirements. It was created from the former Defense Mapping Agency (DMA), Central Imagery Office (CIO), and the Defense Dissemination Program Office (DDPO) in their entirety; the missions and functions of the National Photographic Interpretation Center (NPIC); and the imagery exploitation, dissemination and processing capabilities of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and the Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office (DARO).
The National Imagery and Mapping Agency's (NIMA's) role is to support the war fighter through priorities established by the commanders in chief (CINCs). This support comes in the form of imagery, imagery intelligence, and GI (including standard maps and data sets) in support of national security objectives. The agency's vision is to guarantee ready access to the world's imagery, imagery intelligence, and GI.
NIMA has technical and liaison representatives at the CINC level who work with the staff and the GI&S officer to establish requirements and priorities and to identify the best products and services that NIMA can provide. These representatives prioritize, validate, and consolidate requirements identified by major subordinate commands (MSCs).
NIMA has a global mission, as established by the NIMA Act of 1996. It has the unique responsibilities of managing and providing imagery and GI to national policy makers and military forces. NIMA is also an established part of the US intelligence community in recognition of its unique responsibilities and global mission.
NIMA brings together in a single organization the imagery tasking, production, exploitation, and dissemination (TPED) responsibilities and the mapping, charting, and geodetic functions of eight separate organizations of the defense and intelligence communities. NIMA continues to improve support to national and military customers through comprehensive management of US imaging and geospatial capabilities.