From: "McEathron, Scott R" [[email protected]]
Reply-To: Discussion of Government Document Issues [email protected]
Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2005 10:13:32 -0600
To: [email protected]
Subject: Open letter to NGA Director



January 28, 2005

In reply to: Media Release NGA-04-11
James R. Clapper, Jr.
Lieutenant General, USAF (Ret.)
Director
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
Mail Stop D-111, Attn: Public Release of Aeronautical Products 
4600 Sangamore Road 
Bethesda, MD  20816-5003

Dear General Clapper:

Thank you for providing this opportunity for public comment on the National
Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) proposal to remove aeronautical information
from public sale and distribution.  Several excellent reasons are evident for
NGA keeping these geospatial data products publicly available.

As a map librarian at the T. R. Smith Map Collections at the University of Kansas 
(KU), I see many of these maps used regularly for educational and scholarly purposes.  
For example, during the past year, faculty and graduate student researchers mapping 
the distribution of species specimens from the KU Natural History Museum and 
Biodiversity Research Center have used the Joint Operations Graphic-Air (JOG-A) 
series maps from this library.

Furthermore, industry, the public, and service people from Fort Leavenworth, also
use the NGA maps and data from this library on a regular basis.

Currently, a local engineering firm is using JOG maps from KU for the reconstruction 
of a dam across a tributary of the Tigris River.

I encourage you to think more broadly in your assessment of "the threat,"
and the collaboration that will be necessary to prevail in this "war on terror."  
If the roots of terrorism are ignorance, poverty and selfishness, librarians have 
long been working to end these problems at the frontlines.

In your Pathfinder article "A Sense of Urgency," you state that neither the NGA or 
the broader Intelligence Community (IC) "as a whole, can do it on our own."  I agree, 
yet would also include higher education, not just industry within that effort.  I 
urge you to recognize and exploit the informal collaboration that is already 
happening between government, industry and higher education in the production, 
analysis and distribution of geospatial intelligence (GEOINT).  Withdrawal of 
information and data products from the public will only serve to cripple these 
collaborative efforts.

A basic tenet of our republic is that free people must be well informed to govern 
themselves.  Cooperation between agencies of the United States Government and 
American libraries has been a foundation stone within the building process of 
an informed public.  We need to carry forward and expand this partnership and 
not detract from it.

Sincerely,

Scott R. McEathron

C:      The Honorable Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
        The Honorable Porter J. Goss, Director of Central Intelligence 
	The Honorable Pat Roberts, United States Senate
        The Honorable Sam Brownback, United States Senate
        The Honorable Dennis Moore, United States House of Representatives