Next week's GEOINT Symposium in San Antonio, Texas is going to showcase the very best that Industry has to offer in geospatial technologies for the GEOINT professional. The wide range of products, services and capabilities that will be on display is a testament to the continuing demands of NGA and the broader GEOINT community. As new challenges emerge on the global landscape, NGA will continue to rely upon industrial GEOINT partners to help perform at the highest levels in support of it's mission.
Maintaining this industrial GEOINT capability is a sound strategy which enables NGA and other GEOINT consumers within Government(s) to consistent rely upon non-Governmental entities to fill often vital functions in the overall GEOINT mission. The robust nature of the commercial capabilities in support of NGA provide evidence that there is simply too much to accomplish and that Government(s) cannot be "all things to all people all the time". It is anathema to many to allow some functions and activities to be done by "contractors" instead of "true-blue" Government employees, but this is rather antiquated thinking in my view. Leadership that recognizes an appropriate balance between industry involvement and Government mission brings about a new paradigm that allows Government to focus on the exceptional things that Government can and should do (and not allow to be privatized) and leave the rest to Industry to compete and deliver cutting-edge technology and capabilities.
The partnership between NGA and Industry is only becoming stronger and this is a positive development. Commercial entities are often able to respond faster and more efficiently to issues that are of concern to GEOINT users and where stubborn problems exist, true collaboration can lead to exceptionally powerful break-through results. NGA is clearly in the leadership role by articulating requirements, needs, feedback on performance and of course, funding. Industry's role is to meet those requirements and perform. There is a premium on the value of the highest performers and those able to truly see the need and meet the need before even NGA understands the problem. These types of cooperative relationships lead to force-multiplier impacts on overall GEOINT dominance and support of the mission.
Industrial GEOINT is not something to loathe or fear and it is not something that Government(s) should actively attempt to curtail or hinder. Promoting a healthy industrial sector for GEOINT not only makes financial sense for the return on investment (ROI) for NGA, but it also stimulates economic growth in job creation, innovation, and keeps the US technology industry at the forefront of an ever-increasing competitive global market space. Industrial GEOINT forces Government to establish priorities and articulate goals and objectives that can be measured with results that can be successfully implemented. Industry lives for this and should be applauded for rising the occasion again and again with real contributions. GEOINT 2011 is going to be an amazing event and I am looking forward to seeing what Industry brings to the table in advancing the state of the art.