Metro-East News

NGA stiffs Illinois again, will give millions to Mizzou

Artist’s conception of the National Geospatial Intelligence Ageney headquarters in St. Louis.
Artist’s conception of the National Geospatial Intelligence Ageney headquarters in St. Louis.

Talk about rubbing salt into the wounds of Illinoisans.

The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency — which was considering a new home in Illinois but ultimately decided to keep its western headquarters in St. Louis — has awarded a $12 million grant to the University of Missouri.

The University of Missouri announced the grant Wednesday in a news release.

“The University of Missouri College of Engineering has just been awarded a five-year, $12 million contract to deliver a comprehensive data science education program that will provide cutting-edge analytical training for the NGA workforce and potentially other members of the U.S. Intelligence Community,” the university said in the news release. “This new program will address key education and training needs identified by NGA.”

NGA Director Robert Cardillo announced in June that the agency’s $1.6 billion western headquarters would be built in north St. Louis instead of a proposed site in St. Clair County, next to Scott Air Force Base.

Cardillo, at the time, said: “The St. Louis site provides NGA with the most technological, academic, and professional environment for this agency to develop the capabilities necessary to solve the hardest intelligence and national security problems entrusted to us by the American people.”

The program at MU is a collaboration between the university’s College of Engineering’s Center for Geospatial Intelligence and the MU Informatics Institute’s Data Science and Analytics master’s degree program. The newly established effort is part of the NGA College’s Learning Outreach program that partners with qualified academic institutions and industry partners to address key education and training gaps within the NGA.

Mizzou will provide a data science education program that includes databases and programming, statistical analysis and predictive modeling, data visualization and data mining, cloud-based computing, and machine learning among other specialties that will help develop the NGA and intelligence-community workforce.