Letters to the Editor

More on the history of NGA

I appreciate Walt Evans’ recent letter in which he argues that National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is misrepresented in the local press as “a spy mapping agency.”

Before reorganized under Defense Mapping Agency they were known as Air Force’s Aeronautical Chart and Information Center, established in Washington DC in 1952 with its Aeronautical Chart Plant located in St. Louis.

In 1972, ACIC was folded into DMA, consolidating multiple mapping agencies and assuming responsibility for producing and distributing maps, charts and geodetic products and services. It was renamed the DMA Aerospace Center.

DMAAC morphed again in 1992 with the establishment of National Imagery and Mapping Agency. NIMA combined DMA, Central Imagery Office, and Defense Dissemination Program Office in their entirety, and the mission and functions of National Photographic Interpretation Center.

Also merged into NIMA were imagery exploitation, dissemination and processing elements of Defense Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Office, and Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office.

I suspect it was at this point the overall mission of what was to later become NGA really began to blur. A variety of subscribers came on board, some not wanting a lot of visibility.

NGA’s mission is “to deliver world-class geospatial intelligence that provides a decisive advantage to policymakers, war fighters, intelligence professionals and first responders.”

The term “geospatial intelligence” means the exploitation and analysis of imagery and geospatial information to describe, assess, and visually depict physical features and geographically referenced activities on the earth.

That sounds like a whole lot more than just aviation-related products.

Bill Malec, O’Fallon