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26 Apr 2010

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Monday Morning News Kick Off: Air Force’s Secret Space Plane, IC Imagery Processing Problems, and the “Emasculation” of the IC

Added by Category: Daily Intelligence Brief, General

Welcome to the Monday Morning News Kick Off post from got geoint? Monday, Monday. Here we are again. You come back way to soon. But, as true professionals, we have to embrace Monday and all the possibilities that come with this special day. As such, we have all the actionable GEOINT news you need in one place. This week, have stories about the U.S. Air Force launching a “secretive space plane,” the latest from NGA’s Pathfinder, and a rather scathing Op-Ed on the Obama Administration’s “emasculation” of the intelligence agencies. As we always say, fire up that second cup of coffee and read on.

Air Force Launches Secretive Space Plane; ‘We Don’t Know When It’s Coming Back’
The Air Force launched a secretive space plane into orbit Thursday night from Cape Canaveral, Florida. And they’re not sure when it’s returning to Earth. Perched atop an Atlas V rocket, the Air Force’s unmanned and reusable X-37B made its first flight after a decade in development shrouded in mystery; most of the mission goals remain unknown to the public. The Air Force has fended off statements calling the X-37B a space weapon, or a space-based drone to be used for spying or delivering weapons from orbit. Read the full Wired Danger Room article here.

GEOINT Keep TRANSCOM Moving
The NGA Support Team (NST) for the U.S. Transportation Command, located at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., consists of a large team of geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) analysts who support TRANSCOM’s mission to provide air, land and sea transportation for the Department of Defense in times of both peace and war. TRANSCOM supplies the nation with the world’s most responsive strategic mobility capability, conducting thousands of air, ship and ground movements weekly. Working with TRANSCOM transportation analysts to depict seaports, the NST creates GEOINT with its GeoPort database and supporting software. Additionally, the NST assists the Air Mobility Command’s global air mobility mission with a special air product, the Layered Airfield Graphic. Both GeoPort and Layered Airfield Graphics have matured into a customizable product for a variety of missions. Read the full NGA Pathfinder article here.

IC Imagery Processing Problems Could Impact GWOT
Addressing attendees of the “outside the beltway” GeoInt 2009 Symposium in San Antonio last October, Lt. Gen. David Deptula, Air Force deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, began by emphasizing that the panoply of imagery intelligence that’s playing a critical role in pinpointing terrorists and prosecuting the war on terrorism around the world, “is going to become even more important as we move into the future.” More than four months later, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) warned Congress that the Intelligence Community’s (IC) abilities to collect and analyze imagery from the myriad spy collection platforms is plagued by serious processing deficiencies. Read the full HS Today article here.

Weakening America Starts With Emasculating Intelligence Agencies
Fifteen months into his presidency, it’s no longer possible to assume President Obama is simply naive. His defense and foreign policy decisions and policies will reduce America from unchallenged superpower to a shell of its former self, to a nation incapable of defending its interests or its allies around the world. To understand why this is so, let’s start with the component that is the foundation of all others in defense and foreign policy, intelligence. without accurate, detailed intelligence measuring the intentions and capabilities of both foe and friend, defense and foreign policy decisions are mere guesswork. Getting the best intelligence requires a bond of trust among the CIA, National Security Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency and others — plus the White House. Obama and his congressional allies have broken that bond. Read the full Washington Examiner Op-Ed by Jed Babbin, former deputy undersecretary of defense under President George H.W. Bush, here.

3-D Technology Helps Emergency Responders Observe Origins of 911 Calls
As 3-D effects continue to pop up in movie theaters worldwide, emergency responders are finding more practical uses for the technology, like in Durham, N.C., where officials have started using 3-D technology to observe the locations of residents in trouble. In April, the Durham Emergency Communications Center (DECC), launched advanced tools that show the exact origins of 911 calls in a 3-D, aerial image. Communications officers can view any property, building, highway or other structure in Durham County from 12 different angles, and obtain measurements and elevation from the imagery. This technology is critical when it comes to GIS mapping, transportation and community planning. And in the case of Durham, its usefulness includes missions for first responders, who can better assess the scene of an incident. Read the full Government Technology article here.

Happy Monday!

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