INSA's December 15 Coffee & Conversation with Major General Charles Cleveland, Director of Operations at NGA, attracted over 500 attendees and returned a 100% satisfaction rating. Moderated by INSA's Executive Vice President, John Doyon, the conversation focused on the importance of integrating NGA’s mission areas to better promote its people, its partnerships, the mission today, and the mission tomorrow.
MG Cleveland spoke at length about the changing direction of NGA. The Agency is at an inflection point and is witnessing an evolution in national security and a revolution in GEOINT. This change is inspired by Director Sharp’s Intent, which outlines a pivot to great power competition and the exploration of the space and cyber domains.
The shift from counterterrorism to great power competition has resulted in more sophisticated targets. This reality inspires NGA’s moonshot, which is premised on maintaining a competitive edge in GEOINT and holding adversary capabilities at risk. In addition to conventional military capabilities and the information environment, MG Cleveland noted the need to observe and track how adversaries are using their economies to further their aims.
NGA aims to leverage the explosion of artificial intelligence and machine learning to confront these growing challenges. The Agency has established Moonshot Labs in St. Louis, MI to develop specific solutions to specific problems. MG Cleveland emphasized that NGA cannot undertake this mission alone and stressed the importance of working with partners on these endeavors.
The conversation also covered the effects of the pandemic. The successful implementation of telework ensured that the NGA workforce could continue working the mission in an efficient and effective manner. MG Cleveland lauded the Agency’s response and credited its leadership with turning a crisis into an opportunity. The pandemic has led the leadership to identify best practices and reimagine how NGA might conduct its work in the future.
To close, MG Cleveland celebrated the NGA workforce and underscored their resilience during this difficult year. The Agency puts people before the mission, and that philosophy contributes to an innovative and driven workforce. NGA looks forward to the challenges of 2021 and feels well positioned to work towards its moonshot.
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