On Thursday, February 24th, Sue Pollmann, West Executive and N2W Program Director at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), joined INSA’s Vice President for Policy Larry Hanauer for a virtual conversation that addressed a range of issues including the status of the 97-acre NGA West campus (N2W), goals for NGA’s new Moonshot Labs technology development center, efforts to accelerate innovation through greater collaboration with industry, incorporation of commercial GEOINT and unclassified analysis into the Agency’s products, priorities for NGA west missions, and challenges facing the government and industry workforce in St. Louis.
Pollmann began by laying out her priorities as the West Executive for 2022. Her primary focus is to ensure that the St. Louis campus is clearly communicating with NGA headquarters to ensure that efforts are not being duplicated.
View Program Recording Here
Special thanks to host sponsor, Maxar
When considering the unique challenges and opportunities that face government and industry working in St. Louis, Pollmann explained that NGA has a major advantage due to being the only intelligence agency operating in the area. This has been great for employee retention and building relationships with local universities to access talent. There is also increased opportunity to engage with employees at the working level and not just at the senior level. Though, she acknowledged, industry may feel that they have less access to decision makers in St. Louis.
Pollmann has been involved with the design of the N2W campus, which is a facility that allows for both classified and unclassified work. This provides NGA with the opportunity to collaborate with non-traditional partners who may not hold a security clearance. The building will have specific spaces dedicated to unclassified work where NGA employees and partners can work together directly. This will greatly improve NGA’s efficiency as data will not need to be passed from classified to unclassified domains.
While the N2W campus is being constructed, NGA has seen great success with its Moonshot Labs, which function as a bridge to N2W. Moonshot Labs is designed to support start ups that hope to partner with NGA and has also been a great opportunity for workforce development through student programs and mentoring initiatives.
To improve the acquisition process between NGA and industry partners, Pollmann believes that communication is key. The Agency needs to do their part in clearly defining their needs to industry, and their commercial partners need to be transparent about what their tools are capable of.