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Geospatial Intelligence Operations Process

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Overview Edit

The Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) Operations Process utilizes the intelligence process, which has six phases: planning and direction; collection; processing and exploitation; analysis and production; dissemination and integration; and evaluation and feedback.

Planning and Direction Edit

The GEOINT planning function includes planning for both GI&S and imagery support. Direction refers to the process of shaping and prioritizing the actions identified during planning to create a balanced GEOINT collection requirement strategy.

Collection Edit

The GEOINT process requires the tasking and collection of both imagery and geospatial data. Two major categories of collection systems used by NGA are satellite and airborne.

Processing and Exploitation Edit

While NGA performs GEOINT exploitation and analysis, including standard and imagery extraction requirements, the Services and joint forces also possess exploitation capabilities for airborne, overhead, and commercial imagery and advanced geospatial intelligence to support operational requirements. After being processed, geospatial data is distributed, archived, and made accessible for users.

Imagery exploitation involves the evaluation, manipulation, and analysis of one or more images to extract information related to a list of essential elements of information. There are three phases of imagery exploitation: first phase, also known as time-dominant, and second and third phase, which are non-time dominant. The purpose of time-dominant exploitation (First Phase) is to satisfy priority requirements of immediate need and/or to identify changes or activity of immediate significance. The purpose of Second Phase exploitation is to provide an organized and comprehensive account of the intelligence derived from validated intelligence requirements tasking. In the Third Phase, detailed, authoritative reports on specified installations, objects, and activities are prepared by the agencies participating in the exploitation effort.

Analysis and Production Edit

GEOINT products include traditional GI&S and imagery products as well as more advanced products created by combining GI&S and imagery data into a single, multidimensional product. Standard GEOINT products are developed from electo-optical, radar, infrared, and multispectoral sensor data. Specialized products use standard products as a foundation but provide added capabilities. GEOINT products are often developed through a process, known as “value added,” in which both the producer and the user of GEOINT update a database or product with current information. GEOINT services support the generation, management, and use of GEOINT data and products. These include tools that enable both users and producers to access and manipulate data.

Dissemination and Integration Edit

Dissemination is the timely conveyance of GEOINT products in an appropriate form and by any suitable means, whether in hard copy or electronic form. Dissemination is accomplished through both the “pull” and “push” principles. The “pull” principle provides intelligence organizations at all levels with direct reachback capability via electronic access to central databases, intelligence files, or other repositories containing GEOINT data and products. The “push” principle allows the producers to transmit GEOINT to the requestors along with other relevant information.

There are differences in dissemination methods for national, commercial, and airborne systems. The National Imagery Library is the primary on-line system for storage of information derived from national imagery systems. There are several dissemination systems used to distribute information derived from commercial overhead systems. The Commercial Satellite Imagery Library is an imagery archive that stores commercial imagery purchased by NGA. The Distributed Common Ground/Surface System is a family of systems connected through designated points of interoperability designed to provide airborne system derived, multi-intelligence discipline, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance task, post, process and use capabilities at the joint task force level and below through a combination of reachback, forward support, and collaboration.

Evaluation and Feedback Edit

It is imperative that intelligence personnel and consumers at all levels provide honest, timely feedback, throughout the intelligence process, on how well the various intelligence operations perform to meet the commander’s requirements. Military units can provide feedback up to the national level through their components, to the joint task force and/or combatant command levels. Services and combatant commands can also participate in NGA led forums to vet issues and communicate needs. The executive level forum is the NSG Senior Management Council, and the action officer level forum is the Geospatial Intelligence Board.

Source Edit

  • Geospatial Intelligence Support to Joint Operations, at xii-xiii (Joint Pub. 2-03) (Mar. 22, 2007).

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