United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation
|Formation||January 22, 2004|
|Purpose||Industry association for Geospatial Intelligence community|
|Chairman of the Board||Jeffrey K. Harris|
The United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) is a non-profit organization in Virginia dedicated to supporting the geospatial intelligence tradecraft. The organization's mission is to provide a forum to exchange ideas, share best practices, and promote the education and importance of a national intelligence agenda. USGIF provides a number of programs and events such as its GEOINT Symposium, USGIF Academy that accredits colleges and university geospatial program, the annual GEOINT Community Week events, and other programs to provide the community with the opportunity to collaborate with senior-level officials across the multiple communities and support the future of the tradecraft.
The United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation was created in January 2004 by a group of tradecraft professionals recognizing the need for a forum where they could work together——outside their own organizational and corporate interests——toward a mutual goal of improving national and homeland security. The idea for the Foundation started with an event, Geo-Intel 2003, which drew enough interest to solidify the group’s notion that the tradecraft community needed a forum. This event drew more than 1,000 intelligence professionals. Just months later, USGIF was created, publicly announcing its launch on May 12, 2004.
The United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) is a Virginia-based nonstock, nonlobbyist, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation. The Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors, giving direction to not only the Foundation itself, but also the Committees consisting of USGIF members. In turn, the Committees give direction for programs including the GEOINT Symposium, Awards Programs, Scholarships, GEOINT Community Week, Tech Days, the Thinkers' Dinner Series, and Chairman’s Events.
The USGIF contains five committees. The Strategic Advisory Committee, which oversees four subcommittees, advises the Foundation on strategic direction. The Planning Committee takes charge of Foundation events and programs. The Technical Committee, which oversees three subcommittees, keeps an eye on emerging technical trends to help keep USGIF advised and educated in new technical developments within the trade. The Academic Committee provides academic outreach to universities and colleges as well as promoting the aims of USGIF in government and industry. The Outreach Committee communicates with the public as well as policymakers about the trade and oversees USGIF Awards.
Carrying the torch of Geo-Intel 2003 as an official organization, USGIF rebranded the event as GEOINT Symposium. In November 2004, USGIF held the first GEOINT Symposium in New Orleans and attracted more than 1,500 participants. The annual event has since been hosted in San Antonio, Texas (2005 and 2007), Orlando, Florida (2006), and Nashville, Tennessee (2008), with growing attendance annually. The most recent GEOINT Symposium, GEOINT 2011, held in San Antonio saw a record attendance of 4,451 total speakers, attendees and exhibitors.
The GEOINT Symposium was described in 2008 by Tim Shorrock as "one of the few open windows into the thinking at the highest levels of US intelligence", as it "has become the nation's showcase for intelligence contractors and agencies alike...". In his book Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing, Shorrock recounts several notable events at GEOINT Symposiums. Among them, in 2004, the Symposium featured the directors of the CIA, the National Security Agency and the NGA speaking at a public session at the same time—the only occasion during the presidency of George W. Bush when such a public collective gathering would occur. He also notes that, in 2005, Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Collection Mary Margaret Graham inadvertently revealed the amount of money spent by the US government on national intelligence, the first time the budget amount had been revealed since 1998.
In 2006, the GEOINT Symposium featured then Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte as keynote speaker. In 2008, the address was delivered by Negroponte's successor, Mike McConnell, whose speech was picked up by multiple media outlets. The GEOINT stage has drawn additional contributors, among them Donald Kerr, General James Cartwright, Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré, Christopher K. Tucker, retired Gen. Anthony Zinni, Charles E. Allen, Ambassador Dennis Richardson, Anthony Tether, Al Munson, Bran Ferren, and Gen. Michael Hayden.
Tech Days is an event at which USGIF Members showcase their technologies without having to compete against speakers or an agenda. This event is held each spring in the D.C. metro area to allow members of US Congress and other government employees convenient access to the latest developments and solutions in geospatial technology. Tech Days is produced in cooperation with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), which hosts a classified technology component as part of the event. Tech Days culminates with the GEOGala black-tie dinner.
In addition to the USGIF Speaker Series, USGIF hosts smaller dinner events where USGIF Strategic Partner Members can listen to and speak with leaders in Government, Defense, Intelligence, Academia, and Industry in a more intimate and casual environment. The event, at times, coincides with a classified briefing or other relevant activities. The Chairman’s Events are open only to Strategic Partner Members, USGIF Board of Directors, and select invited guests.
USGIF supports education through several programs. It is the only body accrediting university programs in geospatial intelligence, under its Geospatial Intelligence Certificate Program. The first four universities accredited were University of Missouri, Pennsylvania State University, George Mason University and the University of Texas at Dallas. The program was launched after several years of planning and community outreach to draft an acceptable set of standards.
It also provides scholarships to college and university students in geospatial-related fields as well as to high school students intending higher education in geospatial-related fields and hosts the USGIF James and Susan Clapper Education Initiative Fund to fund earth-science material for primary and secondary students.
- "Official launch of United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF)". GeoCommunity SpatialNews (Press release). May 12, 2004. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
- Shorrock, 229.
- Shorrock, 229-230.
- Shorrock, 230.
- Sui, Daniel Z. (2008). Geospatial Technologies and Homeland Security: Research Frontiers and Future Challenges. Springer. p. 296. ISBN 1402083394.
- See Negroponte's speech from the event, .
- Allen, JoAnne (October 31, 2008). "Intelligence chief sees growing potential for conflict". Reuters. Retrieved 22 January 2009.
- Benson, Pam (October 30, 2008). "Spy chief says U.S. vulnerable in president's first year". CNN Politics.com. Retrieved 22 January 2009.
- Hess, Pamela (October 30, 2008). "Intel chief: President's Year 1 is dangerous time". International Herald Tribune. Associated Press. Retrieved 22 January 2009.
- Munson's speech from the event
- "USGIF accredits universities under first-ever geospatial intelligence accreditation and certificate program". Business Wire. FindArticles.com. February 5, 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-22. (Press release)
- "Geospatial Intelligence certificate". United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation. Retrieved 2010-06-13.
- Wagner, Mary Jo (August 15, 2006). "USGIF promotes Geospatial Intelligence Certificate Program". GeoIntelligence Insider. Retrieved 2009-01-22.
- Shorrock, Tim (2008). Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0743282248.