Robert Cardillo

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Robert Cardillo
Robert Cardillo official photo.jpg
6th Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
In office
October 3, 2014 – February 7, 2019
PresidentBarack Obama
Donald Trump
DeputyJustin Poole
Preceded byLetitia Long
Succeeded byRobert D. Sharp
Deputy Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency
In office
April 19, 2010 – August 31, 2010
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded byLetitia Long
Succeeded byDavid Shedd
Personal details
Alma materCornell University (BA)
Georgetown University (MA)

Robert Cardillo is a Distinguished Fellow at Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology. Prior to this appointment, he was the sixth Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and was sworn in October 3, 2014.[1] He was previously selected by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to serve as the first Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Intelligence Integration in September 2010.[2][3] Clapper said in a statement that the position would "elevate information sharing and collaboration" between those who collect intelligence and those who analyze it.[4][5] Cardillo previously served as Deputy Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).[6] Prior to that, he served as the Deputy Director for Analysis, DIA, and Director, Analysis and Production, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA).[7][8]

Early life and education[edit]

Cardillo earned a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Cornell University in 1983 and a Master of Arts in National Security Studies from Georgetown University in 1988. He is an alumnus of the Council for Excellence in Government, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Capstone Course, and Harvard University's Program for Senior Managers in Government. Cardillo is the recipient of the Presidential Rank of Distinguished Executive, Presidential Rank of Meritorious Executive, Vice President's Hammer Award, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joint Meritorious Civilian Service Award, DIA's Analyst of the Year, Director DIA's Intelligence Award, and the NGA's Distinguished Civilian Service Award.[9]

Intelligence career[edit]

Cardillo began his career with the DIA in 1983 as an imagery analyst. In May 2000 he was selected to join the Defense Intelligence Senior Executive Service. Throughout his career, he has served in a variety of leadership positions within the Intelligence Community. He led NGA's Analysis and Production Directorate and Source Operations and Management Directorate from 2002 to 2006 and also led NGA's Congressional Affairs, Public Affairs, and Corporate Relations sections.[10] From 2006 to 2010, Cardillo served as deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency as a whole and deputy director for analysis, leading DIA's Directorate for Analysis.[11] In summer 2009, he served as the Acting J2, a first for a civilian, in support of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.[9] From 2010 to 2014, Cardillo served as the inaugural Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Intelligence Integration

Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency[edit]

Cardillo became the sixth NGA director in October 2014[10] and served until his retirement in February 2019.[12][13]


Cardillo's leadership at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency was marked by numerous issues that involved his leadership team and also his decision to have a family friend, Bobby Knight, deliver an address to the workforce on leadership. In 2015, Bobby Knight visited the agency and during that visit was accused by 4 female employees of inappropriate behavior. The result was an FBI investigation into the matter. While the FBI did not bring charges, the incident was a concern that affected agency employee engagement and morale.[14]

In February 2019, the Department of Defense (DoD) Inspector General published a report that found Ms. Ellen Ardrey, the agency Director of Human Capital, circumvented department policy and wasted government resources. Ms. Ardrey's circumvention of policy resulted in a cost to the government of $280,000. Specifically, the investigation determined that Ms. Ardrey improperly permitted NGA senior officials to downgrade themselves to non-senior official positions within the agency for one pay period, and then paid them $40,000 each as buyout incentives to leave the agency. In part Ms. Ardrey's acts were motivated by her desire to implement Director Cardillo's organizational vision.[15]

Also in February 2019, the DoD Inspector General concluded an investigation of Mr. Cardillo's Deputy, Justin Poole. The investigation concluded that Poole engaged in an inappropriate and unprofessional relationship with a subordinate from July 2018 through November 2018.[16] He was placed on Administrative leave on 27 February 2019.[17]

After NGA[edit]

In May 2019, Cardillo was named a Distinguished Geospatial Fellow at Saint Louis University in which he will advise on strategy for geospatial growth in St. Louis. His role includes advising the growth of GeoSLU, Saint Louis University's geospatial research, training, and innovation initiative, and advising the Cortex Innovation Community on geospatial strategy, innovation, and commercialization.

In March 2021, Cardillo was elected as Chairman of the Board of the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation USGIF.

In April 2021, Cardillo joined Planet Federal as Chairman of the Board and Chief Strategist. Planet Federal is a division of Earth imaging company Planet Labs dealing with federal contracts; it has ties to the Intelligence Community and is a satellite imagery vendor to the community through NGA and NRO.[18]

Personal life[edit]

A runner who has completed five Marine Corps Marathons, Cardillo resides in Alexandria, Virginia. As of 2014, he had a wife, three children, and two grandchildren.[11]


  1. ^ "Cardillo Takes the Reins as Director of NGA -". 2014-10-06. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  2. ^ "Director-About NGA-National Geo-Spatial Intelligence Agency".
  3. ^ "Geospatial Intelligence Forum Interview with Robert Cardillo".
  4. ^ CNN, Director of national intelligence names deputy to boost collaboration, August 20, 2010
  5. ^ ODNI (August 20, 2010). "Statement by the Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper to the United States Intelligence Community workforce" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on September 19, 2010.
  6. ^ DIA (April 1, 2010). "Robert Cardillo Selected to be DIA Deputy Director" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 18, 2011.
  7. ^ GEOINT 2009, Robert T. Cardillo, Deputy Director for Analysis, accessed 2010
  8. ^ Defense News, Robert Cardillo, U.S. DIA's Deputy Director of Analysis, September 1, 2008[dead link]
  9. ^ a b ODNI (January 2011). "Official Biography". Archived from the original on July 21, 2011.
  10. ^ a b "Robert Cardillo". National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Retrieved July 17, 2021.
  11. ^ a b "Robert Cardillo" (PDF). National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Retrieved July 17, 2021.
  12. ^ "Robert Cardillo". Center for Strategic and International Studies. Retrieved July 17, 2021.
  13. ^ {{cite press release |last=Coats |first=Dan |date=February 7, 2019 |title=DNI Coats Statement on Retirement of NGA Director Robert Cardillo |url= |location=Washington, D.C. |publisher=[[Director of National Intelligence#Office_of_the_Director_of_National_Intelligence|Office of the Director of National Intelligence |access-date=July 17, 2021}}
  14. ^ Whitlock, Craig (July 7, 2017). "FBI investigated complaints that Bobby Knight groped women at U.S. spy agency" – via
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ Matishak, Martin. "Senior intelligence official put on leave for 'personal misconduct'". POLITICO.
  18. ^ Strout, Nathan (July 16, 2021). "National Reconnaissance Office extends contract for commercial imagery". C4ISRNET. Defense News. Retrieved July 17, 2021.

External links[edit]

Media related to Robert Cardillo at Wikimedia Commons