RAND Selected to Support Congressionally Mandated Review of NIMA

Earth photo courtesy of ArtToday ©2000RAND's National Defense Research Institute (NDRI) was chosen to provide analytic, technical, and staff support to a congressionally mandated commission required to review the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA).

NIMA was established October 1, 1996 by the National Imagery and Mapping Agency Act. NIMA's mission is "to provide timely, relevant, and accurate imagery, imagery intelligence, and geospatial information in support of national security objectives." The Agency provides imagery information to national, military, intelligence and civilian customers and conducts research and development at its National Information Display Laboratory (NIDL) for the Intelligence Community (IC). NIMA staff include experts in cartography, imagery analysis, the physical sciences, geodesy, computer and telecommunications engineering, and photogrammetry.

The Appropriations Conference Committee Classified Annex to the FY2000 Department of Defense Appropriations bill requires the establishment of an independent commission to review NIMA. This commission will review the Agency's:

  • present organizational and management structure,
  • current technology development and acquisition practices,
  • business practices, and
  • operational support to the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community.

NDRI was selected to support the commission because of its expertise in information technology, imagery intelligence, commercial imagery markets, and organizational development.

NDRI is responsible for the following tasks, under the guidance of the Commission Chairman:

  • providing the Executive Secretary and other analysts to support the Commission's activities;
  • developing the Commission's analytic agenda;
  • performing research studies on selected topics identified by the Chairman and the Executive Secretary;
  • maintaining documentation of the Commission's activities and proceedings; and
  • presenting the results of its own research.

Led by Principal Investigators Kevin O'Connell and Charles Kelley, NDRI researchers are currently working on four studies:

  • assessing NIMA's outsourcing strategy;
  • evaluating the commercial remote sensing market;
  • assessing NIMA's strategy for modernizing its tasking, processing, exploitation, and dissemination (TPED) systems; and
  • investigating the competition between DOD and non-DOD customers for imagery.

Funding for the project is provided by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (ASD/C31).