The Pentagon’s Satellite Spies Are Aiming for the Arctic

Almost by definition, the North Pole is not thought of as a global hot spot. It’s an area typically only recognized come holiday time. But as the polar ice melts, the Arctic is becoming a nexus of geopolitical tensions, Defenseone.Com reports.

And because all the commotion has economic and not just military ramifications, NGA Director Robert Cardillo sees the Arctic as a place that could bring his agency out into the open. Again.

To me, I think the Arctic is a wonderful place where we should be thinking about our next piece of open code,” Cardillo said in a recent interview with Nextgov. ”A great deal of what’s known about the Arctic is unclassified. We don’t have a rich history of classified intelligence collection in the Arctic, because — guess what? — it wasn’t a priority.

Now it is. President Barack Obama in a May 2013 Arctic National Strategy outlined “strategic priorities” for the Arctic region, that call for, among other things, a greater awareness of activity in the region as well as charts and scientific research to better understand the landscape. That would include NGA’s geospatial intelligence — insights derived from pairing satellite imagery with historical data sets, Defenseone writes.

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