The Pentagon’s Satellite Spies Are Aiming for the Arctic

National Geospatial Intelligence Agency director Robert Cardillo sees the North Pole as the future nexus of geopolitical tensions.

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.