NGA head Letitia Long to retire; Robert Cardillo named to lead GEOINT agency

Monday - 6/2/2014, 11:12am EDT

The director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Letitia Long, announced she's retiring after 35 years of government service, the last four of which were spent leading NGA.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Monday he has selected Robert Cardillo, currently deputy director of national intelligence for intelligence integration, to succeed Long at the agency responsible for collecting and creating geospatial intelligence, or GEOINT.

Letitia Long

Cardillo will take over in October 2014.

Long became the first woman to lead a major intelligence agency in August 2010. She is credited with helping the agency evolve from providing mostly "static" products, like maps, to more complex geospatial intelligence platforms, according to DoD.

"We set a new vision for the agency and worked tirelessly to implement it, while continuing to provide the critical geospatial intelligence that our military and civilian partners have come to expect from NGA," Long said in a message to the NGA workforce.

Under Long's watch, the agency rolled out the first iteration of its "Map of the World" platform, which integrates geospatial assets, mapping information and modeling.

NGA was the first intelligence agency to use open-source software, which has been deployed to first responders in natural disasters and played a key role in developing a common desktop and application suite as part of the Intelligence Community Information Technology Enterprise (ICITE) initiative.

Robert Cardillo

Before heading the NGA, Long served as the deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from 2006 to 2010. Before that, she'd also served as DIA's first chief information officer in the 1990s, and in executive positions at both the CIA and Naval Intelligence.

In a statement, Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Mike Vickers praised both Cardillo and Long for leading the "transformation of intelligence to address the complex global strategic challenges we face as a nation."

In his current role, Cardillo serves as Director of National Intelligence James Clapper's top deputy for intelligence integration, a new role created specifically for him. Cardillo was also designated by Clapper to deliver the daily intelligence briefing for President Barack Obama.

"He is bringing this wealth of experience to the helm at NGA, and I expect NGA to continue on its rising trajectory under his leadership," Clapper said in a statement.

Cardillo actually succeeded Long as DIA deputy director in 2010, before being named to the ODNI role. He began his career at that agency in the 1980s as an imagery analyst and also previously served in a few high-ranking positions at NGA.

"As much I've enjoyed working with the DNI to help him integrate our IC, I look forward to teaming with the talented men and women of NGA as we continue to improve our analytic service to NGA's wide-range of military and civilian customers," Cardillo said in a statement.

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