SAN ANTONIO — The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency expects to field an expanded delivery capability as soon as fiscal 2024 to better handle a “deluge” of data, according to NGA Director Vice Admiral Frank Whitworth.
The agency, which processes and analyzes satellite imagery for the U.S. intelligence community, is developing the Joint Regional Edge Node, or JREN, to give more users access to the information, Whitworth said last week at the Department of Defense Intelligence Information System Worldwide Conference in San Antonio, Texas.
“JREN will increase resiliency and reduce transport latency and it will facilitate the rapid movement of critical intelligence and data sharing,” Whitworth said.
The agency relies on what’s called the National System for Geospatial Intelligence, or NGS, to send information to users around the globe. Since 2018, it has relied on the Odyssey GEOINT Edge Node to process sensor data and help operators on the ground use that data to make real-time decisions.
Odyssey has a growing number of users at U.S. European Command, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, U.S. Africa Command and U.S. Central Command, Whitworth said, and while it is providing key targeting information, the agency needs more capacity to sift through what he called “a deluge of data.”
That deluge equates to nearly a petabyte of data that NGA distributes each day. That’s enough information to fill about 20 million filing cabinets. In recent years, Whitworth said, the NGA has increased its bandwidth capacity “by an order of magnitude of 10″ and JREN will push that growth even further.
“That’s where the concept was developed for the future of GEOINT access and delivery, the Joint Regional Edge Node,” Whitworth said. “JREN will enhance the NSG by widening the dissemination delivery pipe, working alongside Odyssey, giving our warfighters an even greater level of access, which increases resiliency.”
The added resiliency and higher bandwidth will allow the agency to share intelligence more quickly, particularly in disconnected regions.
Courtney Albon is C4ISRNET’s space and emerging technology reporter. She has covered the U.S. military since 2012, with a focus on the Air Force and Space Force. She has reported on some of the Defense Department’s most significant acquisition, budget and policy challenges.