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2024 Wash100_Frank Whitworth

NGA Director Frank Whitworth Wins 3rd Wash100 Award

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Director Vice Admiral Frank Whitworth has been named to Executive Mosaic’s prestigious 2024 Wash100 list in recognition of his GEOINT leadership and his work spearheading space and intelligence innovation efforts. This marks VADM Whitworth’s third consecutive Wash100 Award.

Vote for Frank Whitworth to win the 2024 Wash100 popular vote competition at Wash100.com! Voting ends April 30, and the winner will be announced in May.

Each year, the coveted Wash100 Award honors the most promising, impactful and influential senior executives working in the federal government and the government contracting industry. These 100 executives of consequence represent the best and brightest in their fields, and they are recognized for their outstanding leadership, achievements, reliability, innovation and vision.

“Today, our nation’s space infrastructure, capabilities and technologies carry more weight than ever before as they continue to enable advancements in intelligence and space domain awareness while shaping the future of global competition. As the stalwart leader of NGA, Frank is driving monumental progress in geospatial intelligence and working more closely than ever with commercial companies to paint a clearer picture of our world and the threats we face within it,” said Executive Mosaic CEO and Wash100 Award Founder Jim Garrettson.

“Frank’s natural leadership, keen understanding of global challenges and eye for innovation make him not only a reliable leader at NGA but also an obvious addition to our Wash100 list for the third time. It’s also worth noting that Frank is the fourth consecutive director of the NGA to be included in our Wash100 list — after VADM Robert Sharp, Robert Cardillo and Letitia Long — and we congratulate him for continuing NGA’s legacy of Wash100 excellence,” Garrettson continued.

Since Whitworth assumed his role as the eighth director of the NGA in June 2022, he has championed efforts to propel the U.S. toward “GEOINT supremacy.” He has also been a vocal proponent of harnessing the power of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning to advance GEOINT missions and augment our warfighters’ capabilities.

“The volume of GEOINT data expands with the proliferation of collection systems, and expansion into the space domain,” he said at the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation’s GEOINT Symposium last year. “Artificial intelligence and machine learning are capable of quickly fusing enormous amounts of data from across disparate data sets, and they’ll provide meaningful answers.”

NGA took over the Department of Defense’s flagship AI effort Project Maven last year, and Whitworth shared that Maven is already “playing an essential role in future military operations.”

“We’re embracing this new technology, working to automate significant portions of dynamic collection, imagery exploitation and reporting workflows to rapidly exploit data and anticipate activity,” Whitworth said.

Whitworth also spoke about leveraging digital twins in GEOINT missions and applications, and he shared that NGA is working to “vastly expand the notion of a digital twin to encompass a dynamic digital twin for foundation data of the entire globe.”

“It’s not just a 3D rendering of our globe. It’s a better way to support our consumers with a vast array of layered capabilities, letting users extract the latest data, products and services tailored right to their needs,” he explained at POC’s 9th Annual Intel Summit in September 2023.

In December, NGA began the process of soliciting bids from industry to purchase new commercial GEOINT data services from multiple vendors.

“The resulting contracts are called Luno A… and they’re intended to help us meet the increasing demands for commercial GEOINT. The goal is to enable NGA to do two things: acquire commercial GEOINT object detections and leverage industry analytics and automation in areas of national security interest, of course,” Whitworth said.

Most recently in January, the NGA stood up a new operations center to increase access to geospatial data for military forces and government officials. The National GEOINT Operations Center, also known as NGOC, will operate 24/7 and act as an expanded watch center offering visual products and mission-critical GEOINT.

“Today we unite both our watches with a shared mission under one name, the National GEOINT Operations Center – the NGOC – for better warfighting, stronger communications and improved visibility,” Whitworth said in January.

Looking toward NGA’s future, Whitworth has underscored the importance of public-private partnerships and collaboration with allies.

“The way ahead for the next 20 years has everything to do with our ability to manage the coming onslaught of data,” said Whitworth. “We need to be able to quickly and accurately create order from chaos. So, we greatly welcome collaboration with those who can contribute in that arena. Our past and present have been remarkable; our future requires us to be bold and ambitious — and always, always — out front.”

Executive Mosaic congratulates Frank Whitworth and the NGA on their inclusion in the 2024 Wash100 list.

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