Commercial satellites are a critical counterforce to Russian disinformation, according to Vice Adm. Sharp

Vice Adm. Robert Sharp, who is the director of the National Geospatial-Information Agency, noted that geospatial intelligence in the manner of analytical services and commercial imagery “has proven crucial to those fighting in Ukraine, and to molding world views of the situation.”

Sharp lauded efforts by US intelligence agencies, allies, and commercial satellite operators “to bring context and clarity to complex situations” during a keynote lecture at the GEOINT Symposium that was held in Aurora, Colorado on April 25.

Commercial spy satellite images are “being utilized effectively to offer transparency and counter Russian disinformation,” according to him.

Sharp has been the director of the NGA since 2019. He will step down in June and be replaced by Vice Adm. Frank Whitworth, a choice of Vice President Joe Biden.

Despite the availability of commercial satellite imagery, he claims that demand continues to outstrip supply.

Sharp stated, “We’re not at the point where we’re terribly saturated.” “Some individuals believe we have space persistence and are continuously monitoring everything.”  That, however, is not the case, according to him. “We’re receiving more frequent snapshots, which means we’re on the right track.”

“I believe you all have job security,” he told the geospatial sector specialists in the crowd.

“Geospatially based products have been crucial in giving military planners and world leaders a common picture of what’s happening in Ukraine and its neighboring areas,” he said.

Sharp stated that the NGA’s methods for analyzing and disseminating intelligence are classified.

He did note, though, that the NGA is keeping an eye on Ukraine and the rest of the region, as well as sharing geospatial intelligence with partner countries. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) also makes commercial imagery from US corporations available to allies. “Does NGA approve of, if not encourage, all of this?” Absolutely. Yes, absolutely. “There are no limitations,” he insisted.

NGA personnel also assisted US European Command in training allies to operate a surveillance drone known as the Artemis (Aerial Reconnaissance Tactical Edge Mapping Imagery System), as part of another initiative in support of US allies. It’s a small plane that’s utilized when the sky is gloomy and the weather isn’t conducive to satellite collection, which is often the case over Ukraine.

“We now have military units in Europe who can utilize Artemis for high-resolution imaging, building their geoint at the strategic edge which can be easily disseminated at the unclassified stage with foreign partners, and with no limits,” he added as a result of the project.

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