In the last few years, the city of St. Louis has become a hub for public and private innovators of geospatial intelligence (GEOINT).
Since the news broke in 2016 that the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) in collaboration with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Air Force decided to invest $1.7 billion to build the Next NGA West (N2W) campus in North St. Louis, the evolution of GEOINT in the city has been booming.
General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT) is jumping into the St. Louis GEOINT momentum with both feet, said Ben Buckley – the company’s Vice President of Area Business – told MeriTalk in an exclusive interview covering the company’s major partnerships with NGA.
Key Collaborator at N2W
GDIT is a long-standing partner with NGA, and last week NGA further solidified that partnership by awarding GDIT a 10-year $4.5 billion User Facing and Data Center Services contract.
Technology implementation under the contract will support the IT infrastructure at N2W.
Per the agreement, GDIT will provide NGA and its mission partners with hybrid cloud services – including commercial clouds and data centers – and innovative IT design, engineering, implementation, and operations and sustainment services.
“We’ve been at NGA for a long time, and we helped implement technology at the agency’s East campus facility. We partnered with the agency and helped them with that facility. Extending that capability into the future, it’s great for us to help deploy and innovate in the West campus as well,” Buckley said.
He said the new contract also provides the opportunity to help the broader enterprise.
“It’s not only about helping NGA’s East and West facility, but also helping support NGA’s broader mission around the world,” Buckley said. “This contract could help evolve the technology at NGA rapidly over time and I think that’s a part of the mandate of this contract – to innovate over time.”
This contract also aligns with NGA’s vision and future for the unclassified sector,” he said. “I think this is one of the mechanisms that will help them get there.”
Partnering With the Greater GEOINT Community in St. Louis
The evolution of GEOINT is accelerating in the City of St. Louis, making it a hub for innovation in the field.
“It is very exciting because it feels like it’s growing fast there. Especially with the building of N2W, which is a huge part of that expansion,” Buckley said. “N2W is also important in bringing more capabilities faster into the NGA portfolio from a local geospatial sector – the actual building – and the larger GEOINT mission.”
GDIT is looking to expand its footprint in the St. Louis region. The company opened a new location in the Cortex Innovation Community (CIC), making a significant investment and commitment to the city.
“We’re trying to engage thoughtfully through a bunch of different dimensions. One of the first places we started looking was at the innovation communities within St. Louis,” Buckley said.
GDIT is collaborating with large companies, startups, and emerging firms in the region, such as World Wide Technology and teKnoluxion. In addition to industry partnerships, the company is focused on academic partnerships to cultivate the GEOINT innovators of tomorrow, investing in people and building a talent pipeline.