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Mark Andress on NGA’s Cloud, Machine Learning, Cybersecurity Efforts in 2022

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Mark Andress, chief information officer at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, said NGA is set to undergo several technology shifts in cloud, machine learning and cybersecurity in 2022 and one of the developments is the agency’s transition of workloads from the Commercial Cloud Services program to the intelligence community’s Commercial Cloud Enterprise contract, Federal News Network reported Thursday.

In November 2020, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Google, IBM and Oracle won spots on the C2E contract awarded by the CIA. Andress said the shift to the new contract “presents huge opportunities.”

For ML and artificial intelligence, he said his office is setting out the information technology infrastructure to support the integration of the technologies. He noted that the adoption of natural language processing has enabled NGA to “eliminate countless man hours” through the automation of GEOINT processing and dissemination.

Andress talked about NGA’s shift to zero trust approach.

“Where we have got a lot of work to do, and I know this is going to take a lot of time, is really getting at that relationship in zero trust between an individual and a data element,” he said at an event Thursday. “And how you scale that at the enterprise level? Trust no one for any piece of knowledge unless that connection has been validated. So that’s going to be where we focus a lot in the near term.”

He also mentioned the agency’s planned deployment of a “common operating environment,” release an updated software strategy and plans to harness commercial GEOINT products and services.