National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency | www.nga.mil |
Published in the March/April 2010 issue of print Search & Employ® |
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) supplies information to boots on the ground, brass at headquarters, and all the maps and images needed to accomplish the objectives in between. The organization is a Department of Defense combat support agency and a member of the national Intelligence Community (IC). NGA develops imagery and map-based intelligence solutions for U.S. national defense, homeland security and safety of navigation. NGA provides timely, relevant and accurate geospatial intelligence in support of national security objectives.
The term “geospatial intelligence” means the exploitation and analysis of imagery and geospatial information to describe, assess and visually depict physical features and geographically referenced activities on the Earth. Information collected and processed by NGA is tailored for customer-specific solutions. By giving customers ready access to geospatial intelligence, NGA provides support to civilian and military leaders, and contributes to the state of readiness of U.S. military forces. NGA also helms humanitarian efforts, such as tracking floods and disaster support, as well as peacekeeping missions.
Because NGA is integral in supporting the U.S. military, it makes sense for them to have veterans work with them behind the scenes. But it is not just the “dirty boots” that veterans get from working on the front lines that makes them valuable.
“The experience that veterans gain during their military service applies well to their professional endeavors,” said Chad Mathews, the chief of the Talent Acquisition Branch in the NGA Recruitment Center. “Veterans learn and demonstrate characteristics like integrity, leadership, leading by example, teamwork, accountability for their actions, and utmost respect for their peers, leaders and subordinates.”
Mathews currently manages the team of NGA recruiters responsible for identifying and processing talented, high-caliber, and diverse candidates to meet NGA workforce needs both now and in the future. Before he started working in the federal government, he served as an active duty Army officer and separated as a Captain after eight years. He was an adjutant general officer (personnel officer), and had an opportunity to live overseas as well as deploy.
Mathews said that even though many of the jobs at NGA are technical, the agency has a variety of needs. “NGA routinely posts opportunities on both our unclassified public website located at www.nga.mil and on USAJobs,” he said. “Although a significant portion of our hiring resides in analytic tradecraft, we have diverse hiring needs in many occupational specialties like human resources, information technology, financial management, program management, contracting and acquisition. When job seekers are looking at our job postings, they will notice we list our grades in “pay bands,” and not according to the General Schedule.”
In addition to the experience that veterans bring to the table, NGA also values their diversity. “One of NGA’s goals is to hire and maintain a diverse work force, and veterans of the armed forces are one aspect of diversity,” Mathews said. “Part of our recruitment effort is focused on events such as Corporate Grey, where we interact with a large number of current and former military employees. A cross-sectional look at our work-force illustrates that veterans comprise a significant percentage.”
Mathews said supporting the military was one of the reasons he joined NGA, and that he expects many veterans will feel the same way. “What interested me initially about NGA was the opportunity to become a civilian employee while maintaining a role which contributed to supporting the war fighter,” he said. “Another nice thing about staying in the Department of Defense is that some of the institutional knowledge you gained in the military will be transferable to NGA, and in some cases, your military specialty is directly transferable to NGA.”
The organization was named one of the “Great Places to Work” in the November 2009 issue of the “Washingtonian” magazine. NGA was one of five government agencies identified by employees as places where the “pay, mission, culture, flexibility, and benefits were the best parts of working at their agency.”