In the city known as the “gateway to the West,” the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is constructing its future campus. Vice Adm. Robert Sharp, NGA’s director, said the agency’s expanded presence in St. Louis marked the start of a new journey. Sharp pointed out its importance in St. Louis, where two explorers William Clark and Meriwether Lewis, launched America’s westward expansion in a keynote lecture on October 6 at the annual GEOINT Symposium, which was held here for the first time.

The “Next NGA West” proposal calls for the development of a facility valued at $1.7 billion in north St. Louis. NGA, which is based in northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., started work on a new campus in 2019 November and is to open in 2025. “We are quite pleased with the progress of the construction project. Sharp explained, “We’re basically creating Next NGA West with connection and discovery in mind.”

“When it’s finished, it’ll be unlike any other intelligence facility in the world; you’ll have 20% of the total space dedicated to the unclassified work. What better venue to collaborate and innovate and to invite private businesses, academia, industrial partners, and the local community to connect with us directly?”

Sharp noted that the agency is giving tours of its planned facility three times a day during GEOINT. “However, we’re not waiting for the new site to be finished before we look for new methods to connect and innovate,” he said. The NGA debuted its Moonshot Labs in downtown St. Louis in July, a collaborative workspace for government analysts and businesses. “We see that as a model for the kind of environment we wish to create for unclassified innovation with industry and academics,” Sharp added.

NGA is currently collaborating with Missouri Technology Corporation on a startup accelerator program, which Sharp believes will have an effect on how the agency accepts technology from the private industry. “It lowers the entry barrier for small firms.” At the Moonshot Labs, we’re doing just that.” “They’re growing directly into federal markets,” Sharp said of three graduates of the accelerator who secured funding from St. Louis-based investors.

NGA is also seeking research and talent from schools and universities situated in the St. Louis area as well as across the country, he said. “We’re committed to attracting the workforce of the future, enhancing inclusion and diversity, and making NGA the employer of choice in every way.”

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