NGA’s Moonshot Labs hosted the IC Private Sector Engagement Innovation Summit July 12-14 for members of IC agencies to exchange information and share best practices on how the government can better collaborate with the private sector to find solutions to national security challenges.
The event was co-led by the NGA and ODNI. Participating IC agencies included the FBI, DHS, NCTC, CIA, NSA, State Department, DIA, and National Maritime Intelligence Office. Saint Louis University, Capital Innovators and T-REX Innovation Center also participated in the discussions.
Event co-organizer Kenny Sholes, head of partnership with ODNI, said he had targeted Moonshot Labs as the venue for the meeting.
“The idea was to pull IC leaders involved in partnerships, acquisitions and legal affairs away from our offices and offices in DC and inspire them to think about doing something differently by hosting discussions in the innovative spaces that NGA has developed in St. Louis,” says Sholes.
Representatives of non-governmental organizations explained how they work with the NGA. SLU Professor Vasit Sagan, acting director of the Taylor Geospatial Institute, also explained how NGA employees participate in academic research.
Frank Hopper of Capital Innovators discussed NGA’s work with Capital Innovators in the NGA Acceleration Program. This first-of-its-kind initiative between NGA, Missouri Technology Corporation, and Capital Innovators is designed to fund, mentor, and accelerate the growth of next-generation geospatial intelligence technologies.
He described the “ripple effect” that comes from the Accelerator, as cohorts come and go and more innovators gain experience working with IC. Even if innovators don’t end up working with NGA, or even if their business fails, they can take that experience with them for potential future work.
At the event, representatives from each participating agency spoke about how their organization approaches partnerships with the private sector, legal considerations for interactions with the private sector, and developing short-term steps to improve IC’s collaboration with the private sector.
The event also introduced Moonshot Labs to other IC and government organizations and how they can potentially use it as an asset to support innovative solutions, said Mike Fitzpatrick, NGA Moonshot Labs Team Lead.
Christie Rapetti, an NGA industry engagement consultant who helped co-organize the event, said Moonshot Labs has caught the attention of IC organizations as an example of “the art of the possible.”
“There is tremendous interest and effort among our IC counterparts to cultivate nimble and innovative partnerships with industry and academia such as those that NGA has created at Moonshot Labs,” Rapetti said.
The presence of the NGA in St. Louis and the benefits to the NGA and IC that have resulted from the positive relationship with the GEOINT community in St. Louis were widely discussed. The NGA has established strong collaboration with the St. Louis geospatial ecosystem, Fitzpatrick said, and other organizations have noticed the NGA’s many successes through its outreach and engagements in St. Louis.
“The future of our national security lies in geographic resilience – the NGA’s efforts in St. Louis and beyond are part of that,” Rapetti said. “Other agencies are beginning to realize that remaining solely DC-centric is unrealistic for the future security of our national mission and have taken steps or entered into discussions to do as NGA has done with the Saint ecosystem. -Louis.”
For more information about the summit or Moonshot Labs, contact [email protected]