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Theresa Marie Whelan: US Should Leverage Geospatial Intell-SFO Relationship

globeA Pentagon official has said that counterterrorism efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq have resulted in a “hand-in-glove” relationship between geospatial intelligence and special operations forces, DoD News reported Tuesday.

Theresa Marie Whelan, principal deputy assistant defense secretary for special operations and low-intensity conflict, told an audience at the GEOINT Symposium she believes it is vital for the U.S. government to leverage such a relationship to help address what she calls as “newly emerging state-based challenges,” Jim Garamone wrote.

Whelan said the U.S. has honed its capability to collect and analyze geospatial data and has made significant improvements in real-time imagery.

“We are now able to convey information that is reliable and uniquely capable of filling gaps from other intelligence disciplines to warfighters and policy makers with incredible speed,” she said.

Whelan said she expects a rise in the demand for intelligence as the country deals with the world’s militarized regions such as East Asia and that the U.S. government should assess how to creatively utilize national assets, according to Garamone.

“SOF is one tool in the kit, and success has created new demands,” Whelan said.

“The demand for near-perfect situational awareness from commanders is insatiable and is here to stay.”

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