On February 28, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency kicked off its 4-year bicentennial commemoration of the historic Lewis and Clark Expedition, which was commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson in 1803 to explore what is now known as the Louisiana Purchase. This was the first large effort by the fledgling United States government to "Know The Earth ¿ Show The Way," and is considered by many to be the nation¿s first true geospatial intelligence support mission.

"Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set the standards NIMA follows today," said guest speaker Congressman Doug Bereuter (R-Neb), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) and co-chair of the bicameral and bipartisan Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Congressional Caucus.

"The efforts begun by Lewis and Clark to study trade flow, boundaries between nations and the geography of the region continue today. In Bosnia, Afghanistan and elsewhere, the Intelligence Community continues to collect information on potential adversaries -- doing with amazing tools -- essentially the same kind of work conducted by Lewis and Clark 200 years ago," said Bereuter. "And NIMA remains in the forefront of such efforts."

NIMA Director, retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper Jr., presented Rep. Bereuter with a reproduction of the map drawn by Captain Clark circa 1803 illustrating North America from the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean.

NIMA is a national intelligence and combat support agency whose mission is to provide timely, relevant and accurate Geospatial Intelligence in support of our national security. Geospatial Intelligence is the exploitation and analysis of imagery and geospatial information to describe, assess and visually depict physical features and geographically referenced activities on the Earth. Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., NIMA has major facilities in the Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia, and St. Louis, Mo., areas with NIMA support teams worldwide.