The United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) has named Martin C. Faga, former director of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), as the 2016 recipient of the foundation’s Arthur C. Lundahl-Thomas C. Finnie Lifetime Achievement Award. Faga is the 12th individual to receive the prestigious award and was recognized during USGIF’s GEOINT 2016 Symposium general session.
Faga was unable to attend the symposium and accept the award in person, but he recorded an on-camera interview about his career and how it feels to receive the recognition.
“It’s hard to express how much the award means to me,” Faga said. “I actually knew Arthur Lundahl — he was retired by the time I knew him but he was very active in mentoring people in the field. … To receive an award in his name is a special privilege for me. As exciting as the last almost 50 years has been, I look forward to what’s happening in the future, particularly in the processing of imagery and the ability for anybody on a laptop to do almost anything they want. As the same goes, 20 years from now people will look back and say they haven’t seen anything at that point.”
Faga was the 10th director of NRO, where he led the declassification of NRO’s existence following more than 30 years of secrecy. He revolutionized NRO support to the military, downgraded the classification of NRO products and appointed a deputy director for military support. Faga also initiated the transition of NRO’s separate Central Intelligence Agency, U.S. Air Force, and Navy programs into functional directorates in signals, imagery and communications.
Faga retired in 2006 as president and chief executive officer of the MITRE Corporation. Prior to his promotion to president and CEO in May 2000, Faga served as executive vice president and senior vice president and general manager of MITRE's Center for Integrated Intelligence Systems. Since retiring, Faga has been elected to the board of directors for Electronic Data Systems, GeoEye, and Orbital ATK.
Before joining MITRE, Faga served as Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space from 1989 to 1993, simultaneously serving as director of NRO. Faga received many awards and distinctions throughout his career, including the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, the DoD Distinguished Public Service Medal, the Air Force Exceptional Civilian Service Medal, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, and in 2004 was awarded the Intelligence Community Seal Medallion. President George W. Bush appointed Faga to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board from 2006 to 2009 and to the Public Interest Declassification Board from 2004 to 2009.
“The Honorable Martin C. Faga — patriot, thought leader, visionary, trailblazer — has been at the forefront of the GEOINT tradecraft for five decades,” said The Honorable Jeffrey K. Harris, chairman of USGIF’s Board of Directors. “Whether serving in government or industry, Marty has always focused first and foremost on the GEOINT mission. We are proud to recognize his leadership, technical acumen, and political savvy.”
The Lundahl-Finnie award recipient is nominated and voted on by the USGIF Board of Directors. This distinguished award is named after Arthur C. Lundahl and Thomas C. Finnie, celebrating their accomplishments — in imagery analysis and mapping, respectively — and their legacies within the GEOINT Community. Lundahl is known as the father of modern imagery analysis and imagery intelligence for being the founder and first director of the National Photographic Interpretation Center. Finnie was the Defense Mapping Agency’s (DMA) director of management and technology, and was one of the primary architects of DMA’s evolution to the digital era.
USGIF is a nonprofit educational foundation dedicated to promoting the geospatial intelligence tradecraft and developing a stronger GEOINT Community with government, industry, academia, professional organizations, and individuals who develop and apply geospatial intelligence to address national security challenges.