Robert Burkhardt, director of the Engineer Research and Development Center’s Topographic Engineering Center, was recently appointed as the Army’s first Geospatial Information Officer (GIO) by Headquarters, Department of the Army’s Geospatial-Enterprise Governance Board. As GIO, Mr. Burkhardt serves as the Army’s central manager responsible for coordination, assessment, and synchronization of all Army policies and standardization requirements for the geospatial information enterprise, which will help enable interoperability across battle command systems, bringing the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines closer to the realization of a unified common operational picture (COP). This COP allows the Department of Defense to deploy assets efficiently and effectively by providing the warfighter with the integrated capability to receive, correlate, and display a common tactical picture, including planning applications that may include location of friendly, hostile, and neutral units, assets, and reference points.
While I think many joke about the title of GIO, this is a huge deal for anyone involved with Army or DoD work as the integration of these autonomous systems that both warfighters and support staff use with geospatial information is critical to the mission. While I’m sure things won’t change overnight, the significance of the Army creating such a position cannot go unnoticed by others.
The original press release is here for those who like such reading