Very excited to announce our paper “The New Political Economy of Geographical Intelligence” is now online at the publisher’s website for the Annals of the Association of American Geographers.
The publishers have provided a link for free access to the first 50 people (click here for free access)! (Edit: these have unfortunately all been claimed)
The regular link which will remain after those free accesses are used up is this one http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00045608.2013.843436
A troubling new political economy of geographical intelligence has emerged in the United States over the last two decades. The contours of this new political economy are difﬁcult to identify due to ofﬁcial policies keeping much relevant information secret. The U.S. intelligence community increasingly relies on private corporations, working as contractors, to undertake intelligence work, including geographical intelligence (formally known as GEOINT). In this article we ﬁrst describe the geography intelligence “contracting nexus” consisting of tens of thousands of companies (including those in the geographical information systems and mapping sector), universities and nonproﬁts receiving Department of Defense and intelligence agency funding. Second, we discuss the “knowledge nexus” to conceptualize how geographical knowledge ﬁgures in current U.S. intelligence efforts, themselves part of the U.S. war on terror and counterinsurgency (COIN). To analyze the contracting nexus we compiled and examined extensive data on military and intelligence contracts, especially those contracts awarded by the country’s premier geographical intelligence agency, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), for satellite data. To analyze the knowledge nexus we examined recent changes in the type of geographical knowledges enrolled in and produced by the U.S. intelligence community. We note a shift from an emphasis on
areal and cultural expertise to a focus on calculative predictive spatial analysis in geographical intelligence. Due to a lack of public oversight and accountability, the new political economy of geographical intelligence is not
easy to research, yet there are reasons to be troubled by it and the violent surveillant state it supports.
geographical intelligence, geographical knowledge, GEOINT, government contracting, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.