The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the secretive agency that launches and runs the nation's spy satellite system, is looking at technology developed by the video game industry to help it improve how it gathers and analyzes intelligence data, according to a research proposal released Monday.
The NRO wants to tap into the video game industry's "innovative algorithms" and "enhanced visualization techniques," the proposal said.
The NRO works with the National Security Agency and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to provide data to be analyzed to track weapons of mass destruction and potential terrorists, develop military target information, help with natural disaster assistance and support international peacekeeping and relief efforts.
The Director's Innovation Initiative, the agency says, is aimed at paying for research in collection, data processing, management and dissemination-enabling technologies. The various projects are expected to last no longer than nine months and cost no more than $450,000, NRO documents show.
The NRO needs to improve its collection technologies, the document says, because the agency has shifted from "a set of fairly well known and defined targets, to data collection against a diverse, highly dynamic set of targets with spatial, spectral and temporal variations having ill-defined characteristics." The agency needs to gather data against targets that move frequently and are harder to locate and track.
Another priority, the NRO says, is saving money and having more reliable and less vulnerable technology.
Once data are gathered, the document says, the NRO needs to develop better ways to move the information around the world to reach users.
The deadline for proposals from potential researchers is 1 p.m. Aug. 15.