U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s bold move to slash Pentagon overhead costs (p. 20) is overshadowing a smaller but important initiative by the government to hand off more work to private industry. On Aug. 6, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) awarded 10-year contracts totaling $7.3 billion to two publicly traded satellite operators to supply imagery for the U.S. intelligence community and Defense Department. DigitalGlobe Inc. of Longmont, Colo., received a $3.5-billion ...

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