Tony Frazier, executive vice president and general manager of Public Sector Earth Intelligence for Maxar, as well as a five-time Wash100 Award winner, recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz about this unprecedented time for geospatial intelligence, the emergence of GPS-denied navigation, and the future of work.
In addition, Frazier also shared news about an upcoming GEOINT community event to be hosted by Maxar during the latest Executive Spotlight interview.
“Maxar will expand our Earth observation constellation later this year with the launch of our first WorldView Legion satellites. With WorldView Legion, the Maxar constellation will offer global revisit rates up to 15 times per day in addition to increased direct tasking opportunities and even more imagery at 30 cm class resolution.”
You can read the full interview with Tony Frazier below:
ExecutiveBiz: What can you tell us about Maxar’s recent growth initiatives and how you’re driving value for your customers?
Tony Frazier: “There are many exciting things happening at Maxar and we’re eager to share them with customers. In June, Maxar will host our inaugural Engage Government conference in Herndon, Va.
Recent world events have shined an unprecedented light on commercial geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) and the value of unclassified information sharing with U.S. allies and NATO partners.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, our industry has facilitated global transparency, helped quell the spread of disinformation and supported current operations. It’s a critically important time to convene the community to discuss successes, challenges, and concepts for collaboration and paths forward for future missions.
Engage Government will convene leaders from across government and industry to explore the proven solutions, promising capabilities and critical requirements necessary for the U.S. and its allies to maintain a competitive edge and move with velocity in this burgeoning era of great power competition.
I look forward to interacting with Maxar customers and partners and to hearing from experts across our company and the community. Those interested in attending can learn more here.”
ExecutiveBiz: What are your strategic goals for the coming year? What do you hope to accomplish and any new markets that you’re keeping an eye on?
Tony Frazier: “Maxar will expand our Earth observation constellation later this year with the launch of our first WorldView Legion satellites. With WorldView Legion, the Maxar constellation will offer global revisit rates up to 15 times per day in addition to increased direct tasking opportunities and even more imagery at 30 cm class resolution.
WorldView Legion will offer many benefits to Maxar’s public sector customers, including increased opportunities to detect change, produce on-demand 3D foundation products, and apply AI and machine learning to derive near-real time insights to provide analysts and operators a decision advantage.”
ExecutiveBiz: What can you tell us about the implementation of recent acquisitions Maxar has made and how they’ve benefited your portfolio, technical capabilities and driven value for your customers?
Tony Frazier: “Maxar acquired 3D data and analytics firm Vricon in 2020 and has since invested heavily in the advancement and exploration of new applications for our 3D data.
With this acquisition, Maxar also assumed the role of prime contractor for the U.S. Army’s One World Terrain (OWT) program, which delivers 3D terrain and information services that support a fully accessible virtual representation of the Earth.
Originally envisioned as a training tool, the scope of OWT is rapidly expanding to support current and future combat missions and the program is on track to become the Army’s single authoritative source for foundation geospatial content and terrain data—from training to mission planning and targeting.
Additionally, Maxar and Sweden-based Saab recently demonstrated seamless GPS-denied navigation by integrating Maxar 3D data and georegistration technology into the software for Saab’s Gripen Fighter Jet. With accurate reference mapping, vehicles and aircraft could navigate without GPS signals—a real game-changer for the safety of navigation and resilient military operations.”
ExecutiveBiz: With artificial intelligence and machine learning impacting most industries and the U.S. military dramatically as we move forward, what has impressed you the most about the technology’s capabilities to improve decision-making? In addition, how can AI be used to address national security challenges?
Tony Frazier: “AI and machine learning are especially powerful tools for producing GEOINT, which requires vast droves of imagery data. AI augments GEOINT by directing an analyst’s focus to a particular imager or area of an image rather than spending hours panning and zooming.
AI/ML is one element in Maxar’s “sensor-to-decision” workflow, which provides rapid insights from commercial imagery by leveraging Maxar’s secure data and communications infrastructure, high-resolution satellite imagery, mobile access terminals, 3D data and precision georegistration, and AI/ML.
Maxar’s involvement in Department of Defense exercises like Scarlet Dragon and Project Convergence showcase how commercial satellites, terrain data, and AI/ML could be applied to tactical ISR missions for early warning and dynamic targeting.
During recent exercises, the Maxar-powered workflow yielded average target delivery times that are approximately one-tenth of current operational timelines.
Throughout the Ukraine crisis, Maxar has increased our pace of collection and applied many of the capabilities we tested during these exercises to support the U.S. with shareable intelligence and direct engagement with EUCOM partners.”
ExecutiveBiz: How does Maxar ensure long-term success for your workforce to drive value for your employees to recruit and retain the best talent?
Tony Frazier: “The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the global workforce’s transformation to a distributed, hybrid culture, and all industries have had to adapt accordingly. In addition to Maxar’s compelling mission, leading-edge technologies, and robust benefits, we recognize that maintaining a hybrid work model is a priority to attract the best talent.
But distributed work presents many unique challenges for the Intelligence Community. Not only has Maxar put these practices in place for our employees, but we’re proud to help government customers continue to navigate this sea change to recruit and retain talent.
For example, Maxar and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) work together in support of the National System for Geospatial-Intelligence Open Mapping Enclave (NOME), an online capability that enables a community of vetted users to create and update geospatial features in a crowdsourced “living map.”
The NOME user base has had unprecedented growth throughout the pandemic, and Maxar is exploring how we can help more public sector organizations in similar ways.”