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Martin Faga '63 ‘64G: Engineering intelligence

Electrical engineering alum earns USGIF's 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award

Earlier this year, the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation awarded Lehigh alumnus The Honorable Martin C. Faga, former director of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), with the Foundation’s 2016 Arthur C. Lundahl-Thomas C. Finnie Lifetime Achievement Award, given to an influential member of the geospatial intelligence community whose work has had significant impact.

Mr. Faga earned bachelor’s and master’s of science degrees in electrical engineering from Lehigh in 1963 and 1964. Since then, he’s dedicated his life to leadership in the geospatial intelligence community, particularly through his work with NRO.

Throughout a distinguished career, Faga has been the recipient of many prestigious awards, including the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal, the Air Force Exceptional Civilian Service Medal and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal. President George W. Bush appointed Faga to the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board from 2006 to 2009, and to the Public Interest Declassification Board from 2004 to 2009.

Faga has also served as Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space, and is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and has been a member of the board of directors of the Association for Intelligence Officers and of the Space Foundation. Other facets of Mr. Faga’s career include service as a staff member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives, where he headed the program and budget staff, as an engineer at the Central Intelligence Agency, and as an R&D officer in the Air Force.

Faga formally retired in 2006 as president and chief executive officer of the MITRE Corporation. He had previously served the firm as executive vice president and senior vice president and general manager of MITRE’s Center for Integrated Intelligence Systems. Since retiring, Faga has been elected to the board of directors for Electronic Data Systems, GeoEye, Thomson Reuters Special Services, and Orbital ATK.

Faga was the 10th director of NRO, where he most notably led the declassification of NRO’s existence following more than 30 years of secrecy, and revolutionized the Office’s support to the military. In a video interview with USGIF about his career, Faga said “It’s hard to express how much the award means to me,” commenting that he had worked with Lundahl as his mentor in the past.

“I look forward to what’s happening in the future,” he continued, “particularly in the processing of imagery and the ability for anybody on a laptop to do almost anything they want. As the same goes, 20 years from now people will look back and say they hadn’’t seen anything at this point.”

-Simona Galant '18 is a writer with the Dean's Office of the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science.

November 16, 2016

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