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Whitworth Takes Helm of National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
June 6, 2022
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Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Ronald S. Moultrie passes the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency colors to Navy Vice Adm. Frank D. Whitworth III, the incoming agency director, during a ceremony held at NGA Campus East June 3. The passing of the colors is a historic military tradition symbolizing a transfer of power from one leader to another. (Credit: Anthony Boone)

SPRINGFIELD, Virginia – Navy Vice Adm. Frank D. Whitworth III assumed command as the eighth director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency during a ceremony at the agency’s headquarters here June 3.

Whitworth, who replaces Navy Vice Adm. Robert Sharp, takes the helm at NGA after previously serving as the director for intelligence on the Joint Staff in the Pentagon.

“Our nation’s leaders and our uniformed service members rely on NGA to defend this nation, protect our interests abroad, and defeat our adversaries,” said Whitworth. “In lockstep with our global GEOINT partners, we will continue to deliver “GEOINT advantage” to every echelon – from strategic decision-makers to our forces at the tactical edge.” 

Sharp became director in February 2019, and will be retiring at NGA after 33 years of service, including holding positions as the commander of the Office of Naval Intelligence and director of the National Maritime Intelligence-Integration Office.

Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Ronald S. Moultrie and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines presided over the ceremony. 

Frank Whitworth Biography

Frank Whitworth III

Vice Admiral Frank Whitworth is the eighth Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. He leads and directs NGA under the authorities of the Secretary of Defense and Director of National Intelligence. He became NGA’s director on June 3, 2022.

Whitworth is a 1989 graduate of Duke University Durham, North Carolina, with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. He holds a Master of Arts in National Security Studies from Georgetown University, Washington, District of Columbia, as well as a diploma from the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.

Whitworth’s command tours included commander, Joint Intelligence Center Central; commanding officer, Navy Element of U.S. Central Command; and commanding officer, Kennedy Irregular Warfare Center.

Whitworth’s operational tours included director of intelligence for U.S. Africa Command, director of Intelligence for Joint Special Operations Command, director of Intelligence and deputy director of Maritime Operations Center for Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. Fifth Fleet; director of Intelligence for a Special Operations Task Force in Afghanistan during three deployments supporting Operation Enduring Freedom; director of Intelligence for Naval Special Warfare Development Group; special assistant for Political-Military Affairs at U.S. Sixth Fleet during Operation Allied Force; indications and warning officer at U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. Fifth Fleet, in support of Operation Desert Storm; and intelligence officer for Fighter squadron 31 during USS Forrestal’s deployment in support of Operation Provide Comfort.

Whitworth’s shore-based tours included the National Security Agency, chief of targets for the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility; Navy federal executive fellow to American Enterprise Institute; senior duty officer at the White House Situation Room; intelligence briefer for the Chief of Naval Operations and Secretary of the Navy; and intelligence watch analyst at the Office of Naval Intelligence and the National Military Joint Intelligence Center.

Whitworth is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. His decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal (three awards), Legion of Merit, Bronze Star (four awards), Defense Meritorious Service Medal (four awards), as well as the Edwin T. Layton Leadership Award, Vice Admiral Rufus L. Taylor Leadership Award, the Army’s Knowlton Award for excellence in intelligence, the Republic of France’s Médaille de la Défense nationale (Gold), and the Defense Intelligence Agency Director’s Award.

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