Samuel J. Heyman Service To America Medals
2002 Winner
National Security and International Affairs


Alfred League

Division Chief, Imagery and Geospatial Sciences
National Imagery and Mapping Agency
Bethesda, Maryland


Provided American military personnel with real-time information they need to ensure operational success and protect our national security.


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For centuries, military strategists have stressed the importance of knowing the terrain of battle and keeping effective lines of communication open to soldiers in the field. Al League works to ensure that American soldiers have immediate access to information critical to mission success.

League works as a Division Chief of Imagery and Geospatial Sciences at the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA), the agency that provides timely, relevant and accurate geospatial intelligence used for military planning—maps, charts, digital simulations and other data that make up the basic framework for battlespace visualization. He has developed remarkable technological innovations that allow vital satellite and mapping imagery to be sent quickly from his agency to military personnel in the field.

Especially significant is League’s vigorous role in providing direct NIMA support to the Armed Services immediately following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. League also arranged for deployment of highly skilled NIMA personnel to worldwide locations to provide direct field support to the military.

Simultaneously, League established an efficient communication process whereby fielded NIMA personnel could literally reach back to NIMA at any time, using their laptop computers, and receive the geospatial intelligence information or assistance they needed to support theater operations.

League’s supervisor describes the impact of his work: “His innovative contributions have greatly facilitated development of a unique bridge between the NIMA geospatial analysts working daily with military personnel and has guaranteed life-saving information superiority. The significance of his work cannot be underestimated.”

The impact of League’s work has been felt both before and after the September 11 attacks. League and his team worked with the FBI, Secret Service, law enforcement agencies and the armed forces to ensure that all participating organizations had a current, integrated understanding of where crowds were gathering, traffic was backing up and military personnel were located during President Bush’s 2001 inaugural.

He led the architectural design for NIMA’s support to the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics security plan, which was successfully implemented and executed by the Office of Homeland Defense. He assembled a team of 18 highly skilled and dedicated analysts who, like himself, worked 12-hour shifts over three days and provided direct, hands-on support to all security agents. The result: a widely lauded operation heralded for being one of the largest successful security plans in the post-September 11 era.

Al League is dedicated to developing and implementing the most advanced geospatial intelligence tools that will guarantee information superiority for our military forces. He fosters cooperative relationships among his employees and colleagues, and his passion and leadership are inspirational. His accomplishments have earned him an international reputation and, more importantly, his innovations are invaluable to the nation’s security.


This medalist is the recipient of the National Security Medal. This medal was combined with the International Affairs category in 2008.


Honoree Details

Alfred League

Division Chief, Imagery and Geospatial Sciences
National Imagery and Mapping Agency
Bethesda, Maryland


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