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National Reconnaissance Office

From dKosopedia



The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), located in Chantilly, VA, is an element of the Intelligence Community. It develops and operates the nation's spy satellites, which are designed to not only take pictures, but also to listen to electronic communications. NRO was officially established in September 1961 as a classified agency in the Department of Defense (DOD). The existence of the NRO and its mission of overhead reconnaissance remained classified until September 1992. NRO is a hybrid organization consisting of some 3000 personnel and jointly staffed by members of the armed services, the Central Intelligence Agency and DOD civilian personnel.


The Director of the NRO is appointed by the United States Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) with concurrence of the United States Director of National Intelligence. The Director reports to the SECDEF who, in concert with the DNI, has ultimate management and operational responsibility for the NRO. The DNI establishes collection requirements and priorities for satellite-gathered intelligence. Dr. Donald M. Kerr was appointed as the Director of the NRO in July 2005.


CORONA, the nation’s first imagery satellite system, was operational from 1960-1972, declassified in 1995 along with ARGON and LANYARD. GRAB, the nation’s first signals intelligence satellite system launched in 1960 was operational until 1962. The program was declassified in 1998.

The NRO was developing a new, stealth satellite at a cost of $9.5 billion, which drew intense criticism in the U.S. Senate. Source: New Spy Satellite Debated On Hill by Dana Priest for the Washington Post, Dec. 10, 2004. This program, known as "Misty", and another multi-billion dollar program were cancelled by Dr. Kerr because of cost overruns and performance problems. (Source: Nominee Defends Ending Programs, by Walter Pincus, Washington Post, August 2, 2007)

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This page was last modified 16:01, 13 August 2007 by dKosopedia user Corncam. Based on work by Arthur Smith. Content is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

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