National Reconnaissance Office

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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 t