The following is from the NRO homepage at; it also appears in American Intelligence Journal 16, no. 1 (Spring-Summer 1995): 31.

"The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) is the single, national program to meet US government needs through spaceborne reconnaissance. The NRO is an agency of the Department of Defense and receives its budget portion of the National Foreign Intelligence Program (NFIP) known as the National Reconnaissance Program (NRP), which is approved both by the Secretary of Defense and the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI). The existence of the NRO was declassified by the Deputy Secretary of Defense, as recommended by the Director of Central Intelligence, on September 18, 1992.

"The mission of the NRO is to ensure that the US has the technology and spaceborne assets needed to acquire intelligence worldwide. This mission is accomplished through research, development, acquisition, and operation of the nation's intelligence satellites. The NRO's assets collect intelligence to support such functions as indications and warning, monitoring of arms control agreements, military operations and exercises, and monitoring of natural disasters and other environmental issues.

"The Director of the NRO is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Congress as the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space. The Secretary of Defense has the responsibility, which is exercised in concert with the Director of Central Intelligence, for the management and operation of the NRO. The DCI establishes the collection priorities and requirements for the collection of satellite data. The NRO is staffed by personnel from CIA, the military services, and civilian Department of Defense personnel."(1)

1. Jeffrey T. Richelson, "Out of the Black: The Disclosure and Declassification of the National Reconnaissance Office," International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 11, no. 1 (Spring 1998), 12, gives the total number of NRO employees, as of November 1997, as 2,753. That total is distributed as follows: 1,456 Air Force, 649 CIA, 412 NSA, 214 Navy, and 22 from other agencies.

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