Events & Coverage

1997 - 1999

Materials arranged chronologically.

Capaccio, Tony. "DoD Comptroller 'Impressed' with NRO's Management Moves." Defense Week, 17 Mar. 1997, 1, 16.

Diamond, John M. "Problems and Prospects in U.S. Imagery Intelligence." National Security Studies Quarterly, Spring 1997.

Anselmo, Joseph C., and Philip J. Klass. "NRO Embraces Sigint Smallsats." Aviation Week & Space Technology, 29 Sep. 1997, 35.

Anselmo, Joseph C. "NRO Reveals Secret Recon Contractors." Aviation Week & Space Technology, 26 Jan. 1998, 64-65.

Hall, Keith R. [Director/NRO and Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space] "Leading Intelligence in the 21st Century: The Role of Satellite Reconnaissance." Defense Intelligence Journal 7, no. 1 (Spring 1998): 7-24.

"[I]n the last few years, the NRO has undergone a transformation in its structure, culture, business practices, and relationship to the intelligence user.... The Task now is to conceptualize and develop the future space-based surveillance architectures to address [the challenges of the next century].... To accrue the full advantages of integrated black and white space architectures, we must overcome [bureaucratic and budgetary] difficulties [between DOD and the Intelligence Community] and design systems that meet both national and military needs."

Pincus, Walter. "[House] Panel Ties NSA Funds To Changes at Agency: Report Urges Strategic, Business Planning." Washington Post, 7 May 1998, A21.

HPSCI threatened on 6 May 1998 "to withhold funds from the $4 billion National Security Agency (NSA) unless the worldwide eavesdropping organization makes 'very large changes' in its 'culture and methods of operation.'". The committee also called on DCI George J. Tenet to take a more active role in managing the overall intelligence community budget of about $27 billion." The committee criticized the NRO "saying last year's hopes that the switch to smaller satellites and acquisition reforms would free some funds have 'not been fulfilled.'"

Anselmo, Joseph C. "NRO to Test Advanced Laser Communications." Aviation Week & Space Technology, 20 Jul. 1998, 24.

Wise, David. "The Spies Who Lost $4 Million Dollars." George, Oct. 1998, 82-86.

This is really a light-weight piece, as is shown by a title about a two-year-old "scandal" and a lead discussing the NRO Headquarters contretemps of two years before that. Wise did get an interview at NRO, but did little with it for the article. His interviews with Jeffrey Harris and Jimmy Hall, who lost their jobs over NRO's accounting snafu, did elicit more thoughts from them than previously seen.

Ferster, Warren. "NRO Spy Satellite Program Busts Budget: Critics Point to Mismanagement, Technical Problems." Space News, 14-20 Dec. 1998.

"Lockheed Martin Corp. has encountered major problems resulting in big cost overruns on the billion-dollar classified satellite contract it wrested from TRW Inc. after a 1994 award protest decision. Technical snags and ballooning government requirements have delayed the program and increased its costs by hundreds of millions of dollars.... Richard Oborn, a spokesman for the NRO, acknowledged that the program has had problems but said things now are under control."

Drake, Jessica. "NRO Worries that Techniques in Yugoslavia May Have Been Exposed." Aerospace Daily, 9 Jul. 1999.

NRO Director Keith Hall said on 8 July 1999 that the NRO "debuted several important capabilities during the NATO air campaign against Yugoslavia, but is concerned that some of its techniques may have been exposed to potential adversaries."

Hall, Keith R. [Director/NRO and Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space] "The National Reconnaissance Office: Revolutionizing Global Reconnaissance." Defense Intelligence Journal 8, no. 1 (Summer 1999): 7-13.

"The NRO's future will be determined by how well we position this organization in the nation's overall air and ground data collection structure, and how well we adapt to our new role as a global information provider."

McDonald, Robert A. "NRO's Satellite Imaging Reconnaissance: Moving from Cold War Threat to Post-Cold War Challenges." Defense Intelligence Journal 8, no. 1 (Summer 1999): 55-91.

"The post-Cold War era demands that the NRO operate in a world where there are multi-faceted requirements for uninterrupted global imaging reconnaissance of diffuse transnational threats. To accomplish this, the NRO is faced with a dual management challenge: first, to recapitalize its existing capabilities for continued operation in today's threat environment, and second, to plan for and develop innovative solutions to respond to ill-defined threats in a more open world. And the NRO must accomplish these tasks in ways that are responsive to growing fiscal constraints."

Ignatius, David. "Techno-Spooks." Washington Post, 17 Oct. 1999, B9. [http://www.]

The National Reconnaissance Office has "set up a public Web site to announce a program called the 'Director's Innovation Initiative,' which will provide $350,000 'seed funding' grants for outside projects that may lead to 'revolutionary concepts and ideas.' The goal of this internal venture-capital fund, the NRO posting explains, is to 'provide a risk-tolerant environment to invest in cutting-edge technologies and high-payoff concepts' and to 'push the boundaries of technology' to improve the NRO's satellite reconnaissance capabilities."

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