Reconnaissance Today
In September 1992, the U.S. government openly acknowledged the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). Today, varieties of users depend on the enormous amount of data NRO systems process. Quickly and reliably delivering information to all sixteen Intelligence Community agencies, the five military branches, and various civil users and U.S. allies is a critical NRO mission. To do this, NRO builds, operates, and maintains a high-speed global information system of satellites and ground-based communications.
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Military patrol a street Soldier escorts a humvee
To meet the new threats from the war on terror, NRO, in collaboration with the National Security Agency, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, and other organizations, is developing innovative reconnaissance methods to confront lower signature, more agile targets, and provide critical data to users around the world in near real-time. The NRO cadre of expert liaison officers and field representatives help others get the most out of NRO data and applications.

The NRO collaborates with defense and intelligence community partners to provide global communications, indications and warning, and near real-time imagery and signals intelligence to support warfighter operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other areas. The NRO’s mission partners are increasingly fusing data from NRO systems with other sources to enhance the value of intelligence for American forces in harms ways.

The NRO’s satellites support civil customers in response to disaster relief and environmental research. Scientists created a global environmental database using NRO imagery to help predict climate change, assess crop production, map habitats of endangered species, track oil spills, and study wetlands. The NRO data also forms the basis for products that help assess the devastation in areas affected by natural disasters. The development of HDTV, wide-bandwidth communications, high-resolution pixel arrays, and high-speed data switching also grew from NRO technologies.
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Diaster area Soldier watches a patrol boat on the water
The NRO continues developing cutting-edge, innovative, systems to meet America’s security needs and support national and tactical customers, in peace and war, with lower cost, enhanced, collection, and processing capabilities. Currently, NRO spends a large portion of its budget on advanced research and development to develop future space-based technologies. Based on a set of core operating principles, including a commitment to mission accomplishment, a strong Government-industry partnership, customer satisfaction, teamwork, diversity, innovation, and creativity, the NRO is defining the term “assured access to space.”