National Reconnaissance Office

United States Intelligence Community
14675 Lee Rd, Chantilly, VA 20151

National Reconnaissance Office

The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) is a member of the United States Intelligence Community and an agency of the United States Department of Defense. NRO is considered, along with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), National Security Agency (NSA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), to be one of the “big five” U.S. intelligence agencies. The NRO is headquartered in Chantilly, Fairfax County, Virginia. The NRO was launched on September 6, 1961 and develops and operates unique, innovative overhead reconnaissance systems and conducts intelligence-related activities for U.S. national security.


The NRO also maintains ground stations at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado; Fort Belvoir, Virginia; White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico; as well as a presence at the Joint Defense Facility Pine Gap, Australia, and the Royal Air Force Base Menwith Hill Station, United Kingdom. NRO spacecraft launch offices reside at Cape Canaveral AFB, Florida, and Vandenberg AFB, California.


A hybrid organization consisting of some 3000 personnel, the NRO is jointly staffed by members of the armed services, the Central Intelligence Agency, and DoD civilian personnel. The NRO is managed by a Director, a Principal Deputy Director, and a Deputy Director. The NRO is funded through the National Intelligence Program (NIP) and the Military Intelligence Program (MIP) consistent with the priorities and processes established by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence (USD[I]).


In 2015, the NRO established its own civilian workforce—the NRO Cadre. This Congressionally-approved workforce stability initiative allowed NRO to create a stable, indigenous workforce by converting Air Force and Navy civilians to NRO Cadre civilians. This effort helps to ensure NRO has the “right people in the right places at the right time” and provides Cadre personnel with their own career paths, and advanced degree and professional development programs. 

Arriving at the National Reconnaissance Office
The closest major airport to The NRO is Dulles International Airport located 9 miles away.

Base Population
The NRO’s federal workforce consists primarily of Air Force, CIA, NGA, NSA, and Navy personnel. However, the majority of the workforce is made up of defense contractor personnel.