The NRO adopted its official organizational seal in 1994, two years after the Department of Defense publicly acknowledged the existence of the NRO on 18 September 1992. The origins of the design for the NRO organizational seal are not entirely clear. Since the “covert” establishment of the NRO on 6 September 1961, with its mission to manage satellite and overflight reconnaissance projects, the organization’s seal had appeared in several iterations, but with each variant featuring the common element of a satellite orbiting a globe.
This official design shows a globe of the Earth set against a white, disc-shaped background and revolved to a position where a blue Atlantic Ocean is visible in the center, bordered on the left by the green landmasses of North and South America, and on the right by Europe and Africa. A red sphere—representing a satellite—orbits the globe following a flight path of white, trimmed with red. Around the outside of the white disc are the words “National Reconnaissance Office,” and “United States of America,” cast in yellow on a blue disc rimmed with gold.