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What We Do

National Reconnaissance Office systems address the nation's toughest intelligence challenges, making them critical to national security. They are often the only tools able to access critical areas of interest like rugged terrain or hostile territory. Data collected by satellites and other space-based sensors provide information and perspectives unavailable from other sources but of critical importance to policymakers, federal agencies, the military, and the Intelligence Community. Millions of people depend on the vital intelligence that NRO capabilities provide every day:

  • Monitoring the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
  • Tracking international terrorists, drug traffickers, and criminal organizations
  • Developing highly accurate military targeting data and bomb damage assessments
  • Supporting international peacekeeping and humanitarian relief operations
  • Assessing the impact of natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, and fires

Along with other Department of Defense satellites, the NRO systems play a crucial role in providing global communications, precision navigation, early warning of missile launches and potential military aggression, signals intelligence, and near real-time imagery to U.S. forces to support the war on terrorism and other operations that keep America safe, secure, and free.

NRO satellites also support civilian customers with disaster relief and environmental research. Scientists used NRO imagery to create a global environment database to help predict climate change, assess crop production, map habitats of endangered species, track oil spills, and study wetlands. NRO resources are used to develop products that help depict and assess the devastation in areas affected by natural disasters.

The NRO's innovation also inspires technology used in everyday life, including medical imaging, global communications, high-definition television, cellular phones, the global positioning system (GPS), and much more.