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FAQs


We have listed below some of the most frequently asked questions and answers. For additional information about the NRO’s mission and history, please visit About NRO.


The National Reconnaissance Office

  • Why Choose the NRO?
  • The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) is the U.S. Government agency whose mission is to design, build, launch, and maintain America’s intelligence satellites. At the NRO, you will work with talented and dedicated teammates to provide reconnaissance support to the Intelligence Community (IC) and Department of Defense (DoD). Join the NRO for a rewarding intelligence career at an organization that is dedicated to mission, work life balance, and values a collaborative culture. Check out About NRO and the YouTube videos online.

  • Where is the NRO?
  • The NRO’s Headquarters is located in Chantilly, VA, about 25 miles outside of Washington, DC. This is where the majority of our work is performed.


Application Process

  • How can I learn more about positions available?
  • Please visit USAjobs.gov and search National Reconnaissance Office or go to https://www.usajobs.gov/Search/ under NRO to see our currently available positions. All candidates will be notified regarding selection decisions. Successful candidates will receive a Conditional Offer of Employment (COE) or Tentative Job Offer (TJO).

  • What is involved in the application process? How long does it take?
  • Because the NRO is a member of the Intelligence Community, our hiring process can take a little longer than people might expect. Depending on a candidate’s personal circumstances, such as the frequency of residential and employment moves and overseas travel, the total process may take as little as two months or more than a year. The following steps are part of the NRO hiring process after a candidate is given an offer for employment:

    • Drug Screen
    • Background Investigation and Adjudication
    • Counterintelligence Polygraph

  • Is the NRO an Equal Opportunity Employer?
  • The NRO is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, or sexual orientation in hiring or in granting, denying, or revoking security clearances.

  • What can I do if I feel I have been discriminated against during the hiring process?
  • Applicants or employees who believe they have been discriminated against on the basis of race, national origin, color, age (40 and over), religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a parent, disability, genetic information, and/or reprisal for prior participation in the EEO process can raise their concerns through NRO's Office of Equality and Inclusion (OE&I). To preserve the full range of your rights under federal law in the Federal EEO Complaint Process, you must contact an EEO counselor within 45 calendar days of the date the alleged discriminatory action(s) occurred, or when you knew or reasonably should have known of the discriminatory action(s). For more information about the Federal EEO Complaint Process, please visit the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.


Eligibility Requirements

  • What are the eligibility requirements to work at the NRO?
  • All candidates looking to work at the NRO must be a citizen of the United States of America, 18 years or older, and be able to obtain, and maintain a Top Secret Clearance with a Counterintelligence Polygraph. The NRO does not assist individuals in applying for US citizenship.

  • Will I need to get a security clearance?
  • NRO employees including participants in the Intern programs must be able to obtain and maintain a security clearance from the DoD. Although the NASA Internship program does not immediately require a clearance, it is highly encouraged that you read the security clearance adjudication guidelines prior to applying to the program. A copy of the standard security questionnaire form can be found at: opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/SF86.pdf. Applicants should not submit an SF86 form at this time. Applicants will be notified when and if they are required to submit this form.

  • If I do not have a degree, will experience count?
  • The degree requirements depend on the position description. If a degree is required it will be clearly identified in the Job Opportunity Announcement under requirements. If not called out as a requirement, having an undergraduate degree is not mandatory, but is highly recommended. Relevant professional experiences are taken into consideration.

  • What if I used drugs or still use drugs; will this disqualify me from employment?
  • To be considered suitable for employment with any government agency, applicants must not have used illegal drugs or misused prescription drugs within the last 12 months. The issue of illegal drug use prior to 12 months ago is carefully evaluated during the medical and security processing. Drug abuse is one of the common reasons applicants are denied a security clearance. Many jobs within the DoD require the applicant to be able to obtain and maintain a security clearance. All NRO jobs also require drug testing for safety or national security reasons.

  • I live in a state that has legalized the use of marijuana. How will that affect my employment at NRO?
  • Although the legalization of marijuana has occurred under certain state laws, NRO abides by the federal statute which classifies marijuana as an illegal drug. Recent and/or continued use of marijuana, or any other illegal drug, may adversely impact your eligibility for a security clearance.


Benefits

  • What benefits does NRO offer employees?
  • The NRO provides employees with the standard federal insurance and retirement programs. The NRO also values work life balance and provides employees with flexible work schedules, wellness programs and other benefits (see Benefits for details).


Student Opportunities

  • What student programs does the NRO offer?
  • NRO has three internship programs to attract NRO’s talented, future thought-leaders (see Student Opportunities for details).


Developmental Career Path Program

  • The position to which I am applying is designated as Developmental. What is the Developmental Program?
  • The NRO Developmental Career Path Program is designed for recently graduated or early career college-degreed professionals (see Developmental Career Path Program for details).


Contract Term

  • The position to which I am apply is designated as Contract Term. What is Contract Term employment status?
  • Candidates hired under this status will be contract term employees vice Career Staff employees. Under a Contract Term appointment, you will receive federal employee benefits such as annual and sick leave, including federal holidays; life and disability insurance; and health care insurance in the same manner as a Career Staff appointment and in accordance with US Government regulations. The Contract Term Agreement that you may be required to sign will depend on the position.