NRO Directors

Bruce Carlson

Bruce Carlson was appointed the 17th Director of the National Reconnaissance Office (DNRO) on June 12, 2009 and served until July 6, 2012. Prior to his appointment, after retiring from the United States Air Force in January 2009, he served as a defense industry consultant and as a member of the Board of Directors of EADS North America. The DNRO provides direction, guidance, and supervision over all matters pertaining to the NRO and executes other authorities specifically delegated by the Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence.

Director Carlson began his military career as a commissioned officer in 1971 after graduating with distinction from the Air Force ROTC program at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. He is a command pilot with more than 3,700 flying hours in ten different aircraft, and saw combat as a forward air controller in the OV-10 Bronco. His various flying assignments included commanding the 49th Fighter Wing at Holloman AFB in New Mexico, the Air Force’s first stealth fighter wing. His staff assignments included positions at Tactical Air Command, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, and the offices of the Secretary of the Air Force and Secretary of Defense. He also served as the Director of Force Structure, Resources and Assessment on the Joint Staff; Commander, 8th Air Force, Barksdale AFB, Louisiana; and Joint Functional Component Commander for Space and Global Strike, U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt AFB, Nebraska. Prior to his retirement from the U.S. Air Force, General Carlson served as Commander Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, which is responsible for development, testing, acquisition and sustainment of Air Force weapons systems. In that role, he had responsibility for 74,000 people and $59 billion annually. He was promoted from Lieutenant General to General, pinning on his fourth star, on September 1, 2005.

Among Director Carlson’s many awards and decorations are the Defense Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, and the Order of the Sword, Air Force Materiel Command.

Director Bruce Carlson holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Minnesota, Duluth and a Master of Arts Degree, Webster University, St. Louis, Missouri. He also is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Fighter Weapons School, Nellis AFB, Nevada and a Distinguished Graduate, Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island. Director Carlson was born in Hibbing, Minnesota. He and his wife, Vicki, have three children and ten grandchildren.

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