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News | Feb. 15, 2022

Recognizing NRO's first Chief of Staff Mr. Garnett R. Stowe Jr.

By Staff

NRO continues to recognize Black History Month with Garnett R. Stowe, Jr., NRO’s first chief of staff. A decorated combat aviator, Stowe joined the CIA in 1993, where he was responsible for coordinating full-spectrum intelligence collection programs across the U.S. Intelligence Community. In August 1994, Stowe became the executive assistant to the NRO director. Around this time, NRO created a chief of staff position, and Stowe was the first person selected. For nearly nine years, Stowe directed staff functions and provided advice to the director. From second lieutenant in the Army to his over 30-year career within the military and Intelligence Community, Stowe continued to be a respected leader. This earned him many accolades to include the NRO Distinguished Service Medal.

Garnett Reedie Stowe, Jr. was born in Brooklyn, New York on 4 April 1949. Raised in the New York City metropolitan area, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Howard University in the District of Columbia in June 1972, where he also graduated with distinction from the U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps. Stowe also holds a graduate certificate in aerodynamics, and attended the Harvard Intelligence and Policy Seminar.

Commissioned as second lieutenant in the U.S. Army after graduating from Howard University, Stowe served in the armor branch. During his military career he held command and staff positions from platoon to brigade level. Beginning in 1990 in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, he commanded an aviation task force that participated in combat operations against Iraqi forces. After the First Gulf War, then-Colonel Stowe commanded Aviation Brigade, 2nd Armored Division, at Fort Hood, Texas. Starting in January 1992, and until his retirement from the military that December, Stowe conducted special projects and intelligence analyses and reviews for the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Stowe joined the Central Intelligence Agency on 26 April 1993, initially serving with the Director of Central Intelligence Staff Group. After several months he moved to the Community Management Staff as a senior planning and policy officer, responsible for coordinating strategic planning efforts and policy positions for senior-level decision makers across the Federal Government. Appointed director of the Systems and Architectures Office, Community Management Staff in March 1994, he was responsible for coordinating the full spectrum of intelligence collection programs across the U.S. Intelligence Community and other Federal Government agencies for Director of Central Intelligence R. James Woolsey. With this broad perspective, Stowe became the executive assistant to the director of the National Reconnaissance Office in August 1994. On 6 September 1994, he became the NRO chief of staff. In this position, he directed staff functions and provided advice and counsel to the director and deputy director, NRO on key topics ranging from Congressional issues to senior staffing decisions.

Stowe is a member of the Senior Intelligence Service and is a Director of Central Intelligence Fellow. A decorated combat aviator, Stowe received several civilian awards including the NRO Distinguished Service Medal.