The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) is a member of the United States Intelligence Community and an agency of the United States Department of Defense. NRO is considered, along with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), National Security Agency (NSA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), to be one of the "big five" U.S. intelligence agencies. The NRO is headquartered in unincorporated Fairfax County, Virginia, 2 miles (3.2 km) south of Washington Dulles International Airport.
It designs, builds, and operates the Reconnaissance satellites of the United States government, and provides satellite intelligence to several government agencies, particularly signals intelligence (SIGINT) to the NSA, imagery intelligence (IMINT) to the NGA, and measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT) to the DIA.
The Director of the NRO reports to both the Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of Defense and serves as Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Intelligence Space Technology). The NRO's federal workforce consists primarily of Air Force, CIA, NGA, NSA, and Navy personnel. A 1996 bipartisan commission report described the NRO as having by far the largest budget of any intelligence agency, and "virtually no federal workforce", accomplishing most of its work through "tens of thousands" of defense contractor personnel.