What Does the CIA Have to Do with Space? You Might Be Surprised.

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There’s a lot you may not know about the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) – for good reason. The three big letters, CIA, conjure images of spyglasses, trenchcoats, and the furtive glances in tuxedos that sneak around Hollywood backlots. But there is one image you may not associate with the CIA: Space.

The CIA is the premier agency responsible for providing global intelligence on the political, social, economic, technological and military environment; and CIA officers working at the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) are putting the global in global intelligence. The NRO is the US Government Agency in charge of designing, building, launching and maintaining America’s intelligence satellites. Frequently, NRO satellites are the only systems able to access critical areas of interest and gather data not available from other sources.

These out-of-this-world systems are critical to national security, US policymakers and war fighters. They provide the foundation for global situational awareness and help address the nation’s toughest information challenges.

A lot of what the NRO does remains a secret, but here are just a few of the things for which we rely on the NRO:

  • 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.

In addition, 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 US forces to support the war on terrorism and other continuing operations

The NRO’s work even extends beyond intelligence initiatives – it has also inspired technology in everyday life with contributions to medical imaging, global communications, high-definition television, cellular phones, GPS and much more. The intelligence professionals at the CIA and the NRO work to combine the kind of high-tech wizardry seen in Hollywood with the complex and awe-inspiring challenges of space.

If this piques you interest (and it should), perhaps you should consider a career with the NRO.

What does it take to work there? Advanced technical savvy, a passion for solving complex challenges and the desire to keep America safe. When you work as an NRO Technical Developer through the CIA’s Directorate of Science and Technology, you will drive critical engineering programs and work to advance some of the nation’s most leading-edge intelligence technology.

Learn more about becoming a technical developer by visiting the CIA’s careers website.

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