located in Chantilly, Virginia, is one of the 16
U.S. intelligence agencies. It designs, builds,
and operates the spy satellites of the United States government.
The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) develops and operates space reconnaissance systems and conducts intelligence-related activities for U.S. National Security.
It also coordinates collection and analysis of information from airplane and satellite reconnaissance by the military services and the Central Intelligence Agency. It is funded through the National Reconnaissance Program, which is part of the National Foreign Intelligence Program. The agency is part of theDepartment of Defense.
The NRO works closely with its intelligence and space partners, which include the National Security Agency (NSA), the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the United States Strategic Command, Naval Research Laboratory and other agencies and organizations.
It has been proposed that the NRO share imagery of the United States itself with the National Applications Office for domestic law enforcement. The NRO operates ground stations around the world that collect and distribute intelligence gathered from reconnaissance satellites.
According to Asia Times Online, one important mission of NRO satellites is the tracking of non-US submarines on patrol or on training missions in the world's oceans and seas.