NRO Head Concerned Over Science, Tech Demo Budget Cuts

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NRO Director Bruce Carlson

The National Reconnaissance Office is concerned that budget cuts will force the agency to cut science and technology demonstration missions because large satellite programs already underway would be difficult to scale back, the agency’s top official said Monday.

NRO Director Bruce Carlson told attendees at the GEOINT geospatial intelligence conference in San Antonio the agency wants to keep its current technology-introduction model, but small technology missions will be easier to cut than larger, long-term satellites.

Carlson said 60 percent of the technology the NRO is launching today, including six satellites in 2011 and four more planned in 2012, came from the agency’s small-satellite program.

“Most of our money is used for large acquisitions,” Carlson said. “They are like freight trains in that they take a long time to get started. But once they get going they are hard to stop.

“So if we need to find savings in the 2013 and 2014 budgets, they will have to come from the science and technology budget. I hate to do that”

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