The U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) is prepared to make

a series of organizational changes intended to improve the

integration of data from its classified imagery and signals intelligence satellites.

The changes will include the establishment of a chief operating officer who will serve as the agency’s top acquisition executive, according to a Nov. 1 memorandum signed by NRO Director Scott Large, who took over as the agency’s director

Oct. 19.

The Nov. 1 memo lays out the key jobs

that are part of the reorganization, though many of the underlying details

still are under discussion, including whether the chief operating officer will be an official who has another job as well,

according to Air Force Brig. Gen. Ed Bolton, NRO deputy director for systems integration and engineering. Bolton and Ralph Haller, the NRO’s deputy director for imagery intelligence, co-chair a steering commission that is studying

additional issues related to the reorganization.

Acquisition decisions on the classified satellites and ground equipment procured by the NRO previously were vetted through the principal deputy director who handles a variety of other matters as well, which stands in contrast to agencies like the Pentagon, which has an undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics who is primarily focused on procurement matters.

Bolton said during a Nov. 9 interview that the principal deputy director could be given the additional title of chief operating officer.

Large’s memo, which was sent to all NRO employees, lays out several other organization changes, the first of which will be the creation of an integrated operations directorate that will bring together imagery, intelligence

and communications work handled today by separate departments. The new operations directorate will stand up

Nov. 14 under Dave Shields, who previously served as an imagery ground station manager, an NRO official said.

The memo also notes that Charlie Barlow will take over as chief information officer

Dec. 1 after having served in that position with acting status. The chief information officer, who


issues such as

policy, standards, frequency management and information assurance, is not a new position, but it is expected to have an elevated status as part of the reorganization, Bolton said.

Other changes planned for the next three to six months include the establishment of a corporate systems engineering office with overall responsibility for architecture definition and systems integration across the NRO, according to the memo.

Bolton said

the chief information and systems engineering offices will play a critical role in bringing NRO systems together to create intelligence products based on multiple types of intelligence.

The reorganization also includes the creation of a ground enterprise directorate that will be responsible for all integrated NRO ground systems, according to the memo.

That office is part of a push on the part of the NRO to increase its focus on ground systems, which began in April 2006 at the direction of then-NRO Director Don Kerr, who now serves as principal deputy director of national intelligence.

Large wrote in the Nov. 1 memo that he wants to complete new management plans for acquisition and systems engineering before the systems engineering and ground systems directorates officially stand up.

Large said

the steering commission will

brief him on those issues

Nov. 16. The steering group

also will address issues including organizational structure, staffing, and budgets, he wrote.

A detailed schedule and draft plan will follow

Dec. 9, though the steering group will continue to help support the rollout into early 2008, Large wrote.

Large pledged in the memo to keep agency officials informed about future changes that might

continue under the reorganization.

“We are united in our view that the changes will help [the] NRO remain not only relevant, but a vibrant player in intelligence collection and military operations as we move through the next 10-15 years,” Large wrote. “We are committed to carefully make these changes – mission success remains paramount.”