[Congressional Record: September 15, 2011 (Extensions)]
[Page E1648]



                          HON. C.W. BILL YOUNG

                               of florida

                    in the house of representatives

                      Thursday, September 15, 2011

  Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I rise to commemorate the 50th 
Anniversary this month of the National Reconnaissance Office. The 
National Reconnaissance Office was secretly created in 1961 in response 
to the Soviet launch of Sputnik with the purpose of overseeing ``all 
satellite and overflight reconnaissance projects whether overt or 
covert.'' This information was Declassified to the public in 1992. 
Today the NRO is in charge of designing, building, launching, and 
maintaining the United States of America's intelligence satellites. 
When the United States needs eyes and ears in critical places where no 
human can reach--be it over the most rugged terrain or the most hostile 
territory--we turn to the National Reconnaissance Office.
  We are proud to applaud the National Reconnaissance Office for 
recently completing one of the most aggressive launch campaigns since 
its inception by launching six complex satellite systems in only seven 
months. With fewer people and less infrastructure than in years past, 
this great accomplishment is a testament to the diligent National 
Reconnaissance Office program teams and the essential collaborative 
launch efforts with the United States Air Force and the talented 
workforce they draw from across the Department of Defense and the 
Intelligence Community. Whether creating the latest innovations in 
satellite technology, contracting with the most cost-efficient 
industrial supplier, conducting rigorous launch schedules, or providing 
the highest-quality products to our customers, these successful 
launches prove the National Reconnaissance Office's never-ending 
commitment to protect our Nation and its citizens.
  As one of the 16 Intelligence Community agencies, the National 
Reconnaissance Office is a hybrid organization consisting of some 3,000 
personnel that is jointly staffed by members of the Armed Services, the 
Central Intelligence Agency and Department of Defense civilians. 
Headquartered in Chantilly, Virginia, the National Reconnaissance 
Office launches from Cape Canaveral, FL and Vandenberg Air Force Base, 
California, while maintaining ground station operations in Virginia, 
Colorado, New Mexico, the United Kingdom, and Australia. This unique 
composition and placement of the National Reconnaissance Office 
workforce allows for launching and operating the most technically-
capable systems to continued operations of legacy satellites in order 
for the United States to remain the premier space reconnaissance 
organization in the world.
  Together with other Defense Department satellites, National 
Reconnaissance Office 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 United States forces in support of the war on terrorism 
and other contingency operations. Additionally, National Reconnaissance 
Office satellites have played an ever increasing role in supporting 
civil customers, assess crop production, map habitats of endangered 
species, track oil spills, and study wetlands.
  Through continued vigilance from above, the National Reconnaissance 
Office provides America's policymakers, intelligence analysts, 
warfighters and homeland security specialists the critical information 
they need to keep America safe, secure, and free. For these many 
achievements, I join my colleagues in congratulating the men and women 
who support the National Reconnaissance Office on 50 years of 
outstanding service to our nation and may they continue on this path to 
reach even greater milestones in space reconnaissance for years to