Key Lawmaker Favors NRO Remake

Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Tex.) told the online journal DOD Buzz this week that the National Reconnaissance Office is overdue for a makeover. Thornberry, who is ranking member of the technical and tactical intelligence panel of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said, “We need a new charter, a new look at NRO.” He was responding to a question about the work of a panel drafted by Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair that reportedly has made recommendations to overhaul the NRO, although Thornberry acknowledged he had not yet received a briefing on the panel’s findings. And just how extensive a remake the panel favors is not clear, since “a former government official” who talked with DOD Buzz termed the panel’s work “a modernizing document.” Defense Secretary Robert Gates, with Blair’s concurrence, has just appointed retired Air Force Gen. Bruce Carlson to head the NRO.