NRO Congressional Budget Justification Book (CBJB) for Fiscal Year 2010

July 1, 2010 at 8:45 am | Posted in Space Law | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty

Secrecy News points to the newly released NRO Congressional Budget Justification Book (CBJB) for Fiscal Year 2010. The version released is redacted extensively. The overview states:

(U) Description
(U) The NRO brings unique cOre capabilities to bear in support of national security objectives by:
• (U) Acquiring and operating the most capable set of satellite intelligence collection platforms ever built.
[REDACTED]
• (U) Providing a variety of special ground processing applications and tools to support the Ie and DoD.

(U) The US is arguably more reliant on overhead collection than ever before. To a large extent, satellite reconnaissance is the foundation for global situational awareness, and as such, it is an essential underpinning of the entire US intelligence effort. Space collection provides unique access to otherwise denied areas to provide persistent and responsive collection; and it does so without risk to human collectors or infringing upon the territorial sovereignty of other nations. It also enables users to quickly focus on almost any point on the globe to rapidly respond to emerging situations or to monitor ongoing events. The NRO provides direct support to the war on terrorism, deployed military forces, and other Ie and DoD activities requiring near real-time situational awareness and sustained high resolution/high sensitivity collection capability 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-per-week.

(U) In times of heightened tension, crisis, or even humanitarian or natural disasters. the value of NRO systems is even greater. At this time, NRO systems are not only the ftrst responders of choice for the DoD, Ie, or key decisionmakers – they are often the only source of information.

(U) Strategic Direction
(U) The 2009 National Reconnaissance Strategic Plan defines a new value model for the NRO: the NRO is now focused as much on what it does with the data it collects as it is on collecting it; and programs must make good business sense as well as good technical sense. In addition to continuing to design and build state-of-the-art satellites that provide unparalleled information advantage for the Nation and our users, the emphasis is on accelerating the delivery of innovative ground capabilities that amplify overhead capabilities and that are more responsive to dynamic and rapidly changing user needs. The NRO is working to implement fully integrated space and ground architectures characterized by synergistic, cross-domain mission management, multi-INT data fusion at the source, common processing, and closer linkages with other Ie and DoD technical architectures and functions. The NRO is also leveraging its extensive ability to move data, both on the ground and in space, to enable its mission partners to more effectively execute their missions.

(U) The NRO is moving in new directions while continuing to build on its heritage. The 2009 Strategic Plan establishes the corporate framework for planning and executing the technical initiatives required to achieve the NRO’s long-term goals and objectives. It defines overarching corporate imperatives that are fundamental to the organization’s success; it establishes investment guidelines for engineering and budget planning; and it defines new corporate technical priorities to guide lower-level program development. Equally significant, it recognizes the most critical element in the NRO’s long-term success is its workforce.

(U) The NRO is reestablishing its reputation for on-time and on-budget delivery. It is also focusing on delivering the best long-term value for the systems it builds. This includes a heightened emphasis on the health of the national security space industrial base that the NRO ultimately depends on for its long-term success. The NRO is also working to improve the protection and survivability posture of its space and ground assets.

(U) To support this ambitious vision, the NRO recently completed a comprehensive realignment of its corporate governance structure as well as a complete reassessment and redefinition of its acquisition management processes and a reorganization of its acquisition and operations-related functions. These initiatives are collectively referred to as the NRO Transformation and they fundamentally change the way the NRO manages itself and the way it executes its mission.

(U) The NRO Transformation is arguably the most ambitious organizational, business process, and management realignment in the history of the NRO. The !NT-based organizational and management approach that had been the foundation of the NRO’s structure for the past 40 years has been replaced with a functionally-based structure that, for the first time, enables us to manage ourselves and our systems as single integrated entity. In addition, all systems engineering and acquisition management functions are now enveloped within a single set of standardized best-practices and performance measures. The Transformation also implemented rigorous engineering, programmatic, and management checks and balances at all levels within the organization.

(U) The Transformation implements the changes necessary to restore acquisition discipline and accountability. EqualJy important, it establishes the framework and provides tools to more effectively integrate NRO systems into larger IC architectures and to synergistically align NRO with other collectors.

(U) In the aggregate, the Transformation establishes:
• (U) A new corporate governance structure with unambiguous and documented lines of personal resIX>nsibility and accountability.
• (U) A new Chief Operating Officer position focused on delivering NRO programs to their established cost, schedule, and performance baselines.
• (U) A new corporate systems engineering function to enable cross-INT trades and enterprise-level planning.
• (U) A new Ground Enterprise Directorate focused on synergistic ground development, the development of integrated tasking capabilities, and the production of fused products.

(U) The Transformation also includes a complete reassessment of all acquisition-related policies, processes, and documentation. Where gaps were found, they were addressed; where best practices were found, they were baselined for the entire organization; and where improvements could be made they were made.

(U) Although the management and engineering structures and processes are now in place to facilitate moving into a new era, in the final analysis, the NRO can only be as effective as its workforce. People are our most important asset. The NRO is working hard to recover from the adverse impacts of the acquisition “reform” and “peace dividend” eras of the 1990s. During this era, the NRO essentially lost a generation of project managers and systems engineers. We now have program managers who are superbly well qualified technically, but who lack the hands-on program management experience essential for complete development. This loss, coupled with· the retirement surge being experienced by all government agencies, creates a particularly challenging workforce environment for the NRO.

(U) To address these staffing challenges, the NRO is taking the initial steps to establish a separate NRO Career Service to augment existing staffing agreements. The NRO is currently totally reliant on outside organizations to meet its mission-critical staffing requirements. Although our mission partners continue to be supportive, resources are stretched and outside organizational priorities continue to evolve and diverge, putting NRO mission execution at risk. The NRO career service will provide a buffer from these risks. Equally important it will provide some level of management continuity, workforce stability, and the ability to recruit, reward, and promote personnel consistent with the NRO’s unique mission requirements. Initial funding to support this career service is incorporated into our FY 2010 budget request.

[REDACTED]

(U) Conclusion

(U) The NRP’s FY 2010 request, in concert with the FY 2008 Agency Financial Reports provided in November 2008, and the FY 2008 NIP Citizen’s Report and NIP Annual Performance Report provided separately in January 2009, meets the requirement for the annual performance and accountability reporting requirement for the Ie. The NRP is committed to demonstrating that resources produce measurable results. Relationships between resources, results, and performance are highlighted throughout the request.

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