October 1, 2011  

Openness at NRO

To the National Reconnaissance Office for developing a pair of effective anti-insurgent technologies — and then telling people about them.

In a breakfast meeting with reporters, NRO Director Bruce Carlson offered a few details about Red Dot, which finds hidden and buried roadside bombs by combining intelligence gathered by the once-secret agency’s satellites with information from other sources, and within minutes, sends their locations to displays on Humvees and at command posts. He also said the agency has developed a way to fuse data from RC-135 Rivet Joints, Predator drones and the agency’s own satellites to geolocate — within meters — the push-to-talk radios that are many insurgents’ chief form of tactical communications.

No doubt, the director’s openness was motivated by the budget fights, but such information is invaluable to decision-makers struggling to figure out what to cut.