The intelligence community’s space agency got a new director June 27. Christopher Scolese was confirmed by the Senate to lead the National Reconnaissance Office.
Scolese testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier in the month, laying out his goals for the agency if confirmed. Those goals would focus on industry partnerships and artificial intelligence. He also testified before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in May, fielding questions about the NRO combating adversaries.
“Space is an increasingly contested domain with increased threats to both ground and space systems,” Scolese said in advanced questions released to the Armed Services Committee. “Therefore, I view resiliency as a top priority and a persistent challenge. If confirmed, it will be critical to leverage the latest technology in our space and ground systems to stay ahead of our adversaries.”
Scolese, who has worked with NASA since 1987, most recently served as director of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
In his June hearing, Scolese outlined challenges he foresaw the NRO facing: integrating new technology without disrupting current operations; staying ahead of adversaries; and increasing the speed at which the agency handles data without compromising its integrity and reliability.
“We have a responsibility to infuse the latest technology into our programs to stay ahead of our competitors and adversaries and to ensure that we are providing the needed data quickly and efficiently,” Scolese said. “Our competitors and adversaries are not afraid to take risks. If the U.S. is to maintain its competitive advantage in space, we must be willing to try new technologies and accept that not all new technologies will be a success.”