WASHINGTON Donald Kerr, a former senior CIA and FBI official, was named director of the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the Defense Department said Friday (July 22).
NRO builds and operates U.S. spy satellites and provides reconnaissance images and data to the CIA and the Defense Department.
Kerr is an intelligence veteran and an engineer. According to his CIA profile, he holds a Ph.D in plasma physics and microwave electronics from Cornell University. He previously served as the CIA's deputy director for science and technology. He also served as assistant director of the FBI, where he was responsible for its Laboratory Division.
He also directed the Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1979 to 1985.
Among his private sector jobs was a stint as corporate executive vice president and director at Science Applications International Corp. from 1993 to 1996.
Previous NRO directors also acted as an Air Force undersecretary. Under a recent intelligence overhaul that created a U.S. intelligence czar, Kerr will report to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. DoD said Kerr's appointment was cleared by U.S. intelligence chief John Negroponte, who was appointed national intelligence director by the Bush administration earlier this year to oversee 15 separate U.S. spy agencies.
NRO (Chantilly, Va.) is staffed by DoD and CIA personnel.