The Honorable Dr. Chris Scolese

Written by: Angelica Reyes

The Honorable Dr. Chris Scolese Official portrait of DNRO, Dr. Christopher Scolese, September 29, 2021.

Dr. Chris Scolese was sworn in as the National Reconnaissance Office director Aug. 5, 2019. He is the 19th director and the first to be presidentially appointed and senate confirmed. Dr. Scolese provides direction, guidance, and supervision on matters pertaining to the NRO, and executes other authorities specifically delegated by the Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence.

Dr. Scolese began his government career as a United States Naval Officer in 1978, supporting a variety of Naval Nuclear Propulsion Programs for the U.S. Navy and the Department of Energy.

In 1987, following a brief period of service working in government and industry, Dr. Scolese joined the National Aeronautics and Space Administration where he was assigned to the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. During this period, he served in a variety of senior management positions including Earth Observing System manager, and deputy director of Flight Programs and Projects for Earth Science.

In 2001, Dr. Scolese was assigned to NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. where he served as the deputy associate administrator in the Office of Space Science. In this position, he was responsible for the management, direction and oversight of NASA’s Space Science Flight Program, mission studies, technology development, and overall contract management of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

In 2004, he went on to become the deputy director of the Goddard Space Flight Center, where he assisted the director in overseeing all activities, before returning to Washington, D.C. to become NASA’s chief engineer in 2005. There he was responsible for ensuring all development and mission operations were planned and conducted on a sound engineering basis. In 2007, he was appointed the associate administrator, responsible for the oversight and integration of NASA’s programmatic and technical efforts. From January to July 2009, Dr. Scolese served as NASA’s acting administrator, responsible for leading the development, design and implementation of the nation’s civil space program.

In 2012, Dr. Scolese became the director of the Goddard Space Flight Center, where he led the nation’s largest organization of scientists, engineers and technologists responsible for building spacecraft, instruments and new technology to study the universe. On July 31, 2019, he retired from NASA to join the NRO.

Dr. Scolese holds a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo; a Master’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from George Washington University; and a Ph.D. in Systems Engineering from George Washington University. Originally from Buffalo, New York, Dr. Scolese and his wife, Dianne, currently reside in Springfield, Virginia.