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Career Development

Our developmental program (GG 7-9) seeks college seniors, recent graduates or early-career professionals with a passion for their new profession, a drive for excellence and those who are looking to share in our core values. It accelerates professional development with mission-critical assignments, giving program graduates the expertise and innovation to proactively contribute to the NRO's future.

The developmental program provides a guided career pathway to a full performance level set of duties. NRO employees in developmental positions may be promoted up to full performance upon meeting benchmarks and milestones established by NRO Career Field Managers (CFMs), and in accordance with career development program standards and guidance.


Apogee is a major component of our broader development program. It's a 12-month initiative and is open to all NRO entry-level employees. It offers an accelerated, formal path to build knowledge and expertise. Apogee provides education and experiences aligned with the three pillars of Understand the IC/DOD, Know the NRO and Develop You and complements our specific career field training and development opportunities. The program also offers a wide variety of business tradecraft programs which include issues like:

  • Digital acumen
  • Critical thinking
  • Managing conflict
  • Writing essentials
  • Leadership electives like trust, collaboration and leading from where you are

Coaching and mentoring

We provide professional certified coaches and in-house mentors for continuous challenge and growth.

Our coaching program offers all NRO officers, temporary employees and military members at all grade levels with access to a coach to increase transfer of learning, create a positive and supportive organizational culture and promote self-awareness for professional growth.

Our mentoring program, which is open to all government employees, offers opportunities for the workforce to develop and enhance their knowledge and skills. Mentors and mentees work together to support one another in accomplishing personal and professional development goals, enhancing technical expertise and skills and broadening their networks.

NRO University (NROU)

NROU offers training and professional development to NRO employees at all levels throughout their careers. NROU's courses and learning events help employees grow as intelligence officers and acquire the knowledge, skills and abilities critical for mission success. Our employees' partner with leadership and career fields to develop tailored training and development plans specific to the needs of the individual.

Continuing education

We value employee learning and offer opportunities, to include funding and time for training, coursework, professional certifications and conferences. External learning opportunities allow our employees to participate in academic study, executive leadership programs, fellowships and military service schools. These programs are made available through prestigious, accredited government and non-government institutions including, but not limited to, National Intelligence University, Air Command Staff College, Air War College and the Harvard Kennedy School.

Leadership development

NRO University launched a Flagship Continuum Program consisting of four leadership and management courses to create end-to-end training, shared learning experiences and a common lexicon for officers at each level at the NRO. This program helps prepare a steady pipeline of ready leaders.

The courses are:

  • Leadership Build for Emerging Leaders
  • Leadership Launch for NRO Supervisors
  • Leadership Orbit for NRO Managers
  • Leadership Apex: Director's Challenge for NRO Senior Officers

Joint Duty Program

The Joint Duty Program office offers opportunities for intelligence community employees to broaden and enhance their careers by temporarily rotating to another Intelligence Community (IC) element. Through this program, employees gain new skills and collaborate across the IC. All government civilian intelligence professionals, starting at Grade GS-11, who work in the Intelligence Community, are eligible to participate in the Joint Duty program with their home element's approval.

Rotational assignments

Rotational assignments within NRO help facilitate employee growth and development. In general, employees must complete at least one year in their current field before requesting a rotational assignment or detail.

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