Mr. Dennis Fitzgerald
Mr. Dennis Fitzgerald served in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for thirty-three years from January 1974 until April 2007. Mr. Fitzgerald was a member of CIA’s Senior Intelligence Service and had been Principal Deputy Director of the National Reconnaissance Office (PDDNRO)1 from August 2001 to April 2007. Upon retiring from the CIA, Mr. Fitzgerald continued to serve as a senior advisor to the Director of National Reconnaissance in the capacity of an independent contractor until his death on 31 December 2008.
As the PDDNRO, Mr. Fitzgerald held a dual appointment as the Deputy Assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force (Intelligence Space Technology). While serving as the PDDNRO, Mr. Fitzgerald served as the Acting Director, NRO in 2005 from 28 March to 1 August. In addition to his appointments as the PDDNRO and other senior NRO positions, Mr. Fitzgerald concurrently served as Director of CIA’s Office of Development and Engineering (OD&E) in the Agency’s DS&T.
Mr. Fitzgerald was fascinated with learning and had earned four master’s degrees in applied physics, mathematics, electrical engineering, and space technology from Johns Hopkins University. His B.S. in physics was from Fairfield University. Mr. Fitzgerald held certificates as a Professional Engineer in New York and Virginia, and was a licensed Master Electrician in Virginia. He also had been an avid runner who completed ten marathons.
Mr. Fitzgerald was born in New Haven, Connecticut and began his professional career in 1964 as a field engineer working on the Polaris and Poseidon missile program for Sperry Gyroscope and in 1966 working for Vitro Laboratories. In January 1974, Mr. Fitzgerald joined the CIA and subsequently spent the majority of his career in DS&T/OD&E with duty in the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). In addition to his appointments at the NRO, Mr. Fitzgerald held a variety of key positions at the CIA, which included service as the Associate Director of the National Photographic Interpretation Center, the Deputy Director of the DS&T's Office of Research and Development and the Associate Deputy Director for Science and Technology.
Mr. Fitzgerald made his major contributions to the Intelligence Community as a CIA OD&E officer assigned to the NRO. In addition to service as the PDDNRO, his senior assignments at the NRO included serving as Deputy Director, Technology Application Group, Deputy Director for Systems Collection, Director of Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) Program Group, Director, SIGINT Systems Acquisition and Operations Directorate.
In one of his last interviews with the Center for the Study of National Reconnaissance (CSNR) Mr. Fitzgerald said that he believed he made his greatest contributions to the NRO as SIGINT director, where in less than six years he led the acquisition of multiple sigint satellite systems and instituted fundamental changes at the ground stations that serviced the spacecraft. More importantly, many NRO employees have considered Mr. Fitzgerald as a one of their great teachers and mentors who championed the people of the NRO and the organization.