NRO is developing a Future Communications Architecture (FCA) that will be critical to the success of these future imagery and signals intelligence systems. The FCA will consist of a network of satellites and ground communications systems that will allow NRO to move and process large volumes of information from operational collection systems. It is the essential element in the emerging system-of-systems concept which will enable better integration of data from all intelligence sources, and ensure that collection architectures work together effectively.
The current communications architecture places a severe limitation on the dissemination of imagery and geospatial data. Dissemination of data using satellite transmissions directly to users and newer data structures may mitigate some of these limitations. A heterogeneous and robust communications network must be available and capable of supporting the distribution of digital imagery and geospatial information down to the lowest tactical element.