Col Sam Little

National Reconnaissance Office
Senior Materiel Leader & Principal Deputy Director Geospatial Intelligence Systems Acquisition Directorate

Col Sam Little is the Senior Materiel Leader (Upper) and the Principal Deputy Director Geospatial Intelligence Systems Acquisition Directorate (PDD/GEOINT) at the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). As PDD/GEOINT, Col Little has responsibility for the planning and execution of over $25 Billion of GEO INT systems. He also serves as the senior military officer for over 90 USSF, USAF, USN, and USA personnel.

Col Little graduated from the University of Florida (UF) in 1997 and was commissioned through AFROTC program at UF’s Detachment 150. In June 2021, he transferred to the newly formed United States Space Force. He has served in multiple space acqu1s1t1ons and operations assignments with the Department of the Air Force and the NRO over his career.

Col Little began his career as a Satellite Vehicle Operator in the 3rd Satellite Operations Squadron (SOPS), Schriever AFB, CO. In 3 SOPS, he operated both the UHF Follow-on and Skynet 4 communication satellite programs. Next, he was assigned to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) where he worked on both the Titan IV and Delta II rocket programs. Col Little was then assigned to the NRO, serving as satellite subsystem engineer and operations lead in the Space Systems Program Office (SSPO). Next, Col Little moved to the Air Force Element at an OCON US duty station supporting the Global War on Terrorism as Senior Mission Manager and Director of Operations. After this OCONUS assignment, he attended the Air Force Institute of Technology and graduated with a Masters Degree in Systems Engineering. Col Little then returned to CCAFS as the Operations Officer for the 45th Launch Support Squadron. Col Little then moved to the 45th Space Wing Director of Staff position, where he had oversight over 18 different wing staff agencies. Following this assignment, he returned to the NRO as the Chief Systems Engineer for the next-generation Signals Intelligence Program in SSPO. Col Little then moved to the Radar System Program Office (RSPO) as a Materiel Leader and most recently served as the Senior Materiel Leader, Radar Satellite Program Manager for RSPO. In this position, he directed the acquisition of 6 high-visibility programs, leading over 3,200 government and industry personnel to acquire current and next-generation multi-billion dollar satellite systems.

Col Little is married to Kelly Little, whom he met while a student at the University of Florida. They have 3 children, Sandy, Molly, and Finn. His off-duty interests involve outdoor activities, which include running, mountain biking, fishing, and surfing.

1997 Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
2004 Master of Science in Industrial Engineering/Engineering Management University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida
2011 Master of Science in Systems Engineering Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio Professional Military Education
2003 Squadron Officer School, Air University, Maxwell AFB, Alabama
2011 Intermediate Developmental Education, Air Force Institute of Technology, WrightPatterson AFB, Ohio
2015 Air War College (Correspondence), Air University, Maxwell AFB, Alabama

1997 – 1998: Undergraduate Space and Missile Training, Vandenberg AFB, CA
1998 – 200 I: 3rd Space Ops Squadron, Schriever AFB, CO
2001 – 2003: SMC Detachment 8, Cape Canaveral AFS, FL
2003 – 2004: 1st Space Launch Squadron, Cape Canaveral AFS, FL
2004 – 2007: National Reconnaissance Office, Chantilly, VA
2007 – 2010: Air Force Element
2010 – 2011: Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH
201 l – 2015: 45th Launch Supp011 Squadron, Cape Canaveral AFS, FL
20 I 5 – Pres: National Reconnaissance Office, Chantilly, VA

Major Decorations and Awards
Defense Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster
Air Force Meritorious Service Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster
National Space Club’s General Bernard Schriever Award
National Space Club’s Joseph V. Charyk Award
NRO Director’s Circle Award

Acquisition Certifications
Level 3 – Program Management
Level 3 – Systems Planning, Research, Development and Engineering – Systems Engineering

Dates of Rank
2nd Lieutenant – May 1997
1st Lieutenant – Jul 1999
Captain – Jul 2001
Major – Apr 2007
Lieutenant Colonel – Jul 2012
Colonel – Dec 2018

Last updated on: November 9, 2023

Upcoming Events

GEOINTeraction Tuesday
January 30, 2024
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm ET

Space Situational Awareness Workshop
February 6, 2024
8:00 am – 4:00 pm ET

GEOINT 2024 Sneak Peek
April 2, 2024
8:00 am – 10:00 AM ET

GEOINT 2024 Symposium
May 5 – May 8, 2024
8:00 am – 5:00 PM ET