The Washington Post

Edmund H. Nowinski, CIA and NRO official

Edmund H. Nowinski, a systems engineer and former Central Intelligence Agency and National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) official, died Jan. 19 at his home in Melbourne Beach, Fla. He was 69.

The cause was lung cancer, said his son, Nicolas Nowinski.

Mr. Nowinski joined the CIA’s Directorate of Science and Technology in 1967 in what is now the Office of Development and Engineering. He worked on early space reconnaissance activities for the NRO, where he was assigned to the system analysis staff in 1969.

He became director of a newly formed CIA data communications group in 1981 and later was the NRO’s chief systems engineer. In 1993, he was named director of development and engineering for the CIA and director of imagery intelligence for the NRO.

After working for the CIA, Mr. Nowinski in 1995 became a vice president of Harris Corp., a government contractor based in Melbourne, Fla.

From 1998 until 2005, he was a vice president and program manager of the Future Imagery Architecture project for Boeing in Seal Beach, Calif. The program was described in news accounts as one of the country’s most expensive spy-satellite failures, costing at least $4 billion before it was halted, according to a 2007 investigation by the New York Times.

The company fired Mr. Nowinski as the project fell apart. Afterward, he returned to Florida and continued work as a consultant to the aerospace industry.

Edmund Henry Nowinski was born in Newark and was a 1967 electrical engineering graduate of what is now the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

He received numerous service awards from the CIA and NRO.

His marriage, to the former Judith Norulak, ended in divorce. Survivors include two children, Nicolas Nowinski of Arlington County and Mary McLeese of Fairfax County; two sisters; and a brother.

— Megan McDonough

Most Read

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.