Extending the recent successes demonstrated by artificial intelligence expert system technology to the broader domain of scene analysis necessitates a consequent broadening of the concepts and techniques used in current systems. Simple, single mechanisms must give way to multiple lines of reasoning and multiple levels of description. Meta-level reasoning, which is a recursive application of the basic expert system paradigm, is a promising approach to the problem of coping with the complexity inherent in highly variable, dynamic environments. This paper describes research directed towards incorporating meta-level reasoning into context-based scene analysis systems. A multi-layered expert system architecture is outlined that is aimed at providing high-level strategies and dynamic planning capability to the basic image understanding process.