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Rick Spinrad Confirmed as Head of NOAA


The U.S. Senate confirmed Rick Spinrad as the new head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on June 17th. Spinrad returns to NOAA after having previously been its Chief Scientist, among other positions.


According to NOAA's announcement, three priorities Spinrad will focus on as the new Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere (and 11th NOAA Administrator) are:

  • Developing a full portfolio of environmental products and services in the context of our changing climate, and in coordination and cooperation with NOAA’s sister agencies, industry, academia, NGOs, and the philanthropic community, and ensuring these products and services are more accessible to underserved communities.

  • Building a balanced portfolio of programs and policies that both enhance environmental sustainability and foster economic development in areas such as climate products and services, the new blue economy, and sustainable fisheries.

  • Creating a more just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive workforce. NOAA employs scientists and technologists, and, perhaps even more impactfully, educates and trains future professionals. The scientific and technical workforce in the environmental and ecological fields in the U.S. must become more diverse.

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