U.S. Climate and Oceans Agency in Midst of Leadership Shake-Up

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which has been without a permanent leader since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, is in the midst of a leadership shake-up, Nature writes.

Timothy Gallaudet, the oceanographer and retired US Navy rear admiral who has served as the agency’s acting head since October 2017, will be replaced by Neil Jacobs, according to an internal memo circulated on February 25, Nature informs.

Gallaudet will remain at NOAA in his Senate-confirmed post as the assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere. But Jacobs, the agency’s assistant secretary for environmental observation and prediction since February 2018, will take over the job of running NOAA, Nature noted.

Gallaudet came to the agency from Panasonic Avionics Corporation in Lake Forest, California, where he was the chief atmospheric scientist and worked on weather observations and forecasting.

In a memo to agency employees, Jacobs said that the change in leadership structure could allow Gallaudet to focus on “blue economy” priorities such as the seafood industry, ocean exploration, maritime commerce and recreation. “In no way will this impact our mission or shift our priorities,” Jacobs wrote.

Wilbur Ross, who overseas NOAA as the secretary of the Department of Commerce, called for the change in leadership, Jacobs wrote in the memo. Jacobs did not provide any details about his plans or priorities as acting NOAA administrator, Nature adds.

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