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Craig McLean named new leader for NOAA Research
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Craig McLean named new leader for NOAA Research

Today, NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D, announced that Craig McLean, deputy assistant administrator for NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), has been selected to head the office, which is responsible for NOAA’s research enterprise, including laboratories and programs across the country.

“Our scientific and research activities are critical to the products and services we provide to millions of Americans every day,” said Sullivan. “Craig has been part of the NOAA family for more than three decades and is passionate about our mission and public service. His leadership and management expertise will serve our team well as we strive to provide science-based data and information to build community resilience against natural disasters and other long-term changes.”

Prior to this position, McLean served as deputy assistant administrator for OAR’s Programs and Administration, as executive officer of the National Ocean Service, and was the founding director of NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration. McLean served in uniform for nearly 25 years, retiring from NOAA's Commissioned Corps in the grade of captain. He served aboard hydrographic, oceanographic, and fisheries research ships.

“NOAA provides actionable science based information to the American people every day,” said McLean. “I am grateful for Dr. Sullivan’s trust in me to assume this position, and for the opportunity to serve an agency of such importance as NOAA.”

McLean is also an attorney and has practiced marine resource law for NOAA. He has been awarded the Department of Commerce Silver and Bronze Medals, the NOAA Corps Commendation Medal, and Special Achievement Medal. He is a frequent speaker on ocean related subjects, drawing on his diverse NOAA career experience in fisheries, coastal and marine area management, directing research, law, and both surface and submerged marine operations. He is a fellow of the Explorers Club, and of the Marine Technology Society, and a past-president and chairman of the Sea-Space Symposium.

“I am pleased to support the appointment of Craig McLean to this important position in NOAA,” said Roger M. Wakimoto, Ph.D, assistant director for the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Geosciences.  “Craig has a clear strategic vision for OAR and is excited about the opportunity to serve the organization and the community."

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and our other social media channels.

For more information please contact: Ciaran Clayton, 202-482-6090,

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Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) - or "NOAA Research" - provides the research foundation for understanding the complex systems that support our planet. Working in partnership with other organizational units of the NOAA, a bureau of the Department of Commerce, NOAA Research enables better forecasts, earlier warnings for natural disasters, and a greater understanding of the Earth. Our role is to provide unbiased science to better manage the environment, nationally, and globally.


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