Appointment Delays, OSTP Edition

While I’ve been harping on the lack of a nomination for National Science Foundation (NSF) Director, there are other senior science and technology positions that need people.  There are supposed to be four Associate Directors at the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).  Like the NSF Director, and the OSTP Director, these positions require Senate confirmation.

Yesterday the White House announced a nominee to serve as the Associate Director for Energy and Environment at the OSTP.  Robert Simon, currently a consultant at OSTP, would take over for Shere Abbott, who left the position in 2011.  Simon brings a great deal of federal government experience in the energy field, splitting time between the Department of Energy and relevant Congressional committees.

Meanwhile, the Division of Technology and Innovation is now being run by OSTP Deputy Director Tom Kalil.  If OSTP blog posts are any indication, this switch was done sometime this year, after several months with no Associate Director for Technology.  After Aneesh Chopra left the position (and the job of Chief Technology Officer), it was decided that the next Chief Technology Officer would not also serve as the Associate Director for Technology.

Kalil was originally appointed as Deputy Director for Policy.  The Deputy Director position was created by OSTP Director Holdren, and does not require Senate confirmation.  It remains to be seen whether the Senate will object to Kalil serving as Director of the Technology and Innovation Division without Senate confirmation.  Given the long stretches with an acting director for one or more divisions at OSTP, I don’t think it’s a high priority for the Congress (and perhaps not for the Administration)

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