After a long-term delay, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will have a Chief Scientist. NOAA did have a Chief Scientist for several years (the current Administrator served as Chief Scientist during the Clinton Administration), but the position was re-established in 2009.
That it took five years to fill the position helps demonstrate the difficulties present in recruiting and confirming presidential appointees. The first person the Obama Administration attempted to place in the job was placed on hold by Senator David Vitter, and the candidate eventually withdrew. I am reasonably convinced it would happen again, if it weren’t for a 2012 law that removed the requirement that this position require Senate confirmation.
Like Administrator Sullivan, the new Chief Scientist will be serving a second time at NOAA. Richard Spinrad, currently Vice President for Research at Oregon State University, was the head of NOAA”s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research and the National Ocean Service. Spinrad also has extensive experience in naval research, both at the Office of Naval Research and with the Oceanographer of the Navy.