Today’s Tidbits: October 12, 2017

Today’s Tidbits: October 12, 2017

Here are our tidbits for today, October 12, 2017: reaction to the Myers nomination for NOAA Administrator; and the House appoints conferees for the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  Be sure to check our website for feature articles, and follow us on Twitter (@SpcPlcyOnline) for more news and live tweeting of events.

Reaction to Myers Nomination for NOAA Administrator

President Trump’s nomination of Accuweather’s Barry Myers to be the new NOAA Administrator is drawing mixed reviews.  Senator Bill Nelson, the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee — which must approve the nomination before it goes to the full Senate — tweeted this:

As the Reuters article explains, Nelson is concerned about earlier attempts by Accuweather to limit the dissemination of National Weather Service (NWS) forecasts on the Internet, because, as Nelson said in July, “[a]ny  nominee who has a history of trying to undercut the National Weather Service for financial gain should raise serious questions.”

Barry Myers, Nominee for NOAA Administrator. Credit: Barry Myers’s LinkedIn webpage.

The NWS is part of NOAA.

Senate Brian Schatz (D-Hawai’i), another member of the committee, agrees.  In a statement today, Schatz said Myers “will have to work very hard to persuade me” as to “why his service as NOAA Administrator will not violate conflict of interest rules and regulations” and that he will run NOAA “for the public good.”

Several media outlets are reporting other criticisms of Myers because he is not a scientist like many prior NOAA Administrators (his degrees are in business and law) and the potential conflicts of interest.

On the other hand, Anthony Busalacchi, President of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), praised the nomination in a press statement.  “From my years working with Barry, I know he appreciates the importance of re-establishing U.S. preeminence in weather forecasting.  I look forward to hearing Barry’s plans to improve weather forecasting through partnerships among government agencies, private companies, and the university community.”

Marshall Shepard, Director of the University of Georgia’s Atmospheric Sciences Program and a past president of the American Meteorological Society, of which Myers is a Fellow, offered his “wish list” of the five qualities he would like to see in a NOAA Administrator in a May 2017 issue of Forbes []:  strong support for research, support for the NWS, fighting back against the attack on climate science, protecting the satellite and Sea Grant programs, and valuing external science expertise.

House Appoints NDAA Conferees

Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Credit: Thornberry’s website.

The House appointed its Republican and Democrat members of the conference committee that will negotiate with the Senate over the final version of the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  The two chambers have many differences to resolve, not least of which is how to manage DOD space programs.  The House-passed bill requires creation of a Space Corps within the Air Force analogous to the Marine Corps within the Department of the Navy.  The Senate-passed bill specifically prohibits the expenditure of any funds authorized in the bill to do that.  It agrees that DOD management of space programs needs to change, however.  It wants to creation a Chief Information Warfare Officer (CIWO) reporting directly the Secretary of Defense with authority over space, cyberspace, and information programs.

The House members appointed as conferees are:

•    Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee
•    Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC)
•    Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ)
•    Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT)
•    Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH)
•    Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL)
•    Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ)
•    Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA)
•    Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX)
•    Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO)
•    Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA)
•    Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO)
•    Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO)
•    Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA)
•    Rep. Paul Cook (R-CA)
•    Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY)
•    Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA)
•    Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE)
•    Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA)
•    Rep. Bob Brady (D-PA)
•    Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA)
•    Rep. James Langevin (D-RI)
•    Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA)
•    Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN)
•    Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU)
•    Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT)
•    Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-MA)
•    Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA)
•    Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA)
•    Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX)
•    Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)

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