Retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, announced his resignation, effective Oct. 31. Lautenbacher served as NOAA’s eighth Administrator for nearly seven years.
Under Lautenbacher’s leadership, NOAA was instrumental in the creation of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, the second largest area in the world dedicated to marine preservation. Lautenbacher contributed to the President’s landmark Ocean Initiative and worked with Congress to pass the Magnuson-Stevens Act reauthorization, which requires overfishing end by 2011.
In the international arena, Lautenbacher has led U.S. efforts to create a Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), an effort that has been joined by more than 70 countries and 50 international organizations. Following the disastrous Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, Lautenbacher led the development of a tsunami warning system in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and pushed for better warning capabilities in the Indian Ocean.