Trump Administration Fails to Appoint Science Advisor

Silencing Science Tracker

Trump Administration Fails to Appoint Science Advisor

The Trump administration has taken longer to nominate a science adviser to head the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) than any previous administration. According to a report in Nature, “[o]n 23 October, Trump broke the record set by former President George W. Bush,” who was without a science advisor for 276 days. The report also indicates that Trump has “waited longer than any president since at least 1976, when the [OSTP] was created, to name his choice for the science-adviser job.”

As a result of President Trump’s failure to appoint a science adviser, OSTP is currently being led by Michael Kratsios, who is a deputy assistant in the office. Mr. Kratsios holds a political science degree (with a focus on Hellenic studies) and appears to have no hard science qualifications. He is leading a team of approximately 38, well below previous OSTP staffing levels, which were around 130 in 2016.

Update: In January 2018, the Democratic members of the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology wrote to President Trump urging him to appoint a science adviser. The letter states:

“Sound scientific and technology advice is indispensable to US national security and economic growth, and to forming federal policies that help drive the kind of research and technological advances that made this country great. Despite its importance to the safety and prosperity of the country, however, a year into your term, OSTP remains without a Director and has one third as many staff as it had under President Obama.

It is deeply important that you fill the vacant office of OSTP Director as required by law, and fully staff this institution with qualified and knowledgeable officials, as soon as possible.”

In August 2018, the Washington Post reported that President Trump intend to nominate Kelvin Droegemeier to direct OSTP.


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