Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D.,
Administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
A native of Philadelphia, Pa., retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., is serving as the undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere. He was appointed Dec. 19, 2001. Along with this title comes the added distinction of serving as the eighth administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He holds an MS and Ph.D. from Harvard University in applied mathematics. Lautenbacher oversees the day-to-day functions of NOAA, as well as laying out its strategic and operational future. The agency manages an annual budget of $4 billion. The agency includes, and is comprised of the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Services; National Marine Fisheries Service; National Ocean Service; National Weather Services; Oceanic and Atmospheric Research; Marine and Aviation Operations; and the NOAA Corps, the nation's seventh uniformed service.
As the NOAA administrator, Lautenbacher directed an internal review and reorganization of the NOAA corporate structure to meet the environmental challenges of the 21st century. He spearheaded the first-ever Earth Observation Summit, which hosted ministerial-level representation from several dozen of world's nations in Washington July 2003. As the U.S. co-chair, he led follow-on working sessions in Italy in the Fall of 2003 and in South Africa in the Winter of 2004. The effort culminated at the Second Earth Observing Summit held in Tokyo in April 2004 where 47 nations formalized the plans for international cooperation on the construction and maintenance of a global Earth observing system.
He also headed numerous delegations at international governmental summits and conferences around the world, including the U.S. delegation to 2002 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Ocean Ministerial Meeting in Korea, and 2002 and 2003 meetings of the World Meteorological Organization and Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission in Switzerland and France; as well as leading the Commerce delegation to the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in South Africa.
Before joining NOAA, Lautenbacher formed his own management consultant business, and worked principally for Technology, Strategies & Alliances Inc. He was president and CEO of the Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education (CORE). This not-for-profit organization has a membership of 76 institutions of higher learning and a mission to increase basic knowledge and public support across the spectrum of ocean sciences.
Lautenbacher is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy (Class of '64), and has won accolades for his performance in a broad range of operational, command and staff positions both ashore and afloat. He retired after 40 years of service in the Navy. His military career was marked by skilled fiscal management and significant improvements in operations through performance-based evaluations of processes.
During his time in the Navy, he was selected as a Federal Executive Fellow and served at the Brookings Institution. He served as a guest lecturer on numerous occasions at the Naval War College, the Army War College, the Air War College, The Fletcher School of Diplomacy and the components of the National Defense University.
His Navy experience includes tours as Commanding Officer of USS HEWITT (DD-966), Commander Naval Station Norfolk; Commander of Cruiser-Destroyer Group Five with additional duties as Commander U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Riyadh during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, where he was in charge of Navy planning and participation in the air campaign. As Commander U.S. Third Fleet, he introduced joint training to the Pacific with the initiation of the first West Coast Joint Task Force Training Exercises (JTFEXs).
A leader in the introduction of cutting-edge information technology, he pioneered the use of information technology to mount large-scale operations using sea-based command and control. As assistant for strategy with the Chief of Naval Operations Executive Panel, and Program Planning Branch Head in the Navy Program Planning Directorate, he continued to hone his analytic skills resulting in designation as a specialist both in Operations Analysis and Financial Management. During his final tour of duty, he served as deputy chief of Naval Operations (Resources, Warfare Requirements and Assessments) in charge of Navy programs and budget.
Lautenbacher lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, Susan, who is a life-long high school and middle school science teacher.