National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Commissioned Corps

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Commissioned Corps
Active February 10, 1807[1][2] - today
Country United States of America
Type Uniformed service
Size 321 officers[1]
19 ships, 14 aircraft[3]
Part of Department of Commerce
Headquarters Silver Spring, MD
Colors Blue, White         
March Forward with NOAA
Commanders
Director, NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps RADM Jonathan W. Bailey
Director, Marine and Aviation Operations Centers RDML Philip M. Kenul
Director, Commissioned Personnel Center CAPT Raymond C. Slagle
Notable
commanders
VADM Henry A. Karo
RADM Evelyn J. Fields
RADM Samuel P. De Bow, Jr.
Aircraft flown
Reconnaissance WP-3D, AC-500S, AC-695A, G-IV, CE-550, DHC-6

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps (styled the Commissioned Officer Corps under federal law[4] and known informally as NOAA Corps) is a federal uniformed service of the United States which operates under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a scientific agency within the Department of Commerce. The NOAA Corps is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States and has approximately 321 commissioned officers[5] and no enlisted or warrant officer ranks.

Contents


History

The NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps, established in 1917 as the Coast and Geodetic Survey Corps, and then as the Environmental Science Services Administration (ESSA) Corps from 1965-1970,[6][4] traces its roots back to the former U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, which dates to 1807 under President Thomas Jefferson. Coast and Geodetic Survey officers were commissioned so that under the laws of war, they could not be executed as spies if they were serving as surveyors on a battlefield. The first flag officer in the USC&GS Corps was Rear Admiral Raymond S. Patton when he was promoted from Captain to Rear Admiral in 1936. When the Coast and Geodetic Survey was transferred to the newly established Environmental Science Services Administration 13 July 1965 (per Reorganization Plan 2 of 1965), the corps was redesignated the Environmental Science Services Administration Corps (ESSA Corps). The first director of the ESSA Corps was Rear Admiral James C. Tison. Vice Admiral H. Arnold Karo was the first Deputy Administrator of ESSA. Karo was promoted to Vice Admiral 13 July 1965 to help lead in the establishment of the new ESSA. Vice Admiral Karo was the highest ranking officer in the history of the USC&GS/ESSA/NOAA Corps. The ESSA was transferred to newly established National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 3 October 1970 (per Reorganization Plan 4 of 1970), and the corps was redesignated the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Corps (NOAA Corps). The first director of the NOAA Corps was Rear Admiral (Upper Half) Harley D. Nygren. The NOAA Corps is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States and has over 300 commissioned officers and no enlisted or warrant officer ranks. The number of Rear Admiral billets in the NOAA Corps decreased from five to two between 1985 and 2010.

The NOAA Corps today provides a cadre of professionals trained in engineering, earth sciences, oceanography, meteorology, fisheries science, and other related disciplines. Officers operate ships, fly aircraft, manage research projects, conduct diving operations, and serve in staff positions throughout NOAA.

Commissioned officers

The NOAA Corps uses the same commissioned officer ranks as the United States Navy and Coast Guard. While the rank of admiral has been authorized for use by the NOAA Corps, no officer in its history has held that rank.[7] The rank of vice admiral exists but requires congressional approval for re-activation; the only officer to hold that rank was Henry A. Karo in 1965. Current NOAA Corps ranks rise from ensign to rear admiral, pay grades O-1 through O-8 respectively. NOAA Corps officers are appointed via direct commission and receive the same pay as other members of the uniformed services. They cannot hold a dual commission with another service but inter-service transfers are sometimes permitted.

Commissioned officer ranks and abbreviations of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps
Vice Admiral
Rear Admiral Rear Admiral
(Lower Half)
Captain
O-9 O-8 O-7 O-6
VADM RADM RDML CAPT
Commander Lieutenant
Commander
Lieutenant Lieutenant
(Junior Grade)
Ensign
O-5 O-4 O-3 O-2 O-1
CDR LCDR LT LTJG ENS

Uniforms

For formal service uniforms, the NOAA Corps wears the same Service Dress Blues and Service Dress Whites as the Navy, but with NOAA Corps insignia in place of Navy insignia. For daily work uniforms, the NOAA Corps wears the same Operational Dress Uniform (ODU) as the Coast Guard, but with NOAA Corps insignia in place of Coast Guard insignia.

See also

References

  1. a b About NOAA Corps
  2. Survey of the Coast - Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia
  3. New Commander to Direct NOAA’s Aircraft Operations
  4. a b Reorganization Plan No. 4 of 1970, reprinted with amendments in 5 U.S.C. app. at 1557-61. Section 3(d) states: "The Commissioned Officer Corps of the Environmental Science Services Administration shall become the Commissioned Officer Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration."
  5. http://www.noaacorps.noaa.gov/about/about.html NOAA Corps
  6. Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1965, reprinted in 5 U.S.C. app. at 1517
  7. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/37/usc_sec_37_00000201----000-.html 10 USC 201. Pay grades: assignment to; general rules