Craig McLean, performing the duties of Chief Scientist

Craig N. McLean

Acting Chief Scientist; Assistant Administrator for Oceanic and Atmospheric Research

Craig N. McLean currently serves as the Acting Chief Scientist providing direction for NOAA’s science and technology priorities. He also serves as the Assistant Administrator for Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (NOAA Research).

In his role at NOAA Research, he is responsible for overseeing, directing and implementing NOAA’s research enterprise including a network of research laboratories and the execution of NOAA programs including the Climate Program, National Sea Grant, Ocean Exploration, to name a few. Among a number of formal international engagements in science and technology, Mr. McLean serves as the U.S. Representative to the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, and as the Co-chair of the U.S. European Union Marine Working Group.

Mr. McLean has previously served in NOAA as Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator of the National Ocean Service, was the founding Director of OAR’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research and served in uniform for nearly 25 years in NOAA's Commissioned Corps, attaining the rank of Captain. Mr. McLean served aboard hydrographic, oceanographic, and fisheries research ships and was the first commanding officer of the NOAA Ship Gordon Gunter. He led NOAA's innovation and planning for the Smithsonian Institution's Sant Ocean Hall, and achieved a National Ocean Action Plan goal of securing a permanent, dedicated ship for the National Ocean Exploration Program, the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer

Mr. McLean is also an attorney and has practiced marine resource law for NOAA. He has been awarded the Department of Commerce Silver and Bronze Medals, the NOAA Corps Commendation Medal, and Special Achievement Medal. He is a Fellow of the Explorers Club and the Marine Technology Society, and a past president and chairman of the Sea-Space Symposium.