Director's Message


It feels pretty good to be 100 years old! I don't feel a day over 29. Last Saturday, approximately 350 of our shipmates gathered in the Atrium of the Ronald Reagan building to celebrate the NOAA Corps. I wish all of you could have been there to enjoy the celebration and revel in the pride of a century of dedicated service and accomplishment serving NOAA and the Nation. During the gala, Mr. Ben Friedman, our Deputy Under Secretary for Operations performing the duties of Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, delivered particularly inspiring remarks regarding the contributions and importance of the NOAA Corps. He has graciously agreed to allow me to republish his remarks (from his notes, with light editing based on my recollection) in this installment of the Cyberflash:

Thank you Admiral Score. Admiral Score will be retiring later this year and I want to thank him for his service to the NOAA Corps, NOAA, and the Nation. Thank you Admiral White [RADM Jonathan White, USN, Retired served as Emcee for the Dinner] for hosting our celebration tonight. Thank you to our distinguished guests in attendance tonight. Thank you to the BOTC classes and NOAA Corps officers. And a special thank you to the wage mariners, civilian aviation crews, and shore side professionals who can't be here tonight. We couldn't do our mission without you.

I remember the first time I saw a NOAA ship. I had been at NOAA about a year and had just been promoted to Deputy General Counsel. I went to Hawaii to visit attorneys out there and see the work they were doing, and the NOAA Corps was kind enough to give me a tour of the Sette.

As I walked up to the pier, I saw that big white ship, with the big NOAA logo on it, and I understood that NOAA's mission was real. Up until that point, it was more theoretical. Remember that I spent 16 years at the Department of Justice before coming to NOAA as a federal prosecutor - NOAA was a big career change for me, and I didn't know a lot about it before coming. I started as head of the General Counsel enforcement section, where I worked on fisheries and marine mammal cases - but it wasn't until I saw that big white ship that I understood, this is real. This is where NOAA's mission happens and for the first time I really understood what NOAA's mission was really about.

We go to sea, we do marine and atmospheric research, we chart the coasts, we protect the fisheries, we do emergency response - we do cool and amazing work that has a huge impact on the nation and the world, and it was all represented by that big white ship.

As I toured through the ship I learned a second great truth – the NOAA Corps is NOAA. It is what NOAA is about. It is at the core of NOAA's identity. We could not do our mission without it. No other organization within NOAA represents the "One NOAA" concept more than the NOAA Corps. No other organization handles the scope and breadth of NOAA's work. The NOAA Corps is a unifying force within NOAA. NOAA, of course, has five line offices with officers serving in all of them. Including:

OAR - 14 officers serve in positions from Antarctica to American Samoa, support marine and atmospheric research. In fact, the NOAA Corps produced the head of OAR and Acting Chief Scientist, Craig McClean, Captain, NOAA Corps, retired.

NWS - 10 officers working in aviation weather, environmental modeling, space weather prediction, storm surge prediction. Current and former NOAA Corps Officers serve in senior leadership positions within NWS.

NMFS - 32 officers serve in fisheries science centers and regional offices from Antarctica to Anchorage at nearly every level; providing marine operations, unmanned systems support, and scientific expertise.

NESDIS - 8 officers serving to support the environmental model center, the satellite oceanography and climatology division, and the search and rescue satellite operations program.

And of course NOS - 48 officers, including a flag officer, providing hydrographic survey operations, analysis and technical support, coordinating marine and dive operations for the National Marine Sanctuaries, and emergency response support.

OMAO - 230 billets where NOAA Corps officers operate the largest fleet of survey ships, aircraft, and unmanned systems in the world.

The NOAA Corps is NOAA - there is no separating them. It is its heart, its soul, and where it goes, NOAA goes.

It is the reason why when we were going to move our planes to a new Aircraft Operations Center, there was fight over who would get them in the short term (which continues for the long term), and we had huge interest and support from the Hill, which quickly provided a reprogramming to fund it.

It is why, when we had our recent Hurricane Awareness Tour, so many people showed up that they had to be turned away.

It is the reason why, in budget discussions, when as hard as it was, all the lines spoke as one voice to save funding for the ships.

It is why NOAA Corps Officers are sought out by the Hill, and are our liaisons to DOD and the Coast Guard, and are represented in my Office and the Administrator's Office

The NOAA Corps is NOAA. And I could not be more proud to be working with the NOAA Corps in my current position, honoring them for their 100 years of service to the Nation, and watching as they embark on the next 100 years. Thank you.

Happy 100th Birthday Shipmates! Keep the celebration going!

Semper serviens,

CAPT Amilynn E. Adams, NOAA
Director, CPC

On the Horizon

02 June 2017 AOC Ribbon Cutting
23 July 2017 BOTC 130 commences
31 July - 4 Aug 2017 Marine Ops - CO/XO Immersion Week

Approved Resignations, Separations and Retirements

CDR Brian Parker 01 Aug 2017
CDR Peter Siegel 01 Aug 2017
LTJG Sean Luis 18 Aug 2017
LT Jasmine Cousins 01 Sep 2017
LT Michael Marino 01 Sep 2017
LT Andrea Proie 15 Sep 2017
CDR Matthew Wingate 01 Oct 2017
RADM David Score 01 Nov 2017
LCDR Denise Gruccio 01 Nov 2017
LCDR Brian Prestcott 01 Nov 2017

Message from the Acting Deputy Director

My acting time at CPC is soon coming to an end, and even though we made great strides, I wish we had accomplished more. The staff was very supportive (thank you) and I am glad I had a chance to come back to CPC to help where I could. While at CPC, we put in place several internal policies to facilitate better customer service. We also completed numerous policy changes and recently published Chapter 12. Chapters 4, 8, 10, and 2 should be cleared and published within the next thirty days. We also commissioned a class of bright new ensigns that are the future of the organization. Unfortunately, there was an incident at the training center and one of their classmates will not make it to the Fleet. I am proud to say we have enforced our zero tolerance policy related to a hostile workplace and harassment and that individual is a civilian once again. We also held the Annual Review for the first time in many years and we held our annual promotion boards to include a Flag Selection Board. We are diligently working to get those results approved.

CPC still has a long way to go to be the world-class service center I know it can be, but that relies on several factors, and one of them is you taking the hard jobs at CPC and contributing to make the organization better. It would also help if we were funded to the levels needed to fully staff the organization. We are staffed to be reactive and not proactive which results in a lower level of customer service than you deserve. The Staff recognizes this and wants change and maybe in a few years with the proper support we can get there. In the meantime, feel free to call and talk to the staff at CPC, not only when something goes wrong, but also when something goes right. It helps to hear it all -not just the negative.

I wish the staff at CPC the best and everyone in the field…Be safe out there conducting the critical observations to support NOAA and the Nation.

History: Some advice from Captain Hardy, USC&GS

In 1930, Captain Francis H. Hardy (1881-1966), USC&GS, then Commanding Officer of the ship SURVEYOR, chose to include in his season's report a section on DISCIPLINE. In reality, this was a small essay on maintaining an effective working relationship with the crew that is as true today as it was nearly ninety years ago. Captain Hardy understood his business as he had eleven sea tours under his belt at this time, including three as executive officer and six as commanding officer. He served two junior officer tours as well and had been raised on a ship in a maritime family. The following are excerpts from Captain Hardy's Season's Report covering the year 1930:

"….The same fundamental principles of discipline that my Father taught me, however, hold good. He maintained that no officer could be efficient unless he knew his business; that he could not control men unless he could control himself. The profane, boastful officer was, in his opinion, almost without exception a poor one. He stressed the point that an officer must know his crew. For the latter reason he said no man who had not served in the forecastle could know the sailors and their type of mind and could never expect to be an exceptional officer. For this reason he told me in 1908, when I was to join the EXPLORER, that I was serving under a big handicap; that whatever I did, not to think of the sailors as ignorant fools, and that an officer who referred to them as such or to any junior officer under him in the same way reflected discredit on himself more than the men. He said that the sailors he served with before the mast in the clipper ship days were a hard lot, but many of them had a lot of good, hard, common sense and as a class were exceptional in their judgment of human nature, especially of the strength and weakness of their officers. The same holds true today with the exception that as a result of the policy of universal education in this country, a Coast Survey officer can know his men much better than the former type which followed the sea.

"In my opinion if a Commanding Officer can build up among his crew a pride in the vessel, he will find it comparatively easy to have a smart ship and an efficient survey party....

NOAA Corps 100th Senate Resolution

On Monday, May 22nd, Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) sponsored SRes. 175 - A resolution recognizing the 100th anniversary of the commissioned officer corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration along with co-sponsors Senator John Thune (R-SD), Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), and Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS). A copy of the resolution text is here.

From the (Sea) Desk of the Chief, Officer Career Management Division (OCMD)

Greetings from near the middle of the Gulf of Mexico (26 30'N, 94 00'W give or take a few degrees). I am currently out augmenting on my old ship Nancy Foster and must say I am enjoying my time. It is always good to return and see familiar faces.

Last week, Admiral Score announced the Board's findings of this year's Annual Review in a Director's Message. As the new Chief of OCMD, I was given the opportunity to sit in and observe both the Annual Review as well as the recent Promotion Boards. I would like to share a few of the findings and things I observed throughout the two weeks as I noted a few themes that stood out.

  • OERs are missing, OERs are late. It is the officer's responsibility to ensure OERs are submitted on time. With that said, I received multiple e-mails from people in the rating chain that indicated they were at fault and it shouldn't be held against the rated officer. We put Junior Officers in a very difficult position trying to manage up when it comes to OERs; yes, they are ultimately responsible for ensuring it is completed on time, but we don't need to make their jobs any harder. There will always be a million and one other things that need to be done, but we need to remember our people. If your OER is late though, don't think this lets you off the hook; and if you were late getting your input in, that's on you. If you are having difficulty getting your OER submitted on time please contact OCMD and we will assist you in this process.
  • Bios are optional, but do yourself a favor and keep it updated. If you are going to include a picture, think twice about that selfie. I have been asked, "what is the best format?" One of the most interesting things I noted was that different boards preferred different formats. One day I was told the narrative was preferred, the very next day I was told bullets were preferred. Sorry, the jury is still out, but remember to keep it current, and it doesn't hurt to make sure the old one has been removed.
  • Assignments, or more specifically diversity of assignments. The boards really looked at people's assignment history and made note of how diverse they were and what responsibilities they had. When looking for your next assignment, ask yourself a few questions. What line offices have you worked for? Have you worked in different regions of the country? Ship drivers, have you sailed on both coasts? Have you had supervisory responsibilities? Have you managed a budget? I noted that the more diverse your answers to these questions are, the better off you looked on paper, provided the performance was there.
  • Training- Have you taken a training class lately? We all have to take the promotion classes to reach the next level; those classes don't make you stand out. What have you done to make yourself unique? Training money can be hard to come by sometimes, but CLC is free. Each and every board commented on a lack of training, but I didn't once hear, "that person has only taken training on CLC." A side note, the boards also notice if you only take training a month prior to the promotion boards…

If these come across as negative, don't worry. As you saw in the Annual Review summary, things are good. Most of the findings of the Board identified people who were seen as excelling over an extended period of time; 64 out of all the officers reviewed were given Letters of Commendation. Bravo Zulu to you. Overall, I came away from both weeks with a good feeling about where the Corps is and more importantly where the Corps is headed.

As mentioned, I am currently out augmenting, but if you have any questions I can be reached at (now) or at 301-713-7748 (when I return in early June).

Take care, and to those out flying and sailing, stay safe.
CDR Jeff Shoup

PCS-ing Officers with K-12 Dependents – Be Advised of MIC3

Recently the Ms. Cherise Imai, the Executive Director of the Military Interstate Children's Compact Commission (MIC3) briefed CPC staff regarding the mission of this new organization. The goal of the Compact is to replace the widely varying policies affecting transitioning military students. The Compact leverages consistency; it uses a comprehensive approach that provides a consistent policy in every school district in every state, U.S. Territory, District of Columbia, and DOD school. The Compact addresses key educational transition issues encountered by military families including enrollment, placement, attendance, eligibility and graduation.

Children of active duty members of the uniformed services, National Guard and Reserve on active duty orders, commissioned officers of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Unites States Public Health Service (USPHS), and members or veterans who are medically discharged or retired for one year are eligible for assistance under the Compact. The MIC3 staff are ready, willing, and able to provide guidance and relieve some of the school district stressors associated with your next PCS. Learn more about the school district transfer issues which they cover here.

Washington Post Capitol Weather Gang Article

The Washington Post ran an article on the occasion of our 100th Anniversary. Read it here.

Blended Retirement System

The Uniformed Services retirement plan is changing. This is yet ANOTHER reminder that officers with less than 12 years of service by December 31, 2017 are eligible to voluntarily OPT-IN to the new Blended Retirement System (BRS.) THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT DECISION AND WILL REQUIRE CAREFUL CONSIDERATION OF NUMEROUS PERSONAL GOALS, FINANCIAL SITUATIONS, CAREER PLANS, AND TOLERANCE FOR RISK. The decision is yours to make, there is no right or wrong answer as it depends on the long-term life goals of the individual and/or their dependents. To make an informed (and irrevocable) decision eligible officers are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to seek professional advice. Trained financial counselors are available to assist you at the nearest military installation. If you are in the eligible population you will be able to record your decision starting January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018. The enrollment process for the NOAA Corps is still being developed, but we are working toward using the process being implemented by the USCG. Early indications are that we will be using Direct Access to make and record your enrollment decisions. Go to blended retirement for more information on BRS.

Are you separating from service?

If so, you need to consider your options for life insurance coverage. While it may not be the first thing on your mind amidst the many other changes in your life during the transition to civilian life, it's important that you act now! Why? Your SGLI coverage ends 120 days from separation. To continue coverage, you must apply for Veterans' Group Life Insurance within 1 year and 120 days of service. Your ability to convert SGLI to VGLI ends after this time!

Particularly if you have known medical conditions, you want to apply for VGLI within 240 days after separation; during this time, you will not have to answer any health questions to obtain VGLI. With most private insurance, you have to undergo a health review to obtain coverage. Think you know which medical conditions may impact your ability to obtain life insurance? Check out a list of conditions that may make it difficult to obtain life insurance. If you have any of these conditions or other health issues, apply for VGLI within 240 days of separation. Waiting to apply may result in the inability to obtain life insurance protection!

For any questions, please email LT Laura Gibson at

Want to add the NOAA Corps Centennial Graphic to your email signature block?

  • Go to
  • Right-click on image and select "copy" (no need to click on the "Download Image" button)
  • Open Gmail and go to "settings"
  • Under "general" scroll down to "signature"
  • place cursor under name, address and such and right click to "paste" image
  • click on image again and select "medium" to scale
  • scroll to bottom of page and click on "save changes"

Enjoy and congratulations on "celebrating a century of service"!

From the Assignment Desk: Hydrographic Training Opportunity

#7005- NOS Deputy Chief of Staff

NOAA's National Ocean Service is seeking an officer to take on the responsibilities of Deputy Chief of Staff. The NOS Deputy Chief of Staff is stationed in the Office of the NOS Assistant Administrator (AA) in Silver Spring, MD.

NOS Deputy Chief of Staff is a mid-level leadership position with a diverse portfolio. The incumbent interacts regularly with NOS Program directors and deputy directors, provides expertise and coordination on OMAO Fleet operations, manages the operational budget, reviews controlled correspondence for the AA, oversees environmental compliance efforts for the line office and performs the duties of Contracting Officer's Representative (COR) on several NOS contracts.

A successful tour in the NOS AA office will prepare the officer for an Executive Officer tour in the OMAO fleet.

Additional information can be found by reading the Billet Description located on the CPC website. This assignment is expected to become vacant March 2018. Officers in the rank of Lieutenant who have completed a successful Operations Officer tour in the OMAO fleet are preferred. A background in contracting and a FAC-COR, level II certification are highly desired but not required. Training can be provided before reporting.

Officers interested in this assignment should update their preferences and contact the current incumbent, LCDR Madeleine Adler, and the NOAA Corps Assignment Coordinator within the next week.

Billet 2040, Restoration Center Executive Officer

NOAA Fisheries' Habitat Restoration Division is looking for an O-4 to take on new challenges as the Restoration Center's Executive Officer (RCXO), stationed at NOAA Fisheries headquarters in Silver Spring. The Center specializes in restoring marine life habitats and fish passage by conducting projects primarily through community-based partnerships or through oversight of litigated damage remediation by responsible parties.

The RCXO will spend 50% of their time on tasks associated with the long-term restoration of coastal and open ocean marine life impacted by the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill. The RCXO serves as the executive secretariat for the DWH Deputy Advisory Working Group, which consists of Deputy Chiefs of multiple NMFS and NOS offices in order to guide NOAA's role as the lead agency for this monumental multi-decade restoration effort.

The other half of the RCXO's time encompasses day-to-day implementation and execution of the administrative and financial operations of the Restoration Center and its regional locations. The RCXO will gain or build upon experience with budgeting, contractual activities, resource and procedural efficiency, interoffice coordination, strategic planning and prioritization, and project management.

A successful tour as Executive Officer at sea, especially with Fisheries or NOS experience, will prepare the officer well for this assignment. Please refer to the billet description for this recently repurposed billet. This assignment is expected to be vacant in November 2017. If interested please update your preferences or contact the Assignment Coordinator.