Message from the Director

Fellow NOAA Corps officers,

Professional development is a concept found in many NOAA Corps documents; it is a continuous process that every NOAA Corps officer should be engaged in throughout their career. Professional development can be accomplished in many ways including formal classroom or online courses, mentorship by a senior leader, or reading a book. Another way it can be accomplished is by visiting museums. I think of visiting museums as an interactive way of "reading" on a subject or "talking" with an important figure in history. Wikipedia states that the purpose of a museum is to "preserve, interpret, and display items of artistic, cultural, or scientific significance for the education of the public".

Research shows that museums: 1) provide an effective way of learning, 2) inspire creativity, 3) increase cultural capital, 4) teach critical thinking, and 5) promote better understanding of other cultures, ideas, and thoughts. Museums can provide knowledge and ideas to professionally develop our operational expertise, educate us in creativity, or teach us about science and history. Other museums open our minds to diverse cultures and/or ideas that expand our horizons geographically and socially. Visiting museums as a tool for professional development allows us to work towards OPM Executive Core Qualifications such as Creativity and Innovation, Strategic Thinking, and Vision. Museum visits can also be used to accomplish NOAA Corps Leadership Development Framework goals like Continuous Learning, Leveraging Diversity, Creativity and Innovation, External Awareness, and Strategic Thinking.

As summer approaches, I always look forward to a program I'm sure many of you recognize but allow me to highlight - the Blue Star Museums. This program is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America which offer free admission to the nation's active duty service members and their families each summer from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekends. The FAQ on their website ( even specifically calls out the NOAA Commissioned Corps!

I hope many of you get the chance to enjoy time with family and friends this summer. Visiting museums can be a fun (and air-conditioned!) way to spend a day while also developing yourself personally and professionally.

CAPT Devin Brakob, NOAA
Director, Commissioned Personnel Center

On the Horizon

13 June 2018 Officer Assignment Board

Approved Resignations, Separations and Retirements

ENS Bethany McAcy 25 May 2018
CAPT Amilynn Adams 01 Jun 2018
CDR Nathan Hancock 01 Jun 2018
LCDR Lyndsey Davis 01 Jun 2018
CAPT Robert Kamphaus 01 AUG 2018
LT Jessica Senzer 10 AUG 2018
LT Adam Ruckman 24 AUG 2018
LT Gavin Chensue 31 AUG 2018
LTJG Kathryn Richwine 05 SEP 2018
LT Kyle Salling 07 SEP 2018
LT Daniel Langis 01 OCT 2018
LCDR David Cowan 26 OCT 2018
LCDR Brian Prestcott 01 Nov 2018

History: Know Our Ships

  • What ship was the first to use steel rope for over-the-side operations?
  • What ship was the first to pioneer deep-ocean anchoring?
  • What ship conducted classic Gulf Stream studies?
  • What ship was the first to accumulate sufficient soundings to produce the first 3-D view of the seafloor?
  • What ship is the only C&GS ship to have its name inscribed on the facade of the Oceanographic Museum at Monaco?

The answer to the above questions is the same in all cases - the Coast and Geodetic Survey Steamer BLAKE, which was the most innovative oceanographic ship of the nineteenth century. It was the subject of "Three Cruises of the BLAKE", a two-volume set by the great oceanographer Alexander Agassiz which is online at and "The Gulf Stream" by John Elliott Pillsbury at For those of you interested in the techniques our professional ancestors used, there is also Charles Sigsbee's "Deep-sea Sounding and Dredging": A description of the methods and appliances used on board the Coast and Geodetic Survey Steamer BLAKE at

Personal Liability Insurance (PLI)

What is Personal Liability Insurance (PLI) ?
Sometimes management officials and supervisors are accused of wrongdoing at some point in their career. When disputes grow into lawsuits, Professional Liability Insurance protects you by covering the legal costs and legal liability for damages that may arise from performing your official duties. Professional Liability Insurance provides coverage for legal fees and legal liabilities resulting from the performance of a covered employee's official duties.

Who is eligible for PLI ?
Only supervisors and management officials, as defined by the Civil Service Reform Act (5 U.S.C. 7103(a)),

Eligible employees may be reimbursed for Personal Liability Insurance premiums. If you're eligible, you may be reimbursed for up to one-half of the total premium costs, not to exceed $150.00 per calendar year.

How do I get reimbursed for Professional Liability Insurance (PLI) Claim ?
Prepare the Professional Liability Insurance Reimbursement Claim Form, CD-138, and make sure to turn it in along with all required documentation to CPC (Attn: Tracey Peterson).

If you've paid the full amount due for your Professional Liability Insurance, you will be reimbursed in a lump-sum payment by submitting proof of payment anytime during the calendar year to CPC.

If you discontinue or cancel your policy before the end of the covered year, you may be reimbursed on a pro-rated basis. Make sure the Professional Liability Insurance Reimbursement Claim Form and all required supporting documentation are submitted to CPC as soon as possible to receive your pro-rated reimbursement for premiums.

**Note: Reimbursement is limited to one-half the cost of Professional Liability Insurance premiums, not to exceed $150.00

Annual FY18 NSI Training Requirements

The FY18 mandatory Annual National Security Information (NSI) Training was launched on Friday, April 13, 2018. Officers due for the training were sent the briefing material between April 13-16, however, not all security clearance holders are due the training within the same Fiscal Year.

A second Broadcast was sent to many security clearance holders as a reminder to complete the training. This message dated May 1, 2018, had a mistakenly broader distribution and hence was received by many officers not currently due for the annual training requirement. If you received the May 1st email, please conduct a quick email search by date to view all mail from April 13-16, 2018 and ensure nothing from "Broadcast, DOC" was overlooked. If you did not receive the training material in April, then you are not due the FY18 training. Thank you all for your diligent attention to potential training requirements.

Blended Retirement System

The Blended Retirement System went live on January 1st. If you have not made your choice yet, remember you only have until the end of the year to make your election.

If you need more information about the BRS, please visit at

If you are ready to make the switch but don't know how where to start, watch this video showing the process on how to opt-in via Direct Access.

Promotion Required Training on CLC

On June 1st, many of the CLC courses required for promotion will be discontinued. CPC and the CLC are working to replace these courses. If you have started your training for the next grade and are close to finishing, we encourage you to complete all the training by June 1st so you can get credit for the time you have already invested. If you have a ways to go, we suggest waiting until the new courses have been posted, on or about July 1st, as some of the discontinued courses do not have an equivalent replacement and you would not receive credit for them.

If you have any questions, please email

Aviation Advisory Board Announcement

An Aviation Advisory Board will convene in late July 2018 to recommend selected officers to the Officer Assignment Board for initial flight training. The NOAA Corps will be selecting officers from the fleet who are interested in transitioning to aviation. Start dates for flight training will be determined based on the needs of the service and rotation dates of the officers selected. Previous flight experience is not required for this opportunity, however, it is highly encouraged and will help applicants determine if aviation is a desirable career path. Candidates must have less than six years of commissioned officer service prior to the start of flight training.

Requirements for the NOAA Corps Aviation Selection Process:

  • Complete all sections of NOAA Form 56-43 (Application for NOAA Corps Aviation Program).
  • Complete a USCG Class I flight physical.
  • Complete the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT).
  • Complete the Test of Basic Aviation Skills (TBAS). This test must be taken after the AFOQT.
  • Retrieve and include your Pilot Candidate Selection Method (PCSM) score. This is a combination of the two tests above and your flight experience.
  • A recommendation for aviation selection must be included in Section 10 (Potential) of the applicant's Officer Evaluation Report (NOAA form 56-6A), or provide a written endorsement from your current supervisor.

Notify LCDR Stephen Kuzirian ( (301) 713-7694, by COB, June 15, 2018, if you are interested in this opportunity. AOC will be responsible for conducting interviews between May and July for all applicants. Completed aviation application packages must arrive at the Commissioned Personnel Center by COB, July 15, 2018.

For questions about NOAA aviation careers and the application process, contact CDR Brad Fritzler ( (863) 500-3902.

For questions specific to medical requirements and USCG Class I flight physicals, contact LCDR Paul Hoffman, USPHS, ( - (813) 828-4116.

From the Assignment Desk: 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 currently vacant; if you are interested please update your preferences and contact the Assignment Coordinator.

From the Assignment Desk: Billet 3100 - Deputy Director, Ocean Exploration

The Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) is looking for an O-5 to be the Deputy Director for Ocean Exploration. OER is within NOAA's Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) and is dedicated to exploring our ocean, reducing the unknowns in deep-ocean areas, and providing the high value environmental intelligence needed by NOAA and the nation to address both current and emerging science and management needs.

This assignment reports directly to the Director, OER and routinely interfaces with NOAA, congressional, inter-agency, international, academic, and private partners and organizations. Duties in the billet span three broad organizational areas of responsibility: 1) Leadership and management of OER by providing direct support and back-up to the Director, OER, 2) NOAA and Customer/Client Responsiveness, and 3) Supervision of Administrative and Finance functions, including oversight of property and IT services.

Please refer to the billet description and reach out to the current officer, CDR William Mowitt, for more information. If interested, please update your assignment preferences and reach out to the Assignment Coordinator. The billet is scheduled to become available in December 2018.