Status Report

AIP FYI #157: Administration S&T Officials Announcements

By SpaceRef Editor
December 14, 2004
Filed under ,

The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Science Policy News
Number 157: December 14, 2004

Coming and Going: Changes in Senior Administration S&T Officials

Three important changes in agency and cabinet heads have been
announced in the last few weeks. Each of the changes affects major
sources of funding for physical sciences research.


Following Senate confirmation, President George Bush officially
appointed Arden L. Bement Jr. to be the director of the National
Science Foundation. Director Bement is the 12th individual to hold
this position. Bement replaced Rita Colwell as the acting director
of NSF on February 22, 2004. He was previously the director of the
National Institute of Standards and Technology. Bement’s six-year
term began on November 24, 2004. For a brief biography of Bement,


Following the announcement by Spencer Abraham that he would retire
as Secretary of Energy (see,
President George Bush nominated Deputy Treasury Secretary Samuel
Bodman to be the new Energy Secretary.

In remarks at the White House on December 10, Bush said: “Sam Bodman
is an experienced executive who has served in my administration as
Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Deputy Secretary of the Treasury.
During his varied and distinguished career in the private sector,
Sam has been a professor at MIT, president of an investment firm, the
chairman and CEO of an industrial company with operations worldwide.
In academics, in business, and in government, Sam Bodman has shown
himself to be a problem solver who knows how to set goals and he
knows how to reach them. He will bring to the Department of Energy a
great talent for management and the precise thinking of an engineer.
I thank him for agreeing to serve once again.”

In a brief statement, Bodman responded, “Mr. President, the job as
Energy Secretary, in many ways, combines all aspects of my life’s
professional work. I started as a teacher in chemical engineering at
MIT, spent 17 years helping create and manage Fidelity Investments,
and then spent 14 years managing Cabot Corporation, a
globally-deployed chemical company. Each of these activities dealt
with the financial markets and the impact of energy and technology
on those markets.” The full text of both Bush’s and Bodman’s
statements can be accessed at

House Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) and Senate
Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Pete V. Domenici (R-NM) both
issued statements supporting the Bodman nomination. Boehlert
stated, “I am extremely pleased with the nomination of Sam Bodman as
Secretary of Energy. We’ve worked closely with Deputy Secretary
Bodman when he was the number two official at the Commerce
Department. He has broad experience in industry, academia and
government, excellent management skills, and boundless intellectual
curiosity. Obviously on the Science Committee we are especially
pleased that the Energy Department will have leadership with great
interest and expertise in the Department’s important science
responsibilities. We look forward to once again being able to work
with Dr. Bodman.”

Bodman will appear before Domenici’s committee for a confirmation
hearing. In his statement, Domenici said, “I visited with Mr.
Bodman this morning. He is articulate and brings a broad and
impressive set of skills to the Department of Energy. His management
experience will be a boon to the department. His financial expertise
will be a tremendous asset in accurately assessing the
economic impact of energy policy and crafting that policy in an
environment of fiscal restraint. I am particularly pleased with his
technical training and outstanding track record at MIT. He
understands the critical role science, research and advanced
technologies will play in meeting our energy challenges.”

Bodman has a B.S. in chemical engineering from Cornell University
and a ScD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was
an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering. His previous
experience included service as the Deputy Secretary of the Department of
Commerce, where he had oversight over NOAA, NIST, and the Patent and
Trademark Office. A brief biography for Bodman can be read at

Bodman has appeared before congressional committees on two rather
controversial issues. In a March 2003 House Science Committee
hearing, Bodman defended the Bush Administration’s decision to
terminate the Advanced Technology Program (see and he appeared at a 2002
Senate Commerce Committee hearing to discuss the same topic (see, also In July 2003, he was one of
several senior officials testifying on the administration’s
“Strategic Plan for the Climate Change Science Program” (see

At the 2002 Commerce Committee hearing, Bodman was asked a number of
times about the Bush Administration’s decision to terminate the
Advanced Technology Program by the program’s strongest defender,
Senator Ernest F. Hollings (D-SC). Despite their great differences
in opinion, Hollings told Bodman, “we are very lucky to have you.”


Yesterday, NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe sent a five-page hand-
written letter to President Bush announcing his resignation. In
this letter, Administrator O’Keefe explained, “It is this very commitment
to family that draws me to conclude that I must depart public
service. The first of three children will begin college next fall. I
owe them the same opportunity my parents provided for me to pursue
higher education without the crushing burden of debt thereafter.
That commitment from them made possible all that I have been able to
pursue in my professional life. I owe my children that same option,
but I can’t do that if I remain in public service.”

O’Keefe has served as NASA Administrator for almost three years,
during which the Administration developed, in response to critics, a
vision for the space agency. Additional information on O’Keefe’s
decision to resign, including a copy of his letter, can be viewed at

Richard M. Jones

Media and Government Relations Division

The American Institute of Physics

(301) 209-3094

SpaceRef staff editor.