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News Article | April 19, 2017
Site: motherboard.vice.com

From the beginning, Trump has pitted agency heads against their departments—Scott Pruitt at the Environmental Protection Agency, Ryan Zinke at the Interior Department, and Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. But subtly, Trump is also diminishing the role of science and technology, simply by not hiring anyone at all. Specifically, the White House has significantly reduced staff at the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), a vibrant policy and research hub that flourished under the Obama administration. Out of roughly 114 former OSTP positions, Trump has left more than 70 unfilled since his inauguration. This is according to a list of current OSTP staff that Motherboard acquired using a Freedom of Information Act request. It was last updated by OSTP record-keeping on March 27, 2017. The new roster, when compared to President Obama's own staff listing, reveals that most of the previous administration's employees there have vacated—though the impetus for their departures is tricky to determine. Trump's inability to fill these positions has insiders worried about his capacity for making informed decisions related to artificial intelligence, STEM education, digital innovation, and other issues. Notably absent are chief technology officer, a host of policy advisors to the Technology & Innovation Division, everyone with "climate" in their title, and executive director for the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. The office's budget and administration division was left untouched. "There's real value in having this office around and functioning. We can point to all sorts of policy reports that we've done over the last few years [and] this stuff isn't stagnant," Dan Hammer, who served as senior policy advisor in the OSTP's Office of the Chief Technology Officer under President Obama, told me. When Congress established the office in 1976 under President Ford, its intent was to strengthen the president's policymaking, as far as science and technology were concerned, with sound science and analysis. During Obama's tenure, OSTP experts prepared America for the realities of artificial intelligence, the technology of future cities, and imminent cybersecurity threats. Still, a modest amount of turnover is expected. Some OSTP staff, such as fellows, are temporarily hired from nonprofits or academia. As of March 1, 2016, OSTP had 117 employees, including 19 fellows. It's not uncommon for these staff to plan for their departures a year before their terms are scheduled to end. Potentially, they were among the first to leave when Trump came into office. There's little doubt, however, that Trump has his own plans for science and technology leadership. His son-in-law, senior advisor Jared Kushner, will spearhead the new White House Office of American Innovation, whose mission is similar to that of the OSTP's Technology & Innovation Division. Trump also hired Michael Kratsios, former chief of staff at Thiel Capital, to be his deputy chief technology officer. The political neophyte and Peter Thiel confidant will also serve as deputy assistant to the president for technology initiatives. Another OSTP staffer, Stephanie Xu, was recently hired under the title of "Confidential Assistant." It's unclear what this role will entail. Xu isn't listed in the FOIA documents that Motherboard received, but we were able to confirm her employment there. According to her LinkedIn page, Xu formerly worked as a deputy finance director for the Republican National Committee. The president hasn't indicated that he intends to fill the vacant positions or create new ones. Historically, this is somewhat unprecedented. Under Obama, OSTP roles were allegedly staffed out within months. But Trump has been slow to hire across the board, which some attribute to "an overworked White House personnel office." White House sources told the New York Times that OSTP staff are no longer privy to daily briefings. In an interview with Recode, one person described the office, which is hardly ever consulted anymore, as "disempowered." We also learned that existing staff have absorbed much of their former colleagues' excess workload. Based on the information we received from our FOIA request, below are the current and former OSTP employees, along with their titles. Chief of Staff Cristin Dorgelo Senior Advisor to the Director Jeff Smith Assistant Director, Federal Research and Development Kei Koizumi Assistant Director, Legislative Affairs Donna Pignatelli Communications Director and Senior Policy Analyst Kristin Lee Senior Communications Advisor Chris Vaccaro Senior Policy Advisor, Public Engagement Fae Jencks Policy Advisor to the Chief of Staff Erin Szulman Executive Assistant Billie McGrane U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith Deputy Chief Technology Officer Ed Felten Deputy Chief Technology Officer Corinna Zarek Deputy Chief Technology Officer Alexander Macgillivray Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Data Policy and Chief Data Scientist DJ Patil Senior Policy Advisor Evan Cooke Senior Policy Advisor Renee Gregory Senior Policy Advisor Dan Hammer Senior Policy Advisor Lynn Overmann Senior Policy Advisor Jason Schultz Senior Policy Advisor, Digital Government Emily Tavoulareas Senior Policy Advisor Aden Van Noppen Senior Policy Advisor Laura Weidman-Powers Senior Policy Advisor, Innovation and IP Nancy Weiss Senior Policy Advisor, Health and Health IT Claudia Williams Policy Advisor Read Holman Policy Advisor Kristen Honey Policy Advisor Kelly Jin Policy Advisor Terah Lyons Special Assistant and Policy Advisor Matthew McAllister Special Assistant and Policy Advisor Suhas Subramanyam Associate Director Vacant Principal Assistant Director for Environment & Energy Tamara Dickinson Assistant Director, Clean Energy and Transportation Austin Brown Assistant Director, Climate Adaptation and Ecosystems Laura Petes Assistant Director, Climate Resilience and Information Amy Luers Assistant Director, Climate Resilience and Land Use Rich Pouyat Assistant Director, Climate Science Donald Wuebbles Assistant Director, Environmental Health Bruce Rodan Executive Director, Arctic Executive Steering Committee Mark Brzezinski Senior Policy Advisor Fabien Laurier Senior Policy Advisor, Energy Elaine Ulrich Executive Secretary and Policy Advisor, Arctic Executive Steering Commitee Renee Crain Wagner National Ocean Council Fellow Matthew Lurie Associate Director Vacant Principal Assistant Director for National Security & International Affairs Steve Fetter Assistant Director, Cybersecurity Strategy Gregory Shannon Assistant Director, Global Security Matt Heavner Assistant Director, International Science and Technology Mahlet Mesfin Senior Policy Advisor, National Security, Space, and Aviation Fred Kennedy Associate Director Vacant Deputy Director for Technology and Innovation Tom Kalil Assistant Director, Behavioral Science Maya Shankar Assistant Director, Biological Innovation Robbie Barbero Assistant Director, Education and Telecommunications Innovation Aadil Ginwala Assistant Director, Entrepreneurship Douglas Rand Assistant Director, Innovation for Growth Jennifer Erickson Assistant Director, Learning and Innovation Kumar Garg Assistant Director, Open Innovation Christofer Nelson Senior Policy Advisor, Advanced Manufacturing/Fellow Megan Brewster Senior Policy Advisor, Small Business Innovation Nate Segal Senior Policy Advisor, Tech Inclusion Ruthe Farmer Senior Policy Advisor Ayo Babajide Senior Policy Advisor Beadsie Woo Senior Advisor, Innovation Policy Daniel Correa Senior Advisor, Making Andrew Coy Policy Advisor Erik Martin Policy Advisor Lusine Galoyan PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL OF ADVISORS ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY Assistant Director, Cybersecurity Tim Polk Assistant Director, Research Infrastructure Tof Carim Policy Analyst for Medical and Forensic Sciences Eleanor Celeste Assistant Director, Intelligence Allison Curran Natalie Senior Policy Advisor Natalie Evans Harris Acting Division Lead Chris Fall Assistant Director, Polar Sciences Martin Jeffries Assistant Director, Civil and Commercial Space Benjamin Roberts Staff Director for Energy and Environment Robert Strickling USGEO Program Director Timothy Stryker Assistant Director, Broadening Participation Wanda Ward Acting Division Lead Lloyd Whitman SINSI Fellow Becky Kreutter Senior Policy Advisor, Counterterrorism and WMD Maureen Kraner Acting Division Lead Meredith Drosback Program Support Specialist Jennifer Michael Executive Director, NSTC Afua Bruce Executive Director, USGCRP Mike Kuperberg Senior Policy Advisor for Biological Threat Defense JP Chretien Director, NITRD Bryan Biegel Special Assistant and Policy Advisor Alexander Kamrud Assistant Director, Biosecurity and Emerging Technologies Gerald Epstein White House Leadership Development Fellow Kenneth Wright Acting Division Lead Deerin Babb-Brott Assistant Director, Natural Disaster Resilience Jaqueline Meszaros Director, NNCO Lisa Friedersdorf Policy Analyst Steven Baldovsky Acting Legislative Advisor Linda Bunn Mary Administrative Security Specialist Mary Burgess-Gregg Administrative Specialist Donna Coleman IT Specialist George Cravaritis Administrative Operations Officer Dawn Epperson Budget Analyst Penny Guy Administrative Specialist Daw Mielke Operations Manager Stacy Murphy Administrative Officer Diana Zunker Deputy Assistant to the President for Technology Initiatives and Deputy US CTO Michael Kratsios Deputy General Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor for Oceans and the Environment Jennifer Lee General Counsel Rachael Leonard Acting Director Ted Wackler Assistant Director, Special Programs Mark Leblanc Confidential Assistant Stephanie Xu Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that Deputy Chief Technology Officer Corinna Zarek left her position at the Office of Science and Technology Policy on March 30, 2017, after this list was provided to us. Zarek's departure was known by then, according to Alex Howard, Deputy Director at the Sunlight Foundation.


Strawn G.,NITRD
IT Professional | Year: 2014

Claude Shannon helped create the digital IT revolution by contributing to both digital computing and digital communications. Learn about Shannon's contributions to digital circuit theory and information theory and the connection he initiated between information and physics. © 1999-2012 IEEE.


Strawn G.,NITRD
IT Professional | Year: 2014

The Arpanet, which was the beginning of the Internet, was born out of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which was created in 1958. The Arpanet was built on 56,000 bits per second telephone lines. A young MIT computer scientist named Larry Roberts settled on a network design that connected these lines to small computers, called interface message processors (IMPs), which were directly attached to each host computer on the network. The novel technical approach that Roberts chose for the Arpanet was called packet switching. Bob Kahn and Vint Cerf, another scientists at MIT created a virtual network out of software that was above the hardware networks it wove together. In the mid-1980s, the National Science Foundation (NSF) undertook efforts to create a small number of supercomputer centers for use by university researchers. Although conceived as a small network, the NSFnet eventually interconnected more than 2,000 universities and colleges and a number of high tech companies.


Strawn G.,NITRD
IT Professional | Year: 2014

Some algorithms make for 'better' programs than others - that is, programs that execute in less time or require less memory. How can we quantify differences to determine which algorithms are better? No one has done more to answer this question than Don Knuth, who has been called the 'father of the analysis of algorithms.' © 1999-2012 IEEE.


Strawn G.,NITRD | Strawn C.,NITRD
IT Professional | Year: 2015

This sketch of Grace Murray Hopper, the first famous female computer scientist, focuses on her early programming days, creation of the first compiler, leadership in creating the Cobol language, and latter-day speaking career. It also highlights the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference, which, since 1994, has brought together an increasing number of women (and now men) to address the disappointing gender imbalance in IT professions. © 1999-2012 IEEE.


Strawn G.,NITRD
IT Professional | Year: 2014

The installment highlights the masterminds who created the Web, enabled its popularization via the Web browser, and greatly extended its value by enabling Web search. © 2014 IEEE.


Strawn G.,NITRD
IT Professional | Year: 2014

This installment profiles John Atanasoff, John Mauchly, and John von Neumann - the 'fathers of the electronic digital computer.' © 2014 IEEE.

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