TOP 150 SCIENCE AND TECHNology ROLES IN GOVERNMENT

The response to our recent open call for contributions helped identify 150 critical S&T roles in the Federal Government and why they matter for the new administration. In continuing our crowdsourced effort, the Day One Project is excited to share our updated list.

We Still Need Your Help  

Following our initial open call for submissions of key S&T roles, we invite the community to continue to support the development of our top 150 list by sharing your feedback on the existing roles, and offering additional positions that we might have missed.

Background: Top 150 S&T Roles

This initial list features key science and technology roles from across the Federal Government. Included are career and noncareer appointments, high-level leadership, and overlooked positions—all designed to ensure we capture and elevate the importance of each individual and role as we look towards the next administration.

OUR TOP 150 FEDERAL S&T ROLES

 

Please share your feedback here.

Department of Agriculture
National Science Foundation

Department of Agriculture

Secretary of Agriculture


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Secretary leads USDA’s policy development and execution for food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, and nutrition. This role is responsible for overseeing the American farming industry, helping farmers with price support subsidies and leading food inspection efforts. As a member of the Cabinet, the Secretary serves as main advisor to the President on issues related to agriculture and food.




Undersecretary for Research, Education, and Economics


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation This position is the top scientist at the USDA, overseeing the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the Economic Research Service and more. ARS conducts research supporting the USDA's mission, while NIFA funds agricultural research at universities. This position is critical to all research conducted and funded by the USDA on food security and sustainability.




Administrator, Agricultural Research Service


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is USDA’s principal in-house research agency and has a portfolio of research and technology transfer programs that deliver scientific solutions to many of the nation’s highest priority agricultural challenges. The ARS Director oversees a $1.3B budget, 1,800 scientists and 90 laboratories throughout the world. The Director provides national leadership, vision, guidance, and direction for the Agricultural Research Service.




Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment is the principal advisor to the Secretary of Agriculture on policy to promote conservation and sustainable use of the country’s natural resources. The person in this role is responsible for all day-to-day operations of the U.S. Forest Service, and shepherding the improvement of forest conditions across the National Forest System and all the nation’s forests.





 

Department of Commerce

Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs oversees the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance, Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, and Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. Whoever sits in this position plays a central role in achieving consensus over coordinating emerging technologies’ export controls and START negotiations.




Assistant Secretary of State for Economic & Business Affairs


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Assistant Secretary oversees the Bureau of Economic & Business Affairs (EB). EB has historically handled biotechnology issues related to agriculture. EB is well-positioned for leading proactive engagement on setting international technical standards. EB plays an important role in advancing the global digital economy towards a more open, interoperable, and secure internet.




Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Science and Technology Adviser oversees the Department’s primary body for independent science and technology advising. This position anticipates science, technology, and innovation research, development, and discoveries emerging from the high-tech and private sector. They build S&T capacity within the State Department and they engage the S&T enterprise on behalf of the State Department. International S&T collaboration heavily depends on this office.




Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Assistant Secretary oversees the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES). They lead international leadership on oceans, environment, science, space, and health. The Assistant Secretary represents the Department of State at meetings with commissions and various other groups from nations across the globe, working toward the creation of partnerships, initiatives, agreements, and treaties that will enable sustainable development and economic growth. The Assistant Secretary should seek to maximize OES’ impact and ensure that OES does not duplicate work from other S&T offices within the State Department.




Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs oversees the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance, Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, and Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. These offices have a deep bench of scientific experience. These offices focus on security issues and thus have tight coordination with the Department of Defense, especially on emerging technology issues. Whoever sits in this position plays a central role in achieving consensus over coordinating emerging technologies’ export controls and START negotiations.




Ambassador at Large and U.S. Global Aids Coordinator


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Coordinator leads and manages the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), with a sizable budget through which a large amount of the Department’s public health engagement is done. The State Department’s engagement with other countries' health systems has often been funded through PEPFAR, and thus this could be an increasingly important office in the COVID response and recovery.




Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Assistant Secretary oversees the Bureau of Energy Resources (ENR), which is responsible for international energy security. Historically, ENR has handled nonrenewables such as oil and coal, but the office could be a powerful force for promoting sustainable energy practices and the Administration’s climate agenda worldwide if it were to include clean energy options into its portfolio.




Coordinator for Cyber Issues


Noncareer Appointment The Coordinator for Cyber Issues leads diplomatic efforts with foreign counterparts on cyber issues and sets the strategy for international cyber policy. They serve as the State Department’s liaison to the White House and agencies on cyber-related affairs, ensuring that U.S. foreign policy positions on cross-cutting cyber issues are synchronized across the Federal Government. After being vacant during the majority of the Trump Administration, this position might be reimagined in the recently created Bureau of Cyberspace Security and Emerging Technologies (CSET).





 
 

Department of Defense

Director


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The NSF Director works with groups and entities within and beyond NSF to shape directions for fundamental research in US science and engineering. This requires advocating for funding; ensuring the recruitment, development, and coordination of persons qualified to advance the enterprise; and fostering communications with Congressional committees and units in the Executive Branch. Additionally, the Director leads and convenes intergovernmental science research bodies (e.g., National Science and Technology Council), as well as international ones. The Director plays an especially important role in setting the direction for science and engineering research and development, which the White House will promote.




Assistant Director, Computer and Information Science and Engineering


Noncareer Appointment The Assistant Director of CISE (CISE AD) leads NSF’s efforts in tackling technological challenges, including scaling big data, advancing artificial intelligence, and making quantum computing a reality. The CISE AD also spends a considerable amount of time in interagency collaboration, traditionally co-chairing the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), as well as the NSTC subcommittees on Machine Learning and AI (NSTC/MLAI) and Open Science (NSTC/SOC). Since a majority of the 10 research areas prioritized in NSF’s Endless Frontier agenda are within CISE, the CISE AD position will be particularly important in the next administration.




Assistant Director, Engineering


Noncareer Appointment The Assistant Director for Engineering accelerates collaborations across industry, business, and academia to foster US innovation. The Assistant Director has to balance the numerous disciplines of engineering (civil, mechanical, biomedical, environmental, and more) that are not necessarily cohesive. The Assistant Director needs to be someone who can effectively partner with the diversity of engineering communities and stakeholders to facilitate innovation.




Assistant Director, Biological Sciences


Noncareer Appointment The Assistant Director for Biological Sciences oversees human, financial, and other resources required for advancing fundamental research in the biological sciences, which entails support primarily within the non-medical arena. To enhance coordination with the work underway in related agencies, this AD engages in collaborations with the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Energy—as well as public and private bodies in other nations.




Assistant Director, Education and Human Resources


Career Appointment The Assistant Director for Education and Human Resources attends to research, policy and practices across the educational spectrum—from pre-college through graduate education. The discipline-based Directorates sponsor education initiatives within their own spheres, with EHR leading activities that transcend those spheres.




Assistant Director, Mathematical and Physical Sciences


Noncareer Appointment The Assistant Director for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) manages a budget of approximately $1.5B—by far the biggest budget of the directorates—and a portfolio consisting of a broad range of the mathematical and physical sciences. The division needs to closely interact with the Department of Energy in particular, where 50-60% of federally-funded physics research occurs. There are close ties to NASA as well. The AD not only promotes inquiry in the physical sciences but attends to the infrastructure that the fundamental work might require, as most infrastructure resides under MPS (LIGO, CERN, VLA, etc.). Lastly, the AD has to have a high international presence because of all the international collaboration involved with the aforementioned research facilities.




Chief Officer for Research Facilities


Career Appointment The Chief Officer for Research Facilities (CORF) advises the NSF director on all aspects of the agency's support for major and mid-scale research facilities throughout their lifecycle, such as NEON, NSO, and LIGO. Research infrastructure plays a critical role in science and engineering and the CORF is uniquely positioned to command oversight of the development, construction, and operations of major multiuser research facilities across NSF—from concept to construction and operation. Lastly, the position requires responsiveness to the scientific community and accountability to the public and its elected representatives.




Chief of Research Security, Strategy and Policy


Career Appointment The Research Security Chief is tasked with providing the NSF director with policy advice on all aspects of research security strategy. They will also lead NSF’s efforts to develop and implement strategies to improve research security and the agency’s coordination with other federal agencies and the White House. Lastly, they lead efforts to address threats to openness and transparency of research and its results and will substantively engage with the research community, intelligence agencies, oversight committees and law enforcement—this critically important position is one of the few within NSF that have TS/SCI clearance. It’s important for the Research Security Chief to bring academic perspective to national security policy (e.g., immigration).




Deputy Director


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Deputy Director manages the internal affairs of the agency. This involves reviewing organizational arrangements with the Director and senior staff, to assess their responsiveness to contemporary conditions. The Deputy Director conducts periodic evaluations of the Assistant Directors and the heads of units within the Office of the Director. The Director maintains connections with the Office of the Inspector General, to safeguard the resources the nation entrusts to the Foundation. This Senate-approved position has not been filled since 2013, and the functions of this position have been undertaken by the Chief Operating Officer.




Head, Office of Legislative & Public Affairs


Career Appointment The COVID-19 pandemic has proved that science communication to the public, legislators, and other stakeholders are more crucial than ever. The Head of the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs will have to focus on moving beyond the NSF press release and undertake a more proactive stance to educate and communicate to the public and Congress about NSF’s existence and the different types of work that it supports, in order to achieve better outcomes and restore faith in science. On the Hill, greater awareness of NSF’s critical role would improve communication with congressional staffers and increase representation on the Hill. Lastly, the person in this role should have a diverse communication strategy that reflects the diversity of audiences that NSF engages with. The Head of the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs can influence not only what takes place within NSF but also the outcomes more generally for the fields on which it centers. An understanding of political and public perspectives derived from research the agency has funded is available to the Office Head.




Head, Office of International Science and Engineering


Career Appointment The Head of OISE coordinates the agency’s international strategy and manages internationally-focused programs that further U.S. strategic research interests. They facilitate and expand international science cooperation between U.S. experts and their foreign counterparts across the globe, leading NSF’s efforts to transform the way that it identifies and funds cooperative research. The expansion of science and engineering around the globe makes it essential that NSF attend systematically to International Science and Engineering.





 
 
 

Department of Health and Human Services

Director


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The NSF Director works with groups and entities within and beyond NSF to shape directions for fundamental research in US science and engineering. This requires advocating for funding; ensuring the recruitment, development, and coordination of persons qualified to advance the enterprise; and fostering communications with Congressional committees and units in the Executive Branch. Additionally, the Director leads and convenes intergovernmental science research bodies (e.g., National Science and Technology Council), as well as international ones. The Director plays an especially important role in setting the direction for science and engineering research and development, which the White House will promote.




Assistant Director, Computer and Information Science and Engineering


Noncareer Appointment The Assistant Director of CISE (CISE AD) leads NSF’s efforts in tackling technological challenges, including scaling big data, advancing artificial intelligence, and making quantum computing a reality. The CISE AD also spends a considerable amount of time in interagency collaboration, traditionally co-chairing the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), as well as the NSTC subcommittees on Machine Learning and AI (NSTC/MLAI) and Open Science (NSTC/SOC). Since a majority of the 10 research areas prioritized in NSF’s Endless Frontier agenda are within CISE, the CISE AD position will be particularly important in the next administration.




Assistant Director, Engineering


Noncareer Appointment The Assistant Director for Engineering accelerates collaborations across industry, business, and academia to foster US innovation. The Assistant Director has to balance the numerous disciplines of engineering (civil, mechanical, biomedical, environmental, and more) that are not necessarily cohesive. The Assistant Director needs to be someone who can effectively partner with the diversity of engineering communities and stakeholders to facilitate innovation.




Assistant Director, Biological Sciences


Noncareer Appointment The Assistant Director for Biological Sciences oversees human, financial, and other resources required for advancing fundamental research in the biological sciences, which entails support primarily within the non-medical arena. To enhance coordination with the work underway in related agencies, this AD engages in collaborations with the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Energy—as well as public and private bodies in other nations.




Assistant Director, Education and Human Resources


Career Appointment The Assistant Director for Education and Human Resources attends to research, policy and practices across the educational spectrum—from pre-college through graduate education. The discipline-based Directorates sponsor education initiatives within their own spheres, with EHR leading activities that transcend those spheres.




Assistant Director, Mathematical and Physical Sciences


Noncareer Appointment The Assistant Director for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) manages a budget of approximately $1.5B—by far the biggest budget of the directorates—and a portfolio consisting of a broad range of the mathematical and physical sciences. The division needs to closely interact with the Department of Energy in particular, where 50-60% of federally-funded physics research occurs. There are close ties to NASA as well. The AD not only promotes inquiry in the physical sciences but attends to the infrastructure that the fundamental work might require, as most infrastructure resides under MPS (LIGO, CERN, VLA, etc.). Lastly, the AD has to have a high international presence because of all the international collaboration involved with the aforementioned research facilities.




Chief Officer for Research Facilities


Career Appointment The Chief Officer for Research Facilities (CORF) advises the NSF director on all aspects of the agency's support for major and mid-scale research facilities throughout their lifecycle, such as NEON, NSO, and LIGO. Research infrastructure plays a critical role in science and engineering and the CORF is uniquely positioned to command oversight of the development, construction, and operations of major multiuser research facilities across NSF—from concept to construction and operation. Lastly, the position requires responsiveness to the scientific community and accountability to the public and its elected representatives.




Chief of Research Security, Strategy and Policy


Career Appointment The Research Security Chief is tasked with providing the NSF director with policy advice on all aspects of research security strategy. They will also lead NSF’s efforts to develop and implement strategies to improve research security and the agency’s coordination with other federal agencies and the White House. Lastly, they lead efforts to address threats to openness and transparency of research and its results and will substantively engage with the research community, intelligence agencies, oversight committees and law enforcement—this critically important position is one of the few within NSF that have TS/SCI clearance. It’s important for the Research Security Chief to bring academic perspective to national security policy (e.g., immigration).




Deputy Director


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Deputy Director manages the internal affairs of the agency. This involves reviewing organizational arrangements with the Director and senior staff, to assess their responsiveness to contemporary conditions. The Deputy Director conducts periodic evaluations of the Assistant Directors and the heads of units within the Office of the Director. The Director maintains connections with the Office of the Inspector General, to safeguard the resources the nation entrusts to the Foundation. This Senate-approved position has not been filled since 2013, and the functions of this position have been undertaken by the Chief Operating Officer.




Head, Office of Legislative & Public Affairs


Career Appointment The COVID-19 pandemic has proved that science communication to the public, legislators, and other stakeholders are more crucial than ever. The Head of the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs will have to focus on moving beyond the NSF press release and undertake a more proactive stance to educate and communicate to the public and Congress about NSF’s existence and the different types of work that it supports, in order to achieve better outcomes and restore faith in science. On the Hill, greater awareness of NSF’s critical role would improve communication with congressional staffers and increase representation on the Hill. Lastly, the person in this role should have a diverse communication strategy that reflects the diversity of audiences that NSF engages with. The Head of the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs can influence not only what takes place within NSF but also the outcomes more generally for the fields on which it centers. An understanding of political and public perspectives derived from research the agency has funded is available to the Office Head.




Head, Office of International Science and Engineering


Career Appointment The Head of OISE coordinates the agency’s international strategy and manages internationally-focused programs that further U.S. strategic research interests. They facilitate and expand international science cooperation between U.S. experts and their foreign counterparts across the globe, leading NSF’s efforts to transform the way that it identifies and funds cooperative research. The expansion of science and engineering around the globe makes it essential that NSF attend systematically to International Science and Engineering.





Department of Homeland Security

Director


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The NSF Director works with groups and entities within and beyond NSF to shape directions for fundamental research in US science and engineering. This requires advocating for funding; ensuring the recruitment, development, and coordination of persons qualified to advance the enterprise; and fostering communications with Congressional committees and units in the Executive Branch. Additionally, the Director leads and convenes intergovernmental science research bodies (e.g., National Science and Technology Council), as well as international ones. The Director plays an especially important role in setting the direction for science and engineering research and development, which the White House will promote.




Assistant Director, Computer and Information Science and Engineering


Noncareer Appointment The Assistant Director of CISE (CISE AD) leads NSF’s efforts in tackling technological challenges, including scaling big data, advancing artificial intelligence, and making quantum computing a reality. The CISE AD also spends a considerable amount of time in interagency collaboration, traditionally co-chairing the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), as well as the NSTC subcommittees on Machine Learning and AI (NSTC/MLAI) and Open Science (NSTC/SOC). Since a majority of the 10 research areas prioritized in NSF’s Endless Frontier agenda are within CISE, the CISE AD position will be particularly important in the next administration.




Assistant Director, Engineering


Noncareer Appointment The Assistant Director for Engineering accelerates collaborations across industry, business, and academia to foster US innovation. The Assistant Director has to balance the numerous disciplines of engineering (civil, mechanical, biomedical, environmental, and more) that are not necessarily cohesive. The Assistant Director needs to be someone who can effectively partner with the diversity of engineering communities and stakeholders to facilitate innovation.




Assistant Director, Biological Sciences


Noncareer Appointment The Assistant Director for Biological Sciences oversees human, financial, and other resources required for advancing fundamental research in the biological sciences, which entails support primarily within the non-medical arena. To enhance coordination with the work underway in related agencies, this AD engages in collaborations with the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Energy—as well as public and private bodies in other nations.




Assistant Director, Education and Human Resources


Career Appointment The Assistant Director for Education and Human Resources attends to research, policy and practices across the educational spectrum—from pre-college through graduate education. The discipline-based Directorates sponsor education initiatives within their own spheres, with EHR leading activities that transcend those spheres.




Assistant Director, Mathematical and Physical Sciences


Noncareer Appointment The Assistant Director for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) manages a budget of approximately $1.5B—by far the biggest budget of the directorates—and a portfolio consisting of a broad range of the mathematical and physical sciences. The division needs to closely interact with the Department of Energy in particular, where 50-60% of federally-funded physics research occurs. There are close ties to NASA as well. The AD not only promotes inquiry in the physical sciences but attends to the infrastructure that the fundamental work might require, as most infrastructure resides under MPS (LIGO, CERN, VLA, etc.). Lastly, the AD has to have a high international presence because of all the international collaboration involved with the aforementioned research facilities.




Chief Officer for Research Facilities


Career Appointment The Chief Officer for Research Facilities (CORF) advises the NSF director on all aspects of the agency's support for major and mid-scale research facilities throughout their lifecycle, such as NEON, NSO, and LIGO. Research infrastructure plays a critical role in science and engineering and the CORF is uniquely positioned to command oversight of the development, construction, and operations of major multiuser research facilities across NSF—from concept to construction and operation. Lastly, the position requires responsiveness to the scientific community and accountability to the public and its elected representatives.




Chief of Research Security, Strategy and Policy


Career Appointment The Research Security Chief is tasked with providing the NSF director with policy advice on all aspects of research security strategy. They will also lead NSF’s efforts to develop and implement strategies to improve research security and the agency’s coordination with other federal agencies and the White House. Lastly, they lead efforts to address threats to openness and transparency of research and its results and will substantively engage with the research community, intelligence agencies, oversight committees and law enforcement—this critically important position is one of the few within NSF that have TS/SCI clearance. It’s important for the Research Security Chief to bring academic perspective to national security policy (e.g., immigration).




Deputy Director


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Deputy Director manages the internal affairs of the agency. This involves reviewing organizational arrangements with the Director and senior staff, to assess their responsiveness to contemporary conditions. The Deputy Director conducts periodic evaluations of the Assistant Directors and the heads of units within the Office of the Director. The Director maintains connections with the Office of the Inspector General, to safeguard the resources the nation entrusts to the Foundation. This Senate-approved position has not been filled since 2013, and the functions of this position have been undertaken by the Chief Operating Officer.




Head, Office of Legislative & Public Affairs


Career Appointment The COVID-19 pandemic has proved that science communication to the public, legislators, and other stakeholders are more crucial than ever. The Head of the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs will have to focus on moving beyond the NSF press release and undertake a more proactive stance to educate and communicate to the public and Congress about NSF’s existence and the different types of work that it supports, in order to achieve better outcomes and restore faith in science. On the Hill, greater awareness of NSF’s critical role would improve communication with congressional staffers and increase representation on the Hill. Lastly, the person in this role should have a diverse communication strategy that reflects the diversity of audiences that NSF engages with. The Head of the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs can influence not only what takes place within NSF but also the outcomes more generally for the fields on which it centers. An understanding of political and public perspectives derived from research the agency has funded is available to the Office Head.




Head, Office of International Science and Engineering


Career Appointment The Head of OISE coordinates the agency’s international strategy and manages internationally-focused programs that further U.S. strategic research interests. They facilitate and expand international science cooperation between U.S. experts and their foreign counterparts across the globe, leading NSF’s efforts to transform the way that it identifies and funds cooperative research. The expansion of science and engineering around the globe makes it essential that NSF attend systematically to International Science and Engineering.





 
 

Department of Interior

Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs oversees the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance, Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, and Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. Whoever sits in this position plays a central role in achieving consensus over coordinating emerging technologies’ export controls and START negotiations.




Assistant Secretary of State for Economic & Business Affairs


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Assistant Secretary oversees the Bureau of Economic & Business Affairs (EB). EB has historically handled biotechnology issues related to agriculture. EB is well-positioned for leading proactive engagement on setting international technical standards. EB plays an important role in advancing the global digital economy towards a more open, interoperable, and secure internet.




Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Science and Technology Adviser oversees the Department’s primary body for independent science and technology advising. This position anticipates science, technology, and innovation research, development, and discoveries emerging from the high-tech and private sector. They build S&T capacity within the State Department and they engage the S&T enterprise on behalf of the State Department. International S&T collaboration heavily depends on this office.




Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Assistant Secretary oversees the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES). They lead international leadership on oceans, environment, science, space, and health. The Assistant Secretary represents the Department of State at meetings with commissions and various other groups from nations across the globe, working toward the creation of partnerships, initiatives, agreements, and treaties that will enable sustainable development and economic growth. The Assistant Secretary should seek to maximize OES’ impact and ensure that OES does not duplicate work from other S&T offices within the State Department.




Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs oversees the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance, Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, and Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. These offices have a deep bench of scientific experience. These offices focus on security issues and thus have tight coordination with the Department of Defense, especially on emerging technology issues. Whoever sits in this position plays a central role in achieving consensus over coordinating emerging technologies’ export controls and START negotiations.




Ambassador at Large and U.S. Global Aids Coordinator


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Coordinator leads and manages the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), with a sizable budget through which a large amount of the Department’s public health engagement is done. The State Department’s engagement with other countries' health systems has often been funded through PEPFAR, and thus this could be an increasingly important office in the COVID response and recovery.




Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Assistant Secretary oversees the Bureau of Energy Resources (ENR), which is responsible for international energy security. Historically, ENR has handled nonrenewables such as oil and coal, but the office could be a powerful force for promoting sustainable energy practices and the Administration’s climate agenda worldwide if it were to include clean energy options into its portfolio.




Coordinator for Cyber Issues


Noncareer Appointment The Coordinator for Cyber Issues leads diplomatic efforts with foreign counterparts on cyber issues and sets the strategy for international cyber policy. They serve as the State Department’s liaison to the White House and agencies on cyber-related affairs, ensuring that U.S. foreign policy positions on cross-cutting cyber issues are synchronized across the Federal Government. After being vacant during the majority of the Trump Administration, this position might be reimagined in the recently created Bureau of Cyberspace Security and Emerging Technologies (CSET).





Department of Justice

Secretary of Agriculture


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Secretary leads USDA’s policy development and execution for food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, and nutrition. This role is responsible for overseeing the American farming industry, helping farmers with price support subsidies and leading food inspection efforts. As a member of the Cabinet, the Secretary serves as main advisor to the President on issues related to agriculture and food.




Undersecretary for Research, Education, and Economics


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation This position is the top scientist at the USDA, overseeing the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the Economic Research Service and more. ARS conducts research supporting the USDA's mission, while NIFA funds agricultural research at universities. This position is critical to all research conducted and funded by the USDA on food security and sustainability.




Administrator, Agricultural Research Service


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is USDA’s principal in-house research agency and has a portfolio of research and technology transfer programs that deliver scientific solutions to many of the nation’s highest priority agricultural challenges. The ARS Director oversees a $1.3B budget, 1,800 scientists and 90 laboratories throughout the world. The Director provides national leadership, vision, guidance, and direction for the Agricultural Research Service.




Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment is the principal advisor to the Secretary of Agriculture on policy to promote conservation and sustainable use of the country’s natural resources. The person in this role is responsible for all day-to-day operations of the U.S. Forest Service, and shepherding the improvement of forest conditions across the National Forest System and all the nation’s forests.





 
 

Department of Labor

Director


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The NSF Director works with groups and entities within and beyond NSF to shape directions for fundamental research in US science and engineering. This requires advocating for funding; ensuring the recruitment, development, and coordination of persons qualified to advance the enterprise; and fostering communications with Congressional committees and units in the Executive Branch. Additionally, the Director leads and convenes intergovernmental science research bodies (e.g., National Science and Technology Council), as well as international ones. The Director plays an especially important role in setting the direction for science and engineering research and development, which the White House will promote.




Assistant Director, Computer and Information Science and Engineering


Noncareer Appointment The Assistant Director of CISE (CISE AD) leads NSF’s efforts in tackling technological challenges, including scaling big data, advancing artificial intelligence, and making quantum computing a reality. The CISE AD also spends a considerable amount of time in interagency collaboration, traditionally co-chairing the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), as well as the NSTC subcommittees on Machine Learning and AI (NSTC/MLAI) and Open Science (NSTC/SOC). Since a majority of the 10 research areas prioritized in NSF’s Endless Frontier agenda are within CISE, the CISE AD position will be particularly important in the next administration.




Assistant Director, Engineering


Noncareer Appointment The Assistant Director for Engineering accelerates collaborations across industry, business, and academia to foster US innovation. The Assistant Director has to balance the numerous disciplines of engineering (civil, mechanical, biomedical, environmental, and more) that are not necessarily cohesive. The Assistant Director needs to be someone who can effectively partner with the diversity of engineering communities and stakeholders to facilitate innovation.




Assistant Director, Biological Sciences


Noncareer Appointment The Assistant Director for Biological Sciences oversees human, financial, and other resources required for advancing fundamental research in the biological sciences, which entails support primarily within the non-medical arena. To enhance coordination with the work underway in related agencies, this AD engages in collaborations with the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Energy—as well as public and private bodies in other nations.




Assistant Director, Education and Human Resources


Career Appointment The Assistant Director for Education and Human Resources attends to research, policy and practices across the educational spectrum—from pre-college through graduate education. The discipline-based Directorates sponsor education initiatives within their own spheres, with EHR leading activities that transcend those spheres.




Assistant Director, Mathematical and Physical Sciences


Noncareer Appointment The Assistant Director for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) manages a budget of approximately $1.5B—by far the biggest budget of the directorates—and a portfolio consisting of a broad range of the mathematical and physical sciences. The division needs to closely interact with the Department of Energy in particular, where 50-60% of federally-funded physics research occurs. There are close ties to NASA as well. The AD not only promotes inquiry in the physical sciences but attends to the infrastructure that the fundamental work might require, as most infrastructure resides under MPS (LIGO, CERN, VLA, etc.). Lastly, the AD has to have a high international presence because of all the international collaboration involved with the aforementioned research facilities.




Chief Officer for Research Facilities


Career Appointment The Chief Officer for Research Facilities (CORF) advises the NSF director on all aspects of the agency's support for major and mid-scale research facilities throughout their lifecycle, such as NEON, NSO, and LIGO. Research infrastructure plays a critical role in science and engineering and the CORF is uniquely positioned to command oversight of the development, construction, and operations of major multiuser research facilities across NSF—from concept to construction and operation. Lastly, the position requires responsiveness to the scientific community and accountability to the public and its elected representatives.




Chief of Research Security, Strategy and Policy


Career Appointment The Research Security Chief is tasked with providing the NSF director with policy advice on all aspects of research security strategy. They will also lead NSF’s efforts to develop and implement strategies to improve research security and the agency’s coordination with other federal agencies and the White House. Lastly, they lead efforts to address threats to openness and transparency of research and its results and will substantively engage with the research community, intelligence agencies, oversight committees and law enforcement—this critically important position is one of the few within NSF that have TS/SCI clearance. It’s important for the Research Security Chief to bring academic perspective to national security policy (e.g., immigration).




Deputy Director


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Deputy Director manages the internal affairs of the agency. This involves reviewing organizational arrangements with the Director and senior staff, to assess their responsiveness to contemporary conditions. The Deputy Director conducts periodic evaluations of the Assistant Directors and the heads of units within the Office of the Director. The Director maintains connections with the Office of the Inspector General, to safeguard the resources the nation entrusts to the Foundation. This Senate-approved position has not been filled since 2013, and the functions of this position have been undertaken by the Chief Operating Officer.




Head, Office of Legislative & Public Affairs


Career Appointment The COVID-19 pandemic has proved that science communication to the public, legislators, and other stakeholders are more crucial than ever. The Head of the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs will have to focus on moving beyond the NSF press release and undertake a more proactive stance to educate and communicate to the public and Congress about NSF’s existence and the different types of work that it supports, in order to achieve better outcomes and restore faith in science. On the Hill, greater awareness of NSF’s critical role would improve communication with congressional staffers and increase representation on the Hill. Lastly, the person in this role should have a diverse communication strategy that reflects the diversity of audiences that NSF engages with. The Head of the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs can influence not only what takes place within NSF but also the outcomes more generally for the fields on which it centers. An understanding of political and public perspectives derived from research the agency has funded is available to the Office Head.




Head, Office of International Science and Engineering


Career Appointment The Head of OISE coordinates the agency’s international strategy and manages internationally-focused programs that further U.S. strategic research interests. They facilitate and expand international science cooperation between U.S. experts and their foreign counterparts across the globe, leading NSF’s efforts to transform the way that it identifies and funds cooperative research. The expansion of science and engineering around the globe makes it essential that NSF attend systematically to International Science and Engineering.





Department of State

Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs oversees the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance, Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, and Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. Whoever sits in this position plays a central role in achieving consensus over coordinating emerging technologies’ export controls and START negotiations.




Assistant Secretary of State for Economic & Business Affairs


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Assistant Secretary oversees the Bureau of Economic & Business Affairs (EB). EB has historically handled biotechnology issues related to agriculture. EB is well-positioned for leading proactive engagement on setting international technical standards. EB plays an important role in advancing the global digital economy towards a more open, interoperable, and secure internet.




Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Science and Technology Adviser oversees the Department’s primary body for independent science and technology advising. This position anticipates science, technology, and innovation research, development, and discoveries emerging from the high-tech and private sector. They build S&T capacity within the State Department and they engage the S&T enterprise on behalf of the State Department. International S&T collaboration heavily depends on this office.




Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Assistant Secretary oversees the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES). They lead international leadership on oceans, environment, science, space, and health. The Assistant Secretary represents the Department of State at meetings with commissions and various other groups from nations across the globe, working toward the creation of partnerships, initiatives, agreements, and treaties that will enable sustainable development and economic growth. The Assistant Secretary should seek to maximize OES’ impact and ensure that OES does not duplicate work from other S&T offices within the State Department.




Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs oversees the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance, Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, and Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. These offices have a deep bench of scientific experience. These offices focus on security issues and thus have tight coordination with the Department of Defense, especially on emerging technology issues. Whoever sits in this position plays a central role in achieving consensus over coordinating emerging technologies’ export controls and START negotiations.




Ambassador at Large and U.S. Global Aids Coordinator


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Coordinator leads and manages the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), with a sizable budget through which a large amount of the Department’s public health engagement is done. The State Department’s engagement with other countries' health systems has often been funded through PEPFAR, and thus this could be an increasingly important office in the COVID response and recovery.




Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Assistant Secretary oversees the Bureau of Energy Resources (ENR), which is responsible for international energy security. Historically, ENR has handled nonrenewables such as oil and coal, but the office could be a powerful force for promoting sustainable energy practices and the Administration’s climate agenda worldwide if it were to include clean energy options into its portfolio.




Coordinator for Cyber Issues


Noncareer Appointment The Coordinator for Cyber Issues leads diplomatic efforts with foreign counterparts on cyber issues and sets the strategy for international cyber policy. They serve as the State Department’s liaison to the White House and agencies on cyber-related affairs, ensuring that U.S. foreign policy positions on cross-cutting cyber issues are synchronized across the Federal Government. After being vacant during the majority of the Trump Administration, this position might be reimagined in the recently created Bureau of Cyberspace Security and Emerging Technologies (CSET).





 
 

Department of Transportation

Director


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The NSF Director works with groups and entities within and beyond NSF to shape directions for fundamental research in US science and engineering. This requires advocating for funding; ensuring the recruitment, development, and coordination of persons qualified to advance the enterprise; and fostering communications with Congressional committees and units in the Executive Branch. Additionally, the Director leads and convenes intergovernmental science research bodies (e.g., National Science and Technology Council), as well as international ones. The Director plays an especially important role in setting the direction for science and engineering research and development, which the White House will promote.




Assistant Director, Computer and Information Science and Engineering


Noncareer Appointment The Assistant Director of CISE (CISE AD) leads NSF’s efforts in tackling technological challenges, including scaling big data, advancing artificial intelligence, and making quantum computing a reality. The CISE AD also spends a considerable amount of time in interagency collaboration, traditionally co-chairing the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), as well as the NSTC subcommittees on Machine Learning and AI (NSTC/MLAI) and Open Science (NSTC/SOC). Since a majority of the 10 research areas prioritized in NSF’s Endless Frontier agenda are within CISE, the CISE AD position will be particularly important in the next administration.




Assistant Director, Engineering


Noncareer Appointment The Assistant Director for Engineering accelerates collaborations across industry, business, and academia to foster US innovation. The Assistant Director has to balance the numerous disciplines of engineering (civil, mechanical, biomedical, environmental, and more) that are not necessarily cohesive. The Assistant Director needs to be someone who can effectively partner with the diversity of engineering communities and stakeholders to facilitate innovation.




Assistant Director, Biological Sciences


Noncareer Appointment The Assistant Director for Biological Sciences oversees human, financial, and other resources required for advancing fundamental research in the biological sciences, which entails support primarily within the non-medical arena. To enhance coordination with the work underway in related agencies, this AD engages in collaborations with the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Energy—as well as public and private bodies in other nations.




Assistant Director, Education and Human Resources


Career Appointment The Assistant Director for Education and Human Resources attends to research, policy and practices across the educational spectrum—from pre-college through graduate education. The discipline-based Directorates sponsor education initiatives within their own spheres, with EHR leading activities that transcend those spheres.




Assistant Director, Mathematical and Physical Sciences


Noncareer Appointment The Assistant Director for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) manages a budget of approximately $1.5B—by far the biggest budget of the directorates—and a portfolio consisting of a broad range of the mathematical and physical sciences. The division needs to closely interact with the Department of Energy in particular, where 50-60% of federally-funded physics research occurs. There are close ties to NASA as well. The AD not only promotes inquiry in the physical sciences but attends to the infrastructure that the fundamental work might require, as most infrastructure resides under MPS (LIGO, CERN, VLA, etc.). Lastly, the AD has to have a high international presence because of all the international collaboration involved with the aforementioned research facilities.




Chief Officer for Research Facilities


Career Appointment The Chief Officer for Research Facilities (CORF) advises the NSF director on all aspects of the agency's support for major and mid-scale research facilities throughout their lifecycle, such as NEON, NSO, and LIGO. Research infrastructure plays a critical role in science and engineering and the CORF is uniquely positioned to command oversight of the development, construction, and operations of major multiuser research facilities across NSF—from concept to construction and operation. Lastly, the position requires responsiveness to the scientific community and accountability to the public and its elected representatives.




Chief of Research Security, Strategy and Policy


Career Appointment The Research Security Chief is tasked with providing the NSF director with policy advice on all aspects of research security strategy. They will also lead NSF’s efforts to develop and implement strategies to improve research security and the agency’s coordination with other federal agencies and the White House. Lastly, they lead efforts to address threats to openness and transparency of research and its results and will substantively engage with the research community, intelligence agencies, oversight committees and law enforcement—this critically important position is one of the few within NSF that have TS/SCI clearance. It’s important for the Research Security Chief to bring academic perspective to national security policy (e.g., immigration).




Deputy Director


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Deputy Director manages the internal affairs of the agency. This involves reviewing organizational arrangements with the Director and senior staff, to assess their responsiveness to contemporary conditions. The Deputy Director conducts periodic evaluations of the Assistant Directors and the heads of units within the Office of the Director. The Director maintains connections with the Office of the Inspector General, to safeguard the resources the nation entrusts to the Foundation. This Senate-approved position has not been filled since 2013, and the functions of this position have been undertaken by the Chief Operating Officer.




Head, Office of Legislative & Public Affairs


Career Appointment The COVID-19 pandemic has proved that science communication to the public, legislators, and other stakeholders are more crucial than ever. The Head of the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs will have to focus on moving beyond the NSF press release and undertake a more proactive stance to educate and communicate to the public and Congress about NSF’s existence and the different types of work that it supports, in order to achieve better outcomes and restore faith in science. On the Hill, greater awareness of NSF’s critical role would improve communication with congressional staffers and increase representation on the Hill. Lastly, the person in this role should have a diverse communication strategy that reflects the diversity of audiences that NSF engages with. The Head of the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs can influence not only what takes place within NSF but also the outcomes more generally for the fields on which it centers. An understanding of political and public perspectives derived from research the agency has funded is available to the Office Head.




Head, Office of International Science and Engineering


Career Appointment The Head of OISE coordinates the agency’s international strategy and manages internationally-focused programs that further U.S. strategic research interests. They facilitate and expand international science cooperation between U.S. experts and their foreign counterparts across the globe, leading NSF’s efforts to transform the way that it identifies and funds cooperative research. The expansion of science and engineering around the globe makes it essential that NSF attend systematically to International Science and Engineering.





Environmental Protection Agency

Secretary of Agriculture


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Secretary leads USDA’s policy development and execution for food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, and nutrition. This role is responsible for overseeing the American farming industry, helping farmers with price support subsidies and leading food inspection efforts. As a member of the Cabinet, the Secretary serves as main advisor to the President on issues related to agriculture and food.




Undersecretary for Research, Education, and Economics


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation This position is the top scientist at the USDA, overseeing the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the Economic Research Service and more. ARS conducts research supporting the USDA's mission, while NIFA funds agricultural research at universities. This position is critical to all research conducted and funded by the USDA on food security and sustainability.




Administrator, Agricultural Research Service


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is USDA’s principal in-house research agency and has a portfolio of research and technology transfer programs that deliver scientific solutions to many of the nation’s highest priority agricultural challenges. The ARS Director oversees a $1.3B budget, 1,800 scientists and 90 laboratories throughout the world. The Director provides national leadership, vision, guidance, and direction for the Agricultural Research Service.




Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment is the principal advisor to the Secretary of Agriculture on policy to promote conservation and sustainable use of the country’s natural resources. The person in this role is responsible for all day-to-day operations of the U.S. Forest Service, and shepherding the improvement of forest conditions across the National Forest System and all the nation’s forests.





 
 

Federal Communications Commission

Secretary of Agriculture


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Secretary leads USDA’s policy development and execution for food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, and nutrition. This role is responsible for overseeing the American farming industry, helping farmers with price support subsidies and leading food inspection efforts. As a member of the Cabinet, the Secretary serves as main advisor to the President on issues related to agriculture and food.




Undersecretary for Research, Education, and Economics


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation This position is the top scientist at the USDA, overseeing the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the Economic Research Service and more. ARS conducts research supporting the USDA's mission, while NIFA funds agricultural research at universities. This position is critical to all research conducted and funded by the USDA on food security and sustainability.




Administrator, Agricultural Research Service


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is USDA’s principal in-house research agency and has a portfolio of research and technology transfer programs that deliver scientific solutions to many of the nation’s highest priority agricultural challenges. The ARS Director oversees a $1.3B budget, 1,800 scientists and 90 laboratories throughout the world. The Director provides national leadership, vision, guidance, and direction for the Agricultural Research Service.




Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment is the principal advisor to the Secretary of Agriculture on policy to promote conservation and sustainable use of the country’s natural resources. The person in this role is responsible for all day-to-day operations of the U.S. Forest Service, and shepherding the improvement of forest conditions across the National Forest System and all the nation’s forests.





Federal Trade Commission

Director


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The NSF Director works with groups and entities within and beyond NSF to shape directions for fundamental research in US science and engineering. This requires advocating for funding; ensuring the recruitment, development, and coordination of persons qualified to advance the enterprise; and fostering communications with Congressional committees and units in the Executive Branch. Additionally, the Director leads and convenes intergovernmental science research bodies (e.g., National Science and Technology Council), as well as international ones. The Director plays an especially important role in setting the direction for science and engineering research and development, which the White House will promote.




Assistant Director, Computer and Information Science and Engineering


Noncareer Appointment The Assistant Director of CISE (CISE AD) leads NSF’s efforts in tackling technological challenges, including scaling big data, advancing artificial intelligence, and making quantum computing a reality. The CISE AD also spends a considerable amount of time in interagency collaboration, traditionally co-chairing the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), as well as the NSTC subcommittees on Machine Learning and AI (NSTC/MLAI) and Open Science (NSTC/SOC). Since a majority of the 10 research areas prioritized in NSF’s Endless Frontier agenda are within CISE, the CISE AD position will be particularly important in the next administration.




Assistant Director, Engineering


Noncareer Appointment The Assistant Director for Engineering accelerates collaborations across industry, business, and academia to foster US innovation. The Assistant Director has to balance the numerous disciplines of engineering (civil, mechanical, biomedical, environmental, and more) that are not necessarily cohesive. The Assistant Director needs to be someone who can effectively partner with the diversity of engineering communities and stakeholders to facilitate innovation.




Assistant Director, Biological Sciences


Noncareer Appointment The Assistant Director for Biological Sciences oversees human, financial, and other resources required for advancing fundamental research in the biological sciences, which entails support primarily within the non-medical arena. To enhance coordination with the work underway in related agencies, this AD engages in collaborations with the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Energy—as well as public and private bodies in other nations.




Assistant Director, Education and Human Resources


Career Appointment The Assistant Director for Education and Human Resources attends to research, policy and practices across the educational spectrum—from pre-college through graduate education. The discipline-based Directorates sponsor education initiatives within their own spheres, with EHR leading activities that transcend those spheres.




Assistant Director, Mathematical and Physical Sciences


Noncareer Appointment The Assistant Director for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) manages a budget of approximately $1.5B—by far the biggest budget of the directorates—and a portfolio consisting of a broad range of the mathematical and physical sciences. The division needs to closely interact with the Department of Energy in particular, where 50-60% of federally-funded physics research occurs. There are close ties to NASA as well. The AD not only promotes inquiry in the physical sciences but attends to the infrastructure that the fundamental work might require, as most infrastructure resides under MPS (LIGO, CERN, VLA, etc.). Lastly, the AD has to have a high international presence because of all the international collaboration involved with the aforementioned research facilities.




Chief Officer for Research Facilities


Career Appointment The Chief Officer for Research Facilities (CORF) advises the NSF director on all aspects of the agency's support for major and mid-scale research facilities throughout their lifecycle, such as NEON, NSO, and LIGO. Research infrastructure plays a critical role in science and engineering and the CORF is uniquely positioned to command oversight of the development, construction, and operations of major multiuser research facilities across NSF—from concept to construction and operation. Lastly, the position requires responsiveness to the scientific community and accountability to the public and its elected representatives.




Chief of Research Security, Strategy and Policy


Career Appointment The Research Security Chief is tasked with providing the NSF director with policy advice on all aspects of research security strategy. They will also lead NSF’s efforts to develop and implement strategies to improve research security and the agency’s coordination with other federal agencies and the White House. Lastly, they lead efforts to address threats to openness and transparency of research and its results and will substantively engage with the research community, intelligence agencies, oversight committees and law enforcement—this critically important position is one of the few within NSF that have TS/SCI clearance. It’s important for the Research Security Chief to bring academic perspective to national security policy (e.g., immigration).




Deputy Director


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Deputy Director manages the internal affairs of the agency. This involves reviewing organizational arrangements with the Director and senior staff, to assess their responsiveness to contemporary conditions. The Deputy Director conducts periodic evaluations of the Assistant Directors and the heads of units within the Office of the Director. The Director maintains connections with the Office of the Inspector General, to safeguard the resources the nation entrusts to the Foundation. This Senate-approved position has not been filled since 2013, and the functions of this position have been undertaken by the Chief Operating Officer.




Head, Office of Legislative & Public Affairs


Career Appointment The COVID-19 pandemic has proved that science communication to the public, legislators, and other stakeholders are more crucial than ever. The Head of the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs will have to focus on moving beyond the NSF press release and undertake a more proactive stance to educate and communicate to the public and Congress about NSF’s existence and the different types of work that it supports, in order to achieve better outcomes and restore faith in science. On the Hill, greater awareness of NSF’s critical role would improve communication with congressional staffers and increase representation on the Hill. Lastly, the person in this role should have a diverse communication strategy that reflects the diversity of audiences that NSF engages with. The Head of the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs can influence not only what takes place within NSF but also the outcomes more generally for the fields on which it centers. An understanding of political and public perspectives derived from research the agency has funded is available to the Office Head.




Head, Office of International Science and Engineering


Career Appointment The Head of OISE coordinates the agency’s international strategy and manages internationally-focused programs that further U.S. strategic research interests. They facilitate and expand international science cooperation between U.S. experts and their foreign counterparts across the globe, leading NSF’s efforts to transform the way that it identifies and funds cooperative research. The expansion of science and engineering around the globe makes it essential that NSF attend systematically to International Science and Engineering.





 

National Aeronautics and Aerospace Administration

Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs oversees the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance, Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, and Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. Whoever sits in this position plays a central role in achieving consensus over coordinating emerging technologies’ export controls and START negotiations.




Assistant Secretary of State for Economic & Business Affairs


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Assistant Secretary oversees the Bureau of Economic & Business Affairs (EB). EB has historically handled biotechnology issues related to agriculture. EB is well-positioned for leading proactive engagement on setting international technical standards. EB plays an important role in advancing the global digital economy towards a more open, interoperable, and secure internet.




Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Science and Technology Adviser oversees the Department’s primary body for independent science and technology advising. This position anticipates science, technology, and innovation research, development, and discoveries emerging from the high-tech and private sector. They build S&T capacity within the State Department and they engage the S&T enterprise on behalf of the State Department. International S&T collaboration heavily depends on this office.




Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Assistant Secretary oversees the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES). They lead international leadership on oceans, environment, science, space, and health. The Assistant Secretary represents the Department of State at meetings with commissions and various other groups from nations across the globe, working toward the creation of partnerships, initiatives, agreements, and treaties that will enable sustainable development and economic growth. The Assistant Secretary should seek to maximize OES’ impact and ensure that OES does not duplicate work from other S&T offices within the State Department.




Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs oversees the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance, Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, and Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. These offices have a deep bench of scientific experience. These offices focus on security issues and thus have tight coordination with the Department of Defense, especially on emerging technology issues. Whoever sits in this position plays a central role in achieving consensus over coordinating emerging technologies’ export controls and START negotiations.




Ambassador at Large and U.S. Global Aids Coordinator


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Coordinator leads and manages the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), with a sizable budget through which a large amount of the Department’s public health engagement is done. The State Department’s engagement with other countries' health systems has often been funded through PEPFAR, and thus this could be an increasingly important office in the COVID response and recovery.




Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Assistant Secretary oversees the Bureau of Energy Resources (ENR), which is responsible for international energy security. Historically, ENR has handled nonrenewables such as oil and coal, but the office could be a powerful force for promoting sustainable energy practices and the Administration’s climate agenda worldwide if it were to include clean energy options into its portfolio.




Coordinator for Cyber Issues


Noncareer Appointment The Coordinator for Cyber Issues leads diplomatic efforts with foreign counterparts on cyber issues and sets the strategy for international cyber policy. They serve as the State Department’s liaison to the White House and agencies on cyber-related affairs, ensuring that U.S. foreign policy positions on cross-cutting cyber issues are synchronized across the Federal Government. After being vacant during the majority of the Trump Administration, this position might be reimagined in the recently created Bureau of Cyberspace Security and Emerging Technologies (CSET).





 
 

National Science Foundation

Director


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The NSF Director works with groups and entities within and beyond NSF to shape directions for fundamental research in US science and engineering. This requires advocating for funding; ensuring the recruitment, development, and coordination of persons qualified to advance the enterprise; and fostering communications with Congressional committees and units in the Executive Branch. Additionally, the Director leads and convenes intergovernmental science research bodies (e.g., National Science and Technology Council), as well as international ones. The Director plays an especially important role in setting the direction for science and engineering research and development, which the White House will promote.




Assistant Director, Computer and Information Science and Engineering


Noncareer Appointment The Assistant Director of CISE (CISE AD) leads NSF’s efforts in tackling technological challenges, including scaling big data, advancing artificial intelligence, and making quantum computing a reality. The CISE AD also spends a considerable amount of time in interagency collaboration, traditionally co-chairing the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), as well as the NSTC subcommittees on Machine Learning and AI (NSTC/MLAI) and Open Science (NSTC/SOC). Since a majority of the 10 research areas prioritized in NSF’s Endless Frontier agenda are within CISE, the CISE AD position will be particularly important in the next administration.




Assistant Director, Engineering


Noncareer Appointment The Assistant Director for Engineering accelerates collaborations across industry, business, and academia to foster US innovation. The Assistant Director has to balance the numerous disciplines of engineering (civil, mechanical, biomedical, environmental, and more) that are not necessarily cohesive. The Assistant Director needs to be someone who can effectively partner with the diversity of engineering communities and stakeholders to facilitate innovation.




Assistant Director, Biological Sciences


Noncareer Appointment The Assistant Director for Biological Sciences oversees human, financial, and other resources required for advancing fundamental research in the biological sciences, which entails support primarily within the non-medical arena. To enhance coordination with the work underway in related agencies, this AD engages in collaborations with the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Energy—as well as public and private bodies in other nations.




Assistant Director, Education and Human Resources


Career Appointment The Assistant Director for Education and Human Resources attends to research, policy and practices across the educational spectrum—from pre-college through graduate education. The discipline-based Directorates sponsor education initiatives within their own spheres, with EHR leading activities that transcend those spheres.




Assistant Director, Mathematical and Physical Sciences


Noncareer Appointment The Assistant Director for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) manages a budget of approximately $1.5B—by far the biggest budget of the directorates—and a portfolio consisting of a broad range of the mathematical and physical sciences. The division needs to closely interact with the Department of Energy in particular, where 50-60% of federally-funded physics research occurs. There are close ties to NASA as well. The AD not only promotes inquiry in the physical sciences but attends to the infrastructure that the fundamental work might require, as most infrastructure resides under MPS (LIGO, CERN, VLA, etc.). Lastly, the AD has to have a high international presence because of all the international collaboration involved with the aforementioned research facilities.




Chief Officer for Research Facilities


Career Appointment The Chief Officer for Research Facilities (CORF) advises the NSF director on all aspects of the agency's support for major and mid-scale research facilities throughout their lifecycle, such as NEON, NSO, and LIGO. Research infrastructure plays a critical role in science and engineering and the CORF is uniquely positioned to command oversight of the development, construction, and operations of major multiuser research facilities across NSF—from concept to construction and operation. Lastly, the position requires responsiveness to the scientific community and accountability to the public and its elected representatives.




Chief of Research Security, Strategy and Policy


Career Appointment The Research Security Chief is tasked with providing the NSF director with policy advice on all aspects of research security strategy. They will also lead NSF’s efforts to develop and implement strategies to improve research security and the agency’s coordination with other federal agencies and the White House. Lastly, they lead efforts to address threats to openness and transparency of research and its results and will substantively engage with the research community, intelligence agencies, oversight committees and law enforcement—this critically important position is one of the few within NSF that have TS/SCI clearance. It’s important for the Research Security Chief to bring academic perspective to national security policy (e.g., immigration).




Deputy Director


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Deputy Director manages the internal affairs of the agency. This involves reviewing organizational arrangements with the Director and senior staff, to assess their responsiveness to contemporary conditions. The Deputy Director conducts periodic evaluations of the Assistant Directors and the heads of units within the Office of the Director. The Director maintains connections with the Office of the Inspector General, to safeguard the resources the nation entrusts to the Foundation. This Senate-approved position has not been filled since 2013, and the functions of this position have been undertaken by the Chief Operating Officer.




Head, Office of Legislative & Public Affairs


Career Appointment The COVID-19 pandemic has proved that science communication to the public, legislators, and other stakeholders are more crucial than ever. The Head of the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs will have to focus on moving beyond the NSF press release and undertake a more proactive stance to educate and communicate to the public and Congress about NSF’s existence and the different types of work that it supports, in order to achieve better outcomes and restore faith in science. On the Hill, greater awareness of NSF’s critical role would improve communication with congressional staffers and increase representation on the Hill. Lastly, the person in this role should have a diverse communication strategy that reflects the diversity of audiences that NSF engages with. The Head of the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs can influence not only what takes place within NSF but also the outcomes more generally for the fields on which it centers. An understanding of political and public perspectives derived from research the agency has funded is available to the Office Head.




Head, Office of International Science and Engineering


Career Appointment The Head of OISE coordinates the agency’s international strategy and manages internationally-focused programs that further U.S. strategic research interests. They facilitate and expand international science cooperation between U.S. experts and their foreign counterparts across the globe, leading NSF’s efforts to transform the way that it identifies and funds cooperative research. The expansion of science and engineering around the globe makes it essential that NSF attend systematically to International Science and Engineering.





Office of Management and Budget

Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs oversees the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance, Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, and Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. Whoever sits in this position plays a central role in achieving consensus over coordinating emerging technologies’ export controls and START negotiations.




Assistant Secretary of State for Economic & Business Affairs


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Assistant Secretary oversees the Bureau of Economic & Business Affairs (EB). EB has historically handled biotechnology issues related to agriculture. EB is well-positioned for leading proactive engagement on setting international technical standards. EB plays an important role in advancing the global digital economy towards a more open, interoperable, and secure internet.




Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Science and Technology Adviser oversees the Department’s primary body for independent science and technology advising. This position anticipates science, technology, and innovation research, development, and discoveries emerging from the high-tech and private sector. They build S&T capacity within the State Department and they engage the S&T enterprise on behalf of the State Department. International S&T collaboration heavily depends on this office.




Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Assistant Secretary oversees the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES). They lead international leadership on oceans, environment, science, space, and health. The Assistant Secretary represents the Department of State at meetings with commissions and various other groups from nations across the globe, working toward the creation of partnerships, initiatives, agreements, and treaties that will enable sustainable development and economic growth. The Assistant Secretary should seek to maximize OES’ impact and ensure that OES does not duplicate work from other S&T offices within the State Department.




Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs oversees the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance, Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, and Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. These offices have a deep bench of scientific experience. These offices focus on security issues and thus have tight coordination with the Department of Defense, especially on emerging technology issues. Whoever sits in this position plays a central role in achieving consensus over coordinating emerging technologies’ export controls and START negotiations.




Ambassador at Large and U.S. Global Aids Coordinator


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Coordinator leads and manages the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), with a sizable budget through which a large amount of the Department’s public health engagement is done. The State Department’s engagement with other countries' health systems has often been funded through PEPFAR, and thus this could be an increasingly important office in the COVID response and recovery.




Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Assistant Secretary oversees the Bureau of Energy Resources (ENR), which is responsible for international energy security. Historically, ENR has handled nonrenewables such as oil and coal, but the office could be a powerful force for promoting sustainable energy practices and the Administration’s climate agenda worldwide if it were to include clean energy options into its portfolio.




Coordinator for Cyber Issues


Noncareer Appointment The Coordinator for Cyber Issues leads diplomatic efforts with foreign counterparts on cyber issues and sets the strategy for international cyber policy. They serve as the State Department’s liaison to the White House and agencies on cyber-related affairs, ensuring that U.S. foreign policy positions on cross-cutting cyber issues are synchronized across the Federal Government. After being vacant during the majority of the Trump Administration, this position might be reimagined in the recently created Bureau of Cyberspace Security and Emerging Technologies (CSET).





 

Office of Science and Technology Policy

Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs oversees the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance, Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, and Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. Whoever sits in this position plays a central role in achieving consensus over coordinating emerging technologies’ export controls and START negotiations.




Assistant Secretary of State for Economic & Business Affairs


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Assistant Secretary oversees the Bureau of Economic & Business Affairs (EB). EB has historically handled biotechnology issues related to agriculture. EB is well-positioned for leading proactive engagement on setting international technical standards. EB plays an important role in advancing the global digital economy towards a more open, interoperable, and secure internet.




Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Science and Technology Adviser oversees the Department’s primary body for independent science and technology advising. This position anticipates science, technology, and innovation research, development, and discoveries emerging from the high-tech and private sector. They build S&T capacity within the State Department and they engage the S&T enterprise on behalf of the State Department. International S&T collaboration heavily depends on this office.




Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Assistant Secretary oversees the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES). They lead international leadership on oceans, environment, science, space, and health. The Assistant Secretary represents the Department of State at meetings with commissions and various other groups from nations across the globe, working toward the creation of partnerships, initiatives, agreements, and treaties that will enable sustainable development and economic growth. The Assistant Secretary should seek to maximize OES’ impact and ensure that OES does not duplicate work from other S&T offices within the State Department.




Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs oversees the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance, Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, and Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. These offices have a deep bench of scientific experience. These offices focus on security issues and thus have tight coordination with the Department of Defense, especially on emerging technology issues. Whoever sits in this position plays a central role in achieving consensus over coordinating emerging technologies’ export controls and START negotiations.




Ambassador at Large and U.S. Global Aids Coordinator


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Coordinator leads and manages the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), with a sizable budget through which a large amount of the Department’s public health engagement is done. The State Department’s engagement with other countries' health systems has often been funded through PEPFAR, and thus this could be an increasingly important office in the COVID response and recovery.




Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources


Presidential Appointment with Senate Confirmation The Assistant Secretary oversees the Bureau of Energy Resources (ENR), which is responsible for international energy security. Historically, ENR has handled nonrenewables such as oil and coal, but the office could be a powerful force for promoting sustainable energy practices and the Administration’s climate agenda worldwide if it were to include clean energy options into its portfolio.




Coordinator for Cyber Issues


Noncareer Appointment The Coordinator for Cyber Issues leads diplomatic efforts with foreign counterparts on cyber issues and sets the strategy for international cyber policy. They serve as the State Department’s liaison to the White House and agencies on cyber-related affairs, ensuring that U.S. foreign policy positions on cross-cutting cyber issues are synchronized across the Federal Government. After being vacant during the majority of the Trump Administration, this position might be reimagined in the recently created Bureau of Cyberspace Security and Emerging Technologies (CSET).





 
 

Share Your Ideas

Crowdsourced input generated this initial list, but we need your help refining it. Over the coming weeks, we will continue to add additional positions and update the descriptions for our initial list.


Using the form below, we want your feedback on the positions and existing descriptions—if there is something we missed, let us know!  We are looking for any additional insights into why these roles matter and will continue to take ideas on other key positions that did not make our initial list.