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 Non-Scientist in Senior Advisory Role to The President

Congress established the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) with a mandate to “advise the President and others within the Executive Office of the President on the impacts of science and technology on domestic and international affairs,” and to “lead an interagency effort to develop and implement sound science and technology policies and budgets.” Thus, the OSTP is the highest-level scientific advisory body in the federal government; the director of the OSTP also serves as the president’s official science advisor. There are currently two associate directors, one with responsibility for science, the other for technology. All three positions require Senate confirmation.28



Richard M. Russell is the associate director responsible for the OSTP’s technology portfolio, which includes telecommunications and information technology as well as space and aeronautics. He is also senior director for telecommunications and technology at the National Economic Council.

Mr. Russell holds the most senior White House advisory position devoted specifically to technology, yet he has only a bachelor’s degree in biology, no graduate or professional training of any kind, and no experience in a technology-related industry.29 Although he has served on the professional staff of the House of Representatives Committee on Science, it is not clear that this experience qualifies him to serve in a senior scientific capacity. This appointment is especially perplexing considering that there is no shortage of highly qualified scientists and technologists to fill this post.

28 See
29 See

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