NOAA 03-115
Contact: Jordan St. John
NOAA News Releases 2003
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Brigadier General (USAF retired) John “Jack” Kelly has been appointed as the new deputy under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere. As assistant administrator of NOAA’s National Weather Service over the past five years, Kelly is credited with spearheading technological and managerial changes that have made the National Weather Service one of the most respected agencies in the federal government. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“Jack Kelly is uniquely capable of filling this position. His decades of meteorological and management experience will be invaluable to the NOAA team, just as they have been during his tenure as head of the National Weather Service,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and administrator of NOAA, the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Lautenbacher said a search is now being conducted for a new assistant administrator of the National Weather Service.

With 40 years of experience in all facets of the weather field, including 21 years at the senior executive level in both government and private industry, Kelly has broad experience in leading science-based service organizations and introducing and implementing scientific and cutting-edge technological change. In the private sector, he directed weather systems for GTE Information Systems. From 1994 to 1996, he was responsible for GTE’s weather and aviation services business line, client satisfaction and interface, strategic planning, business development and sales, profit and loss, and program management.

“I look forward to this challenging new position,” Kelly said. “NOAA serves America every day, touching assets that directly and indirectly account for about $3 trillion, or one-third, of our Nation’s GDP. NOAA’s outstanding leadership team has proven its foresight by improving science and service and enhancing the careers of NOAA personnel, and I look forward to contributing to these efforts.”

Kelly retired from the Air Force in 1994 after serving for 31 years. He retired as director of Weather Headquarters. Over his years of service and broad-based experience at all organizational levels, Kelly’s duties ranged from roles as a counter forecaster to leading the organization that supported all Air Force and Army operations. During a very turbulent period in U.S. history, he ensured that forces had better equipment and that troops made great strides in providing better support to U.S. combat units.

Kelly holds a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Seton Hall University and a master's degree in public administration from Auburn University. He has completed leadership programs at the Air Force Command and Staff College and the Industrial College of Armed Forces. He is an American Meteorological Society Fellow and has received numerous U.S. and international awards.

NOAA serves America by forecasting all U.S. weather and climate, monitoring and archiving ocean and atmospheric data, managing marine fisheries and mammals, and conducting cutting-edge oceanic, atmospheric and solar research. With 12,700 employees in every state, at sea and abroad, and a more than $3.2 billion annual budget, NOAA manages U.S. operational weather and environmental satellites, a fleet of research ships and aircraft, and 12 environmental research laboratories. NOAA is also home to the NOAA Corps, one of the Nation’s seven uniformed services. For more information about NOAA, please see