NOAA 2004-003
Contact: Kent Laborde
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Brigadier General (USAF retired) David L. Johnson has been appointed as the new assistant administrator for Weather Services at NOAA’s National Weather Service, where he will be responsible for the day-to-day management of NOAA’s domestic weather and hydrology operations. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“Weather affects nearly $3 trillion of the U.S. gross domestic product. Economic sectors and the public are increasingly looking to NOAA for information to improve efficiencies and manage environmental resources,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “General Johnson has the experience, knowledge and talent to not only manage the National Weather Service and support it’s mission, but also to move it forward into new and expanded capabilities.”

Prior to joining NOAA, Johnson served as the U.S. Air Force director of weather. He retired from the Air Force as a brigadier general, after a 30-year military career. As director of weather, he was one of ten directors at the Headquarters Air Force, Air and Space Operations, and was responsible for developing doctrine, policy, requirements and operational organizations to support Air Force and Army operations worldwide. He also served as one of NOAA’s military deputies.

Notably, he organized, trained and equipped forces for the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq, and managed a steady flow of accurate and focused environmental information to battlefield commanders. He was a key advisor in the development of the National Polar-orbiting Environmental Operational Satellite System (NPOESS).

“I am extremely fortunate and proud to be heading the National Weather Service as part of NOAA’s team,” Johnson said. “The investment of our nation and NOAA staff is already enormously significant, and I am eager to begin building on that with the dedicated talent at the National Weather Service and NOAA. All Americans have come to rely on timely, accurate, focused information and I look forward to working closely with NOAA staff as well as existing and new partners to keep pace with evolving and fast accelerating national needs.”

Johnson’s career is marked by his strong management and fiscal capabilities. During his time as Air Force director of weather, he led a massive reengineering effort that revised the organizational structure, training and operations of the 4,000-person career field. Under Johnson’s steady hand, retention of weather-career airmen and officers grew to 97 percent, up from 74 percent previously.

Johnson guided the planning, programming and budgeting process implementation at the highest levels in the Air Force and in the Department of Defense. He has a worldwide perspective, having served in leadership positions on the Joint Staff with planning portfolios in Europe/NATO and Asia/Pacific. He secured funding for a new facility for the Air Force Weather Agency to house collection, analysis, modeling and career-field supervision functions.

Prior to his service as the director of weather, Johnson flew fighter, transport and special operations aircraft. He has over 3,800 flying hours including 78 combat sorties. Johnson commanded airdrop and air/land operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina and was deputy commander of the Joint Task Force for Operation Support Hope in Rwanda. He was selected for early promotion three times.

Johnson is an honor graduate from the University of Kansas with a degree in geography, and earned his master's degree in human relations from Webster University. He is a graduate of the National War College, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, and from the Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

NOAA’s National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. The National Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world.

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: