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NOAA News Releases 2006
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Serves as Chief Hydrographer for the United States

NOAA Corps Capt. Steven R. Barnum has been named as the new director of NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey, where he will be the nation's chief hydrographer, responsible for overseeing NOAA’s hydrographic services, including the mapping and charting of all United States navigational waters.

“We’re delighted to name Steve Barnum to this important leadership post within the National Ocean Service,” said John H. Dunnigan, assistant administrator of NOAA’s National Ocean Service. “He brings to the position a wealth of experience through a wide variety of assignments during his 26-year NOAA career. His dual role as director of the Office of Coast Survey and commerce and transportation goal lead signifies the important support role NOAA provides to the nation's maritime commerce."

Barnum has served as head of NOAA’s commerce and transportation goal team, one of the four major strategic planning units within the agency, where he coordinates activities supporting safe, efficient, and environmentally sound transportation. He will continue in that role while adding the Coast Survey leadership post to his duties. Immediately prior to assuming his goal team position, Barnum served as chief of the Office of Coast Survey's Navigational Services division.

Barnum began his career with NOAA, in 1980 when he was commissioned as an ensign in the NOAA Corps. He has specialized in Coast Survey mission objectives for the most part, including over eight years of hydrographic field operations aboard five NOAA ships.

His ship assignments include serving as commanding officer of the NOAA ships Thomas Jefferson and Whiting. While commanding the Whiting, Barnum oversaw numerous homeland security surveys for the U.S. Navy in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks. Prior to commanding the Whiting, he served as the ship's executive officer, and also saw duty as the operations officer of the NOAA ships Davidson, Rude, and Heck.

Barnum was raised in New Orleans and holds a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from Louisiana Tech University, a bachelor of science degree in computer science from University of Maryland, and a master of science degree in software engineering from Johns Hopkins University. Barnum has received numerous awards which include two U.S. Department of Commerce silver medals, the NOAA Corps commendation medal, the U.S. Coast Guard achievement medal, and several NOAA sustained superior achievement medals.

Barnum succeeds Capt. Roger L. Parsons, who completes a 31-year federal career, all of it in the NOAA Corps. He has served as director of NOAA's Office of Coast Survey for the past three years.

"Capt. Barnum brings to Coast Survey an invaluable array of operational and programmatic experience gained during his nearly 26 years with NOAA," said Parsons. "Steve's demonstrated leadership as commanding officer of two NOAA hydrographic survey vessels, and his vision and foresight exhibited during his tenure as commerce and transportation goal team lead, will be instrumental as Coast Survey continues to strengthen its reputation as a leader in the international hydrographic community."

Barnum and his wife Jane reside in Rockville, Md.

The Office of Coast Survey, the nation's oldest federal science agency, was created by President Thomas Jefferson on February 10, 1807, following the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery exploration of the Louisiana Purchase. Jefferson foresaw the need for accurate maps and charting of the growing United States territory and its navigational waterways.

Today, the Office of Coast Survey is within the National Ocean Service, which is an agency of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Coast Survey manages the NOAA nautical charting and nautical data collection and information programs.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, over 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

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