NOAA 2007-R809
Contact: Jeanne G. Kouhestani
NOAA News Releases 2007
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Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez has assigned Philip M. Kenul, an officer in the NOAA Commissioned Corps, as director of NOAA’s Marine and Aviation Operations Centers effective August 1, 2007. This action follows the recent Senate confirmation of Capt. Kenul to the rank of rear admiral (lower half).

Kenul will provide the leadership for operations centers that are indispensable to NOAA’s overall mission and objectives. He will be in charge of NOAA’s fleet of 19 ships and 12 aircraft that support the acquisition of oceanographic and atmospheric research data for many programs within NOAA and in collaboration with NOAA partners. His position is the second highest held by a NOAA Corps officer.

The headquarters of NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations, where Kenul will be based, is in Silver Spring, Md. OMAO manages two marine operations centers—Norfolk, Va., and Seattle, Wash.—and an aircraft operations center in Tampa, Fla. The centers oversee operations of the NOAA fleet of research and survey ships and aircraft.

“Rear Adm. Kenul is an outstanding officer who has demonstrated exceptional capabilities both in the air as a hurricane pilot and on the ground where he shaped NOAA’s first homeland security office after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “We are extremely pleased with his confirmation and know he will continue to support NOAA’s mission with best-in-class sea and air operations.”

Kenul was commissioned as an ensign in 1981 with his first assignment aboard a hydrographic vessel in the Atlantic. He later trained as a pilot flying NOAA’s WP-3D aircraft. In 2002, Kenul became the first director of NOAA’s Homeland Security Program Office. He was responsible for delivering NOAA products and services to federal, state and local partners and for strengthening NOAA infrastructure to protect employees, facilities, and information services. In this capacity he positioned NOAA to be a recognized and vital contributor to the nation’s homeland security effort. He most recently served as the commanding officer of NOAA’s Aircraft Operations Center, where he managed the daily operations of NOAA’s light and heavy aircraft.

Kenul is a native of Plainview, N.Y., where his mother, Marilyn Kenul, still lives. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in biology from the State University of New York in 1975 and a master’s degree in environmental-civil engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 1981. He is married to Donna DiFalco of Farmingdale, N.Y. They currently reside in Brookeville, Md., with their daughter, Emily.

The NOAA fleet of research and survey ships and aircraft is operated, managed, and maintained by NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations. OMAO includes commissioned officers of the NOAA Corps and civilians. The NOAA Corps is one of the nation’s seven uniformed services, and, as part of NOAA, is under the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Corps is composed of officers – all scientists or engineers – who provide NOAA with an important blend of operational, management and technical skills that support the agency’s environmental programs at sea, in the air, and ashore.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is celebrating 200 years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Commission of Fish and Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

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