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Trump Still Has Not Named Top Science Adviser in Eight Months Since Inauguration

President Donald Trump

Washington, DC, October 9, 2017 — Celeste Katz reports in Newsweek that President Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump, his daughter-adviser, have been going all out to tout the administration’s commitment to “high-quality STEM and computer science education” as a means of boosting the U.S. economy.

However, Katz reports, President Trump has yet to choose a top science adviser, who would play a crucial role in turning the White House horn-tooting into reality.

The White House Office of Science and Technology (OSTP) has been without a boss for the longest stretch since its establishment in 1976, a former longtime member told Newsweek.

John Holdren, who served as former President Barack Obama’s science adviser and as the Senate-confirmed director of his OSTP, is raising an alarm about what he calls the “very sizable vacuum” that persists in the science-advisory realm under Trump.

Now the Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Holdren couldn’t precisely account for the holdup in naming someone to advise Trump on science and lead OSTP:

“They’ve had quite a few distractions…including trying to get NFL players fired for kneeling,” Holdren deadpanned during a conversation with Newsweek.

Dry humor aside, Holdren made clear during the interview that he considers the lack of new science and technology experts in the current administration no joke.

The OSTP may not be as well known as other executive offices, such as Management and Budget or the Council of Economic Advisers, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t as important.

It is charged with advising the president and his top aides on “the scientific, engineering, and technological aspects of the economy, national security, homeland security, health, foreign relations, the environment and the technological recovery and use of resources.”

Holdren asserts: “If you don’t have science and technology advice in the White House, you’re going to miss opportunities to use science and technology to advance the rest of the leadership’s agenda. You’re going to make decisions, in some cases, that would be better decisions if they were informed of the science and technology dimensions.”

For Katz’s full Newsweek story, click here.