2010 Physical Sciences Review » Biographies » Craig N. McLean

Craig N. McLean

Craig N. McLean

Craig N. McLean

Deputy Assistant Administrator for Programs and Administration

Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research


Craig McLean is the deputy for NOAA's Oceanic and Atmospheric Research programs and administration. He is responsible for daily operations and administration of NOAA's research enterprise, and the execution of NOAA programs including the Climate program, National Sea Grant, and Ocean Exploration.

He has previously served in NOAA as Executive Officer of the National Ocean Service, and was the founding Director of NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration. McLean served in uniform for nearly 25 years, retiring from NOAA's Commissioned Corps in the grade of Captain after service at sea, underwater, and in operational, legal, and marine resource management positions. McLean served aboard hydrographic, oceanographic, and fisheries research ships and was the first commanding officer of NOAA's largest fisheries research vessel, the 224-foot Gordon Gunter.

A life long diver, he began exploring deep shipwrecks through decompression diving while in junior high school. These experiences have taken him to the Amazon River searching for freshwater dolphins, and to the RMS Titanic searching for solutions in shipwreck management.

Craig McLean is also an attorney and has practiced marine resource law for NOAA. He has been awarded the Departmental Silver and Bronze Medals, the NOAA Corps Commendation Medal, Special Achievement Medal, and recognized as the NOAA 2005 Senior Leader of the Year. He is a Fellow in the Explorers Club, Chairman of the Marine Law and Policy Committee of the Marine Technology Society, and is Chairman of the Board of the Sea-Space Symposium.