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Letter from Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher

Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr.

Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr.,
U.S. Navy (Ret.)
Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and
NOAA Administrator

Dear Readers:

In a country as young as America, we don’t have many opportunities to celebrate 200-year anniversaries.  When we do, it is obviously special.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is very proud of its history – a history that is now rooted in 200 years of science serving the American people.

President Thomas Jefferson created the Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1807 to survey and map the country’s coastline. The survey’s vital role in providing safer travel on the seas and promoting commerce was worthy of its status as the young nation’s first physical science agency. 

To accomplish this important mission, Congress authorized President Jefferson “to cause proper and intelligent persons to be employed, and also such of the public vessels in actual service, as he may judge expedient, and to give such instructions for regulating their conduct as to him may appear proper.”  A Swiss immigrant named Ferdinand Rudolph Hassler brought together mathematicians, cartographers, geodesists, meteorologists, hydrographers, topographers, sailors, laborers, and administrators to build the Coast and Geodetic Survey. 

The legacy first started by President Jefferson and Ferdinand Rudolph Hassler lives on today throughout NOAA.  The agency has grown into a world-class scientific organization whose employees are highly regarded as leaders in their respective fields.  The NOAA legacy has blossomed for two centuries and with the agency’s critical role in many of today’s most pressing issues, NOAA’s leadership role is well-secured for generations to come.

NOAA’s importance to Americans’ everyday lives has grown a great deal over the past 200 years and this Web site will give you an idea of the scope and impact of the agency.  I am proud to be part of such an important and notable legacy and I want to extend my most sincere thanks to all past and current NOAA employees, Congressional supporters, and all of our friends and partners.



Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr.
Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator