Presidential science adviser John Holdren is still assembling his team at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP ). But he's already brought on board one "indispensable" senior official, naming Tom Kalil to the new position of deputy director for policy. Kalil is a technology policy guru who served in the Clinton Administration and was part of the Obama transition team.
"He's brilliant, and I decided that I didn't want to run OSTP without his help," Holdren told ScienceInsider this morning. "In many respects, Tom's expertise complements mine, and he's also experienced science and technology policy, from broadband to biotechnology." Holdren is doing his first round of media interviews after being confirmed 19 March as OSTP director.
By statute, Holdren is allowed four associate directors, all of whom require Senate confirmation. So far, only one has been nominated—Shere Abbott, for environment—and her hearing has not yet been scheduled. Holdren says that he hopes that the others—for science, technology, and national security/international affairs—will be named in the next month, along with the members of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. But Holdren says he created Kalil's position so that he could start immediately.