WASHINGTON -- Advisor to President Barack Obama for the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Dr. John P. Holdren visited the Navy's corporate laboratory, March 16, to dedicate the opening of the Laboratory for Autonomous Systems Research (LASR) and tour the sprawling 130-acre Washington, D.C., campus.
"For nearly 90 years NRL has served the Navy, Marine Corps and our Nation in ever evolving capacities," said Dr. Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. "This new facility, dedicated today, builds on a grand NRL tradition of military research and innovation."
The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), established through Congress in 1976, is mandated to advise the President and others within the Executive Office of the President on the effects of science and technology (S&T) on domestic and international affairs and lead interagency efforts to develop and implement sound S&T policies and budgets to provide the greatest benefit to society.
With the objective to enable continued scientific leadership in autonomy, the state-of-the-art laboratory will become the nerve center for autonomy research for the Department of Defense (DoD) and will provide specialized facilities to support highly innovative research in intelligent autonomy, sensor systems, power and energy systems, human-system interaction and network and communications platforms.
"Today, the Navy and Marine Corps rely on robotics and autonomous systems for a host of missions, including unmanned air vehicles providing intelligence in Afghanistan, robots that defeat improvised explosive devices, and submersibles that explore the depths of the ocean," added Holdren.
Dr. Holdren, who holds advanced degrees in aerospace engineering and theoretical plasma physics from MIT and Stanford University, is also Co-Chair of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as a foreign member of the Royal Society of London and former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Prior to joining the Obama administration Dr. Holdren was Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy and Director of the Program on Science, Technology, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, as well as professor in Harvard's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and Director of the independent, nonprofit Woods Hole Research Center.
Previously he was on the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, where he co-founded in 1973 and co-led until 1996 the interdisciplinary graduate-degree program in energy and resources. During the Clinton administration Dr. Holdren served as a member of PCAST through both terms and in that capacity chaired studies requested by President Clinton on preventing theft of nuclear materials, disposition of surplus weapon plutonium, the prospects of fusion energy, U.S. energy R&D strategy, and international cooperation on energy-technology innovation.