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November 1, 2001 News Release:
Dr. Thomas R. Kitsos Named Executive Director of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy

Today, the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy announced the appointment of Dr. Thomas R. Kitsos to the position of Executive Director of the Commission. He will officially assume his new responsibilities on November 13, 2001. Kitsos comes to the Ocean Commission from the Department of the Interior where he currently serves as the Acting Director of the Minerals Management Service (MMS), overseeing the daily operations and financial activities of the agency. Prior to his nearly seven years of service at MMS, Kitsos enjoyed a fruitful, 20-year career in the U.S House of Representatives, his last position being Chief Counsel for the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries. In this capacity, Kitsos managed a staff of 75 attorneys, scientists, professional and administrative support personnel; negotiated the Committee’s position on behalf of the Chairman; and worked on numerous ocean and coastal legislative initiatives. His experience also extends to the academic community, including teaching and research.

As Executive Director, Kitsos will manage the Washington, D.C.-based Commission’s 18-month review of federal ocean-related laws and programs and oversee the production of the final report highlighting the Commission’s recommendations to the president and Congress for “a coordinated and comprehensive national ocean policy.” The 16-member Commission appointed by President George W. Bush will draw on Kitsos’ impressive blend of academic, legislative and executive branch experience as it assesses such challenging issues as responsible stewardship of living and non-living resources; protection of the marine environment; protection against natural and manmade hazards; enhancement of marine-related commerce and transportation; the role of oceans in climate change; enhancement of oceanographic science and technologies; and international leadership and cooperation in marine affairs.

"Dr. Kitsos brings an exceptional level and diversity of experience to the Ocean Commission,” stated Admiral James D. Watkins, U.S. Navy (Retired) and Chair of the Ocean Commission. “The Commissioners and I are very pleased to have Dr. Kitsos guide this thorough review of the nation’s ocean-related programs and policies. The ocean community is indeed fortunate to have the benefit of his extensive knowledge base and management skills in this critical endeavor.”

"I look forward to working closely with the Commissioners and the members of the ocean community as a whole over the next 18 months as the Commission examines the many issues central to the development of a comprehensive ocean policy. I believe such a policy is vital to protecting the quality of life in our nation," commented Kitsos.

Kitsos attended the University of Illinois, receiving M.S. and Ph. D. degrees in Political Science. A native of Chicago, Kitsos has received a number of awards from the Department of Interior for his public service. Kitsos is married to Mary Kitsos, has three children and one grandchild, and resides in Bethesda, MD.

Additional information is available on the Ocean Commission website at



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