Walter Massey, Director of the National Science Foundation, announced on January 13 that he has elevated the status of the Division of Polar Programs (DPP). It is now the Office of Polar Programs and, organizationally, part of the Office of the Director. Effective immediately, the newly created office began reporting to NSF's deputy director. Massey is also reactivating the Board's Committee on Polar Programs to provide NSF with continuing policy guidance and advice.
In announcing the program's move, Massey said that NSF's Antarctic and Arctic activities have grown increasingly prominent in recent years as international attention has focused on research programs, environmental concerns, law enforcement, and other issues in both polar regions. “With the increased responsibility we have been given [in the polar regions] comes increased accountability,” Massey said. “I believe that heightening the stewardship for polar programs is an important way to help ensure that we meet the expectations and needs of the polar research communities and others,” he added.