Edward A. Knapp was confirmed by the Senate in a voice vote on April 15 as the director of the National Science Foundation (NSF). The Senate vote followed a confirmation hearing by the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee. Knapp, who was nominated by President Reagan to head the foundation in November, had been assistant director for NSF's mathematical and physical sciences (MPS) directorate since July 1982.
Allegations that he has been politicizing NSF have beleaguered Knapp since he asked for resignations or firm commitments to leave from three NSF top administrators in December (two of these administrators had been planning to leave, though no resignation dates had been set). Knapp assured the Senate committee during the April 13 confirmation hearings that he made the decision to ask for the resignations and that, although he had discussed his plan with Office of Science and Technology Policy officials, they did not request that certain people be removed in exchange for particular increases in the NSF budget. Knapp consistently has defended himself against the allegations by saying that he wants his own team at the agency.