• MS, Navy Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA
  • BS, Drexel University

Memberships and citations

  • During his final year as director of NOAA operations, NOAA ships and aircraft had a 95 percent mission readiness record.
  • Senior executive fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government
  • Member, Mississippi River Commission (confirmed by the US Senate)
  • Received two individual Department of Commerce Silver Medals, a NOAA Bronze Medal (NOAA’s highest award), and the NOAA Administrator’s Award


  • o: (202) 289-2060
  • f: (202) 289-8683
Few people understand the complexities of federal and state ocean and maritime issues as thoroughly as Rear Admiral Sam De Bow.

Under Sam’s direction, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) became a government leader in the use of GPS, high-resolution side scan sonar, and shallow water multi-beam systems to survey the sea floor.

As director of both Marine and Aviation Operations and the Commissioned Officer Corps for NOAA from 2004 to 2007, he oversaw a $200 million annual budget supporting the operations and maintenance of 20 research ships, 11 aircraft and nearly 300 Commissioned Officers. One of the nation’s seven uniformed services, the NOAA Commissioned Corps is a small, elite corps of officers who command NOAA ships and aircraft as well as serve NOAA’s environmental research programs.

Sam is presently Vice President of Lynker Technologies and is under contract to the NOAA Office of Coast Survey as a Product Manager supporting the Nautical Charting Program in Silver Spring, MD.  Sam was previously in charge of Research Operations and Special Projects at the University of Rhode Island, Graduate School of Oceanography where he oversaw the development of a Marine Spatial Planning effort to site offshore renewable energy projects off the Rhode Island coast.

Other Experience

  • Executive Assistant to the Deputy Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, assisting in the management of NOAA’s $4 billion budget
  • Chief of the Hydrographic Surveys Division at NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey. Sam’s primary responsibility was to provide guidance for NOAA’s hydrographic survey operation in support of the national Nautical Charting program.
  • Commanding officer of the NOAA ship RUDE during recovery of TWA Flight 800 (1996)