It gives me great pleasure to announce that John Armor has accepted the position of director of the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS). I am delighted that John will be serving at the helm of a program that advances place-based conservation among iconic natural and historical resources.  

Since May 2015, John has performed the duties of acting director for ONMS, providing the strategic vision for the program and overall policy direction for the system of 13 national marine sanctuaries and Papahānaumokuākea and Rose Atoll marine national monuments. That system now encompasses more than 620,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters.


During his time as acting director, John oversaw some of the most dramatic advancements in place-based conservation in the history of our organization. The designation process has been initiated for two new sanctuaries in Maryland and Wisconsin. Two additional sites, one in California and another in Pennsylvania, have been added to the nomination inventory. As of this writing, another nomination for a site in Alaska is under review. In addition, the Cordell Bank and Gulf of the Farallones sanctuaries more than doubled in size with the latter being renamed as the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. In August, President Obama announced the expansion of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument from about 140,000 square miles to almost 580,000 square miles. Under John’s leadership, ONMS has continued to advance sanctuary science, enrich our understanding of maritime history, and promote stewardship among new communities.


Before working in the role of acting director, John served as deputy director for Sanctuaries for more than two years, where he oversaw the day-to-day administration of a program that includes more than 300 people working across five time zones and $50 million a year in annual spending.  In 2012, John was selected as a participant in NOAA’s Leadership Competencies Development Program. During this time, he served as senior policy advisor to the assistant secretary of commerce for conservation and management at NOAA headquarters and deputy director for the Northeast Fisheries Science Center.


Earlier, John led the Conservation Policy and Planning Division in ONMS, overseeing a highly complex expansion of the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa. He brings extensive experience with the permitting and regulatory side of national marine sanctuaries, having served for eight years writing regulatory actions and advising leadership on permitting and policy decisions.


Prior to coming to NOAA, Mr. Armor worked for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in the Fort Myers regional office.  There, he worked to implement the State of Florida's wetland and estuarine protection and sovereign submerged lands programs.


Mr. Armor has a bachelor’s degree in marine science from the University of South Carolina and a master’s degree in environmental science and policy from Johns Hopkins University.


I am pleased that NOS has found such an excellent example of leadership in John Armor.


Thank you,


Russell Callender, Ph.D. Assistant Administrator NOAA's National Ocean Service