William H. Burnett, Ph.D.
Deputy Commander & Technical Director
Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command
Dr. William Burnett is the Deputy Commander and Technical Director to the Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, located at the NASA Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. He serves as the primary technical contact to the command, with responsibility for managing, planning and directing all phases of the Naval Oceanography program.
Prior to being promoted to the Senior Executive Service, Dr. Burnett served as a Branch Chief at the National Data Buoy Center. During his tenure, he transformed his quality control office into a Mission Control Center which is now recognized as a world leader in providing operational, real-time marine observations. Dr. Burnett also served on the International Tsunami Commission and as the U.S. National Representative to the World Meteorological Organization’s Data Buoy Cooperation Panel. He also supervised the International OceanSITES Global Data Assembly Center and implemented the world’s first Regional Marine Instrumentation Center.
Before joining the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 2004, Dr. Burnett was the Plans and Programs Division Head at the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command. In that position he oversaw the development of the Command’s Strategic Plan and Long Range Meteorological, Oceanographic and Geospatial Information and Services Plan. Dr. Burnett was also the Climate/Weather/Ocean Computational Technology Area Leader of the Department of Defense’s High Performance Computational Modernization Program and manager of four Common High Performance Computing Software Support Research Initiatives. Prior to August 1999, he served as the Command’s Atmospheric Programs Manager.
Dr. Burnett joined the Naval Oceanographic Office in 1988 as a meteorologist at the Operational Oceanography Center. In 1992, he joined the staff of the Naval European Meteorology and Oceanography Center in Rota, Spain, and served as the Oceanographic Services Officer. During his tenure he developed the Joint European Meteorological and Oceanographic Data Exchange System that provided products and observations to the Fleet during Operation Provide Promise/Deny Flight. He rejoined the Naval Oceanographic Office in 1995 as a supervisor of the Warfighting Support Center’s Operations Support Branch.
Dr. Burnett began his career in 1985 as a Physical Science Aide and Storm Chaser with the Storm Electricity Group at the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Okla. He received a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from the University of Oklahoma in 1988. He received both his Ph.D. and Master of Science degrees in Marine Science from the University of Southern Mississippi. Dr. Burnett was the author for the lead article “Overview of Operational Ocean Forecasting in the U.S. Navy: Past, Present & Future” in Oceanography magazine’s special 2002 issue, as well as the lead author of the environmental section for two Department of Defense studies focused on high performance computing and numerical prediction of optical turbulence for weapons systems. He serves as a media spokesman and has provided numerous interviews to media outlets such as the Discovery Channel, CNN, NPR, the Phoenix Arizona Republic, the Biloxi Sun Herald and the New Orleans Times-Picayune.