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Portrait of Dr. William R. Graham

William R. Graham

Acting NASA Administrator (Dec. 4, 1985–May 11, 1986)

Dr. William R. Graham, a founder and executive of R&D Associates, Marina Del Rey, California, became Deputy Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration on November 25, 1985. Nominated for the post by President Reagan on September 12, he was confirmed by the Senate on November 18, 1985.

In 1980, Dr. Graham served as an advisor to candidate Ronald Reagan and was a member of the President-elect’s transition team. He had served for the three years previous to his appointment as NASA Deputy Administrator as chair of the General Advisory Committee on Arms Control and Disarmament, having been nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate in 1982.

Before the founding of R&D Associates in 1971, Dr. Graham had spent six years with the Rand Corp., Santa Monica, California. Prior to his employment at Rand, he served three years active duty as a project officer with the Air Force Weapons Laboratory, Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, New Mexico, directing a group conducting experimental and theoretical research on strategic system survivability.

Dr. Graham had also been a consultant to the Office of the Secretary of Defense and served on many international and national boards and advisory groups, including the National Academy of Science/National Research Council Committee on Undersea Warfare, the Air Force Science Advisory Board Task Force on Manned Strategic System Vulnerability, the U.S.-U.K. Joint Working Group on Atomic Weapons, the Defense Nuclear Agency Scientific Advisory Group on Effects, and the Defense Science Board System Vulnerability Task Force and Associated Task Forces.

Born on June 15, 1937, in San Antonio, Texas, Dr. Graham received his B.S. degree in physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1959. In addition, he earned an M.S. degree in engineering science in 1961, and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 1963, both from Stanford University.

Dr. Graham left NASA in October 1986 to become Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. On October 16, 1986, he was sworn in as Science Advisor to the President, a position he held until June 1989 when he left government service to join Jaycor, a high-technology company headquartered in San Diego, California.