Appointments & Nominations, August 19, 1983

Appointment of John A. Svahn as Assistant to the President for Policy Development

August 19, 1983

The President today announced the appointment of John A. (Jack) Svahn, of Maryland, to be Assistant to the President for Policy Development. The appointment will be effective September 12, 1983.

Mr. Svahn, who has served since March as Under Secretary of Health and Human Services and, concurrently since May 1981, as Commissioner of Social Security, will be responsible to Edwin Meese III, Counsellor to the President, for issue analysis and policy development in all areas of domestic policy. He succeeds Edwin L. Harper.

Mr. Svahn, 40, also served as Director of the U.S. Office of Child Support Enforcement during his service as Social Security Commissioner until his appointment as HHS Under Secretary. In these positions, as well as in his concurrent capacity as Chief Administrator of Disability Insurance, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), he played a central policy and management role in income maintenance, health, and social services programs serving 51 million recipients and indirectly affecting nearly every American. Programs under his concurrent supervision account for more than one-third of the annual Federal budget.

Mr. Svahn served on the Reagan administration transition team in 1980 as head of the task force on the Health Care Financing Administration.

Before joining the administration, he was a consultant specializing in public policy management problems. From 1976 to 1979, he was manager of government services for the accounting/management consulting firm of Deloitte Haskins and Sells, Inc.

Mr. Svahn was born in New London, Conn., May 13, 1943. He received a B.A. degree in political science from the University of Washington in 1966. In 1966 - 1968 he served with the U.S. Air Force.

Beginning in 1968, Mr. Svahn held positions with the State of California and the Federal Government. In California he served first in the State Highway Department and later as chief deputy director and as acting director of social welfare. During then-Governor Reagan's administration in California, he was a principal member of the Governor's welfare reform task force.

From 1973 to 1976, Mr. Svahn held a succession of major Federal positions in the Social and Rehabilitation Service of the then-Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. He was Administrator of the SRS and Director of the U.S. Office of Child Support Enforcement, positions he held concurrently in 1975 - 1976. While heading SRS, Mr. Svahn was credited with developing and implementing the title XX social services program and the child support enforcement program.

Mr. Svahn is married, has two children, and lives in Severna Park, Md.

Nomination of Philip Abrams To Be Under Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

August 19, 1983

The President today announced his intention to nominate Philip Abrams to be Under Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. He would succeed Donald I. Hovde.

Since 1982 Mr. Abrams has been Assistant Secretary for Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Previously he was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Housing in 1981 - 1982. Prior to his position in the administration, he was a developer and builder in the general contracting business for 16 years. He is a member and past president of the Associated Builders and Contractors of America since 1967.

Mr. Abrams graduated from Williams College (B.A., 1961). He served in the United States Navy in 1961 - 1965 and the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1961 - 1969. He is married, has three children, and resides in Washington, D.C. He was born November 13, 1939, in Boston, Mass.

Appointment of Harrison H. Schmitt as a Member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board

August 19, 1983

The President today announced his intention to appoint Harrison H. Schmitt to be a member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.

Mr. Schmitt served in the United States Senate (R-N. Mex.) in 1976 - 1982. He was a Senate leader on issues dealing with intelligence activities and served as chairman of the Subcommittee on Legislation and Rights of Americans of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and a member of the Subcommittee on Collections and Foreign Operations. During the last 2 years of his term in office, Mr. Schmitt was chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space and of the Senate Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. He was also a leader of the Appropriations subcommittees dealing with defense, energy, and natural resource matters.

Previously Mr. Schmitt was Assistant Administrator for Energy Programs, NASA, in 1974 - 1975; Chief, Scientist Astronaut Office, NASA, in 1973; and was scientist-astronaut in 1965 - 1973. He was the Apollo 17 lunar module pilot in 1972.

He graduated from the California Institute of Technology (B.S., 1957) and Harvard University (Ph. D., 1964). He is the recipient of many awards and honors including the NASA Distinguished Service Medal in 1973.

Mr. Schmitt resides in Albuquerque, N. Mex. He was born July 3, 1935, in Santa Rita, N. Mex.

Appointment of Albert D. Wheelon as a Member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board

August 19, 1983

The President today announced his intention to appoint Albert D. Wheelon to be a member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.

Since 1966 Dr. Wheelon has been with the Hughes Aircraft Co., joining as corporate vice president (engineering). In July 1970, he was named senior vice president and group president (space and communications). This group is responsible for all the development and production of communications satellites and other space vehicles, spacecraft instrumentation, earth terminals, and terrestrial communications equipment. Previously he was with the Central Intelligence Agency in 1962 - 1966.

Dr. Wheelon graduated from Stanford University (B.S., 1949) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Ph. D., 1952). He was a teaching fellow in physics at MIT, a research associate in the research laboratories for electronics at MIT, and a visiting professor of engineering at the University of California at Los Angeles in 1957 - 1961. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Dr. Wheelon has two children and resides in Los Angeles, Calif. He was born January 18, 1929, in Moline, Ill.