Robert L. Sumwalt III was sworn in as the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) 14th chairman during a brief ceremony.
Sumwalt’s nomination for a two-year term by was confirmed by the Senate earlier this month. Sumwalt has been serving as the agency’s acting chairman since late March 31 and has been a NTSB member since August 2006.
Acting Managing Director Dennis Jones presided over the ceremony attended by NTSB staff.
“The NTSB is commemorating 50 years of making transportation safer yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and I am humbled and honored to have the privilege of guiding the dedicated men and women of the NTSB as we take on the challenges of transportation safety in the 21st century,” said NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt. “Transportation technologies continue to advance and the NTSB must continue to increase the breadth and depth of our knowledge and understanding of transportation innovations, such as autonomous vehicles, intelligent infrastructure, commercial space transportation, hyper-speed rail, solar-powered planes, and new recording technologies. That knowledge enables us to craft safety recommendations that leverage technology to prevent accidents and save lives.”
Sumwalt tenure with the NTSB began in August 2006 with his appointment as the 37th member of the NTSB, whereupon President George W. Bush designated him as vice chairman for a two-year term. President Barack Obama reappointed Sumwalt to an additional five-year term as a board member in November 2011.
The NTSB has five board members, each nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate to serve five-year terms. By statute, the president designates, with Senate confirmation, a chairman. The president also designates a board member as vice chairman, however, Senate confirmation is not required for the vice chairman. The vice chairman and chairman each serve two-year terms. When there is no designated chairman, the vice chairman serves as acting chairman. Board members whose terms expire may remain on the board until their replacement is appointed.