(a) There shall be an Executive Director of the Council appointed by the Secretary of Defense after consultation with the Secretary of Energy.
(b) Subject to the authority, direction, and control of the Secretary of Defense, the Executive Director is responsible for the management of the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program in accordance with the policies established by the Council.
(c) The Executive Director may enter into contracts using competitive procedures. The Executive Director may enter into other agreements in accordance with applicable law. In either case, the Executive Director shall first obtain the approval of the Council for any contract or agreement in an amount equal to or in excess of $500,000 or such lesser amount as the Council may prescribe.
(d)(1) The Executive Director, with the concurrence of the Council, may appoint such professional and clerical staff as may be necessary to carry out the responsibilities and policies of the Council.
(2) The Executive Director, with the concurrence of the Council and without regard to the provisions of chapter 51 of title 5 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of such title, may establish the rates of basic pay for professional, scientific, and technical employees appointed pursuant to paragraph (1).