In September 2004, the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy completed its report, “An Ocean Blueprint for the 21st Century.” In December 2004, the President submitted to Congress his formal response, the U.S. Ocean Action Plan, which outlined an ocean governance structure (Figure 4) to:
Coordinate the activities of executive departments and agencies regarding ocean-related matters in an integrated and effective manner to advance the environmental, economic, and security interests of present and future generations of Americans; and
Facilitate, as appropriate, coordination and consultation regarding ocean-related matters among Federal, State, Tribal, and local governments, the private sector, foreign governments, and international organizations.
The current governance structure, developed in the Ocean Action Plan, is illustrated below:
The Interagency Committee on Ocean Science and Resource Management Integration incorporates the National Ocean Leadership Council’s current mandate within its broader mandate that includes ocean resource management. The Council confirms NOPP activities and funding opportunities and is composed of the heads of fifteen federal agencies that are involved in conducting or funding ocean research and/or developing ocean research policy. As the ICOSRMI, the committee meets quarterly.
The Ocean Research and Resources Advisory Panel provides advice and scientific guidance to NOPP and the ICOSRMI. It is composed of individuals from the National Academies, ocean industries, state governments, academia, and other organizations/communities as appropriate. The committee meets three times per year.
The Interagency Working Group on Ocean Partnerships, which evolved from the NOPP Interagency Working Group, is the operational federal body charged with organizing, directing or conducting most NOPP activities. It performs staffing functions assigned by, and on behalf of, the NORLC/ICOSRMI. Membership reflects that of the NORLC/ICOSRMI. The IWG-OP meets monthly and additionally as needed.
The Interagency Working Group on Facilities, which evolved from the Federal Oceanographic Facilities Committee, advises the JSOST on policies, procedures, and plans relating to oceanographic facility use, upgrades, and investments. Membership is composed of federal oceanographic facilities managers. As the IWG-F, the committee nominally meets three times per year or as needed.
The Interagency Working Group on Ocean Observations, which continues some of the activities of the now closed Ocean.US, is the interagency body charged with advising the JSOST on matters related to ocean observation, including the implementation of an Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) for the U.S. The IOOS is the marine-estuarine-Great Lakes component of the U.S. Integrated Earth Observing System (IEOS) and the U.S. contribution to the GOOS. The IEOS is the U.S. contribution to the GEOSS. The IWGOO meets monthly.
The NOPP Office (NOPPO) was established by NOPP legislation to assist in the management of NOPP and provide daily administrative support. Using competitive procedures, a 5-year contract for the operation of NOPPO was awarded by the ONR to the Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education on 14 July 1997. The NOPPO contract was re-competed in 2002 and was awarded by ONR to the Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education on 5 February 2003. The most recent competition for the NOPPO contract was awarded by ONR, through competitive procedures, to the Consortium for Ocean Leadership on 28 April 2008.