Throughout the history of the program, the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP) has transitioned through several ocean governance frameworks. On July 19, 2010, President Obama signed Executive Order 13547 establishing the first comprehensive National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, Coasts, and Great Lakes. The Executive Order adopts the Final Recommendations of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, which direct federal agencies to implement the recommendations. The Final Recommendations call for a National Ocean Council (NOC) to strengthen ocean governance and coordination. NOPP will continue to serve as a mechanism for implementing ocean partnerships among government, academia, industry and non-governmental organizations, in addition to assisting with the implementation of the national priorities.

The NOC Deputy-level Committee has assumed the duties of the statutorily mandated National Ocean Research Leadership Council (NORLC) the governing body of NOPP. Two committees report to the NOC: the Ocean Resource Management Interagency Policy Committee (ORM-IPC) and the Ocean Science and Technology Interagency Policy Committee (OST-IPC)[1]. Both IPCs are responsible for implementation of the National Policy and its national priority objectives. Membership of the IPCs consists of Deputy Assistant Secretaries or comparable representatives, or appropriate senior-level representatives with decision making authority from departments, agencies, and offices represented on the NOC.

Entities will be established under the IPCs to develop strategic action plans on the national priority objectives called for in the Final Recommendations. Existing interagency working groups that provide discussion forums for interagency coordination on important ocean issues will be incorporated into this “sub-IPC” structure as appropriate. Of these existing interagency working groups, the NOPP Office provides program support to the Interagency Working Group on Ocean Partnerships (IWG-OP) and the Interagency Working Group on Facilities and Infrastructure (IWG-FI). The IWG-OP is the operational federal body charged with organizing, directing or conducting most NOPP activities. The IWG-FI advises on policies, procedures, and plans relating to oceanographic facility use, upgrades, and investments.

Additionally, the NOPP Office provides support to the Ocean Research Advisory Panel (ORAP). This legislatively established committee meets three times per year and has been incorporated into the new ocean governance structure to provide independent advice and guidance to the NOC. The ORAP is composed of individuals from the National Academies, ocean industries, state governments, academia, and other organizations as appropriate.

The NOPP Office (NOPPO) was established to assist in the management of NOPP and provide daily administrative support. The most recent competition for the NOPPO contract was awarded by the Office of Naval Research, through competitive procedures, to the team of Karthik Consulting and QinetiQ North America on 3 September 2013.


[1] The existing National Science and Technology Council’s Joint Subcommittee on Ocean Science and Technology is fulfilling the role of the OST-IPC.

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