UFS is being built as a community model from the beginning, with significant input from several working groups involved in the development of NOAA’s Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) to support the needs of both operations and research. Stakeholders are engaged at all stages to help drive the direction of development, resources allocations and prioritization. UFS development and operational implementation efforts are centralized and built using community based NOAA Environmental Modeling System (NEMS) infrastructure and Earth System Modeling Framework (ESMF). A more sophisticated coupling among various earth system components is being enabled within NEMS following National Unified Operational Prediction Capability (NUOPC) standards. Advancement in model physics and data assimilation are achieved through the use of Common Community Physics Package (CCPP) and Joint Effort for Data Assimilation Integration (JEDI). The R2O plans are further facilitated through the development of unified workflow, and Model Evaluation Toolkit (MET) for verification and validation. All these initiatives involve significant engagement with research community, with emphasis on research transitioning to operations (R2O).