The initiative is the U.S. contribution to a Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) and reflects the increasing interest of both the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch to move oceanography into an operational endeavor. An advisory Panel chaired by Dr. John Knauss of the University of Rhode Island recommended that an interagency office be established as a focal point for such a system. In October 2000 the Ocean.US Office was established under the auspices of the National Oceanographic Partnership Program, with eight agencies, to date, having signed the memorandum of agreement for this effort.
A full-time staff of federal agency personnel is now assigned to this office, supplemented by a committee of users, the U.S. GOOS Steering Committee. To date, nine agencies have agreed to participate in the Ocean.US endeavor. Representatives of these agencies comprise an Executive Committee that provides oversight and guidance to the Office.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Department of the Navy National Aeronautics and Space Administration National Science Foundation Minerals Management Service U.S. Geological Survey Department of Energy U.S. Army Corps of Engineers U.S. Coast Guard
A phased implementation plan has been prepared, and regional associations are being formed to coordinate coastal components. These groups consist of research institutions, non-government organizations, and industries, in addition to state, local, and regional public agencies. The system will be a virtual one--- a federation of existing and new elements, providing full and open access to ocean data.