The Interagency Ocean Observation Committee (IOOC) is chartered by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Subcommittee on Ocean Science and Technology (SOST), initially legislated by the Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observing System Act of 2009, and reauthorized in the Coordinated Ocean Observations and Research Act of 2020. The purpose of the IOOC is to advise, assist, and make recommendations to the SOST on matters related to ocean observations, and specifically, with respect to the Act, to:

  • Coordinate the interagency planning, budgeting, and assessment functions required under the Act;
  • Promote collaboration among Federal agencies and with non-Federal components, other domestic and international ocean observation programs, and other interested groups;
  • Support the Council in its coordination and oversight responsibilities with respect to ocean observations, as identified in the Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act of 2009 ;and
  • Advance efforts related to ocean observations under the National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, our Coasts, and the Great Lakes (National Ocean Policy, Executive Order 13547).

Additionally, Congress and the SOST enacted the IOOC to implement specific management, procedural, and fiscal activities to ensure development of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®). IOOS is a coordinated national and international network of ocean observations with associated data transmission, modeling, and analysis providing key information scientists and decision-makers. Specific to the IOOS, the goals of the IOOC are:

  • To enhance the efficiency of and motivation for multiple-agency contributions to the IOOS, for the purposes of societal applications, education, stewardship, and scientific understanding;
  • To strengthen the interface between the Federal aspects of IOOS and those performed by state, local and tribal governments, the private sector and academia; and
  • To be fully complementary to and consistent with the activities of the Integrated Ocean Observing System Program Office. 

Led by four federal Co-Chairs and supported by agency representatives and staff, the Committee carries out various provisions of the Act for implementing procedural, technical, and scientific requirements to ensure full execution of the System.  IOOC members and staff connect programmatic initiatives to executive requirements, legislative directives, and community recommendations.  IOOC Co-Chairs and members play a pivotal role executing the ocean observing initiatives and can leverage them bringing greater attention to their particular agency-based goals.