Cover of U.S. IOOS Enterprise Strategic Plan


The Plan

U.S. IOOS is pleased to release the U.S. IOOS Enterprise Strategic Plan (2018-22), which lays out Enterprise-wide objectives and priorities for the next five years and into the future.

This plan is the first written that addresses the full scope of the U.S. IOOS Enterprise, bringing together the needs and goals of the entire ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes observing system, which is comprised of federal, regional, and international partners in both the public and private sectors.  It focuses on cross-cutting goals and practical objectives to address IOOS core capabilities which include: sustained observations; data management and communication; modeling and analysis; user-driven products and tools; and stakeholder engagement, outreach, and education.

Download the Strategic Plan here (pdf)




The “U.S. IOOS Enterprise” represents the full scale of partners who may be contributing to and benefitting from the integrated ocean observing system. This includes global to local participants in ocean observing, data management and prediction from federal, academic, non-profit, and private firms or organizations. The U.S. IOOS Enterprise is a term intended to represent the inclusive mission of U.S. IOOS as defined by the ICOOS Act (2009). If you are contributing toward solutions or implementation of IOOS, then you are part of the Enterprise.

IOOS needed a new strategic plan. In 2007-08, both the Interagency Working Group on Ocean Observations and the U.S. IOOS Office published 5-year strategic plans. An updated plan will reflect the current vision and mission of the U.S. IOOS Enterprise, major advancements in ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes observing trends over the past decade, and how U.S. IOOS can secure and improve future ocean observations.

This strategy takes a wider view than previous plans by involving the full U.S. IOOS Enterprise. It is inclusive of public-private partners and thereby adopts a high-level vision, and was developed through extensive engagement with IOOS partners including interagency and IOOS regional association contributors and end-users. U.S. IOOS continues to meet existing and emerging user needs by integrating across five strategic goals to address IOOS core capabilities of observing, data management and communication, modeling and analysis, user-driven products and tools, and stakeholder engagement, outreach, and education. The system will continue to infuse emerging technology into operations, which can save time and resources while improving our understanding of ocean and coastal systems. The infusion of emerging technologies has resulted in more cost efficient and advanced observing sensors, platforms, data management techniques and programs. U.S. IOOS remains committed to building improved pathways for research to operations.

The mission and vision reaffirm IOOS’ commitment to meeting the Nation’s needs for ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes information through observations, data management, data analysis, and user-driven products. The IOOS Enterprise is expanding the focus on end-user experiences and building on the strong, sustained partnerships that are the core of IOOS. The IOOS mission can only be accomplished through strong, sustained partnership.

Yes, next steps involve the development of an implementation plan. We intend the implementation plan to be inclusive of the entire Enterprise and will provide the opportunity to IOOS core partners to contribute. It will outline specific, time-bound activities that will contribute towards achieving the IOOS mission, goals, and objectives.

Below are the goals and objectives as set forth in the Strategic Plan.

Goal 1: Sustain long-term, high-quality observations of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes environments to address local, regional, and national needs.

  • Objective 1.1: Leverage investment to improve system inefficiencies, identify synergies, and provide common platforms to execute various missions.
  • Objective 1.2: Sustain and operate a national network of regional observing systems comprised of multidisciplinary observations from a variety of technologies.
  • Objective 1.3: Fill critical gaps in the nation's observing networks to address high priority national and regional needs and improve coverage of regional coastal observing systems.
  • Objective 1.4: Incorporate innovative technologies to address existing and emerging needs and transition proven technologies to operational use or other applications.

Goal 2: Deliver standardized, reliable, and accessible data.

  • Objective 2.1: Promote standardization, automation, discovery, and access of data. 
  • Objective 2.2: Strengthen data stewardship to improve data quality, access, attribution, exchange, delivery, and storage across federal agencies and regional partners. 
  • Objective 2.3: Provide data infrastructure at the regional level through trusted, certified regional data centers to increase the availability, interoperability, and use of high quality data.   
  • Objective 2.4: Support ongoing maintenance and operation of data management systems to sustain long-term data stewardship.
  • Objective 2.5: Create, maintain, and expand the capacity of functional data assembly centers (DACs) as go-to data sources through collaboration with IOOS, National Data Buoy Center, National Centers for Environmental Information, and other partners.

Goal 3: Support model predictions that address a wide range of user requirements.

  • Objective 3.1: Continually develop and sustain research and community models and model-based products to provide information needed by regional stakeholders.
  • Objective 3.2: Transition select IOOS partner models from research to operations through transition management and support of the Coastal and Ocean Modeling Testbed (COMT) and regional associations as demonstration environments/proving grounds.
  • Objective 3.3: Assess model skill and advance data assimilation through data delivery, technical advancement, and regionally led research to improve model accuracy.
  • Objective 3.4: Advance modeling approaches to inform decisions on the design and implementation of optimal observing systems and maximize the use of regional observations.

Goal 4: Provide integrated, user-driven products and tools.

  • Objective 4.1: Develop regionally relevant, user-driven analysis, decision-support, and visualization products and tools to address historic and emerging stakeholder requirements.
  • Objective 4.2: Generate and disseminate pan-regional products and tools to respond to environmental issues and seasonal hazards that span larger areas.
  • Objective 4.3: Create national products that incorporate cross-disciplinary data to provide a single, user-friendly access point to integrated information. 
  • Objective 4.4: Promote IOOS products on international and cross-institutional scales to optimize usage and relevance.

Goal 5: Increase the reach and effectiveness of IOOS through partnerships, stakeholder engagement, and investment in Enterprise excellence.

  • Objective 5.1: Engage stakeholders to gather customer feedback and refine requirements for IOOS products and services.
  • Objective 5.2: Increase the operational effectiveness of federal, state, and other partner investments to support regional, national, and global activities and innovative research.
  • Objective 5.3: Expand and strengthen the network of partnerships with new and existing stakeholders, especially industry and federal partners, to innovate ocean observations and information products. 
  • Objective 5.4: Empower communities of practice to expand observing capabilities and expand expertise.
  • Objective 5.5: Foster the next generation of science, technology, engineering, and math specialists through targeted education, training, and research opportunities.
  • Objective 5.6: Elevate outreach and engage new audiences to convey the societal and economic value of a sustained ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes observing systems.