NOAA Federal Advisory Committees

The Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) requires that certain procedures be followed whenever a Federal agency seeks the consensus advice of a group external to the Federal government. The purpose of Federal Advisory Committee (FAC) is to provide uniform standards for the operation of advisory committees used in the executive branch and to ensure public access to and knowledge of their deliberations. The following describes NOAA’s existing FACs.

Advisory Committee on Excellence in Space (ACES)

The Advisory Committee on Excellence in Space (ACES) is a Federal advisory committee that provides advice and recommendations to the NOAA Under Secretary or the Director of the Office of Space Commerce (OSC) on matters relating to OSC’s statutory purview, including:

  • Status and recent developments of nongovernmental space activities;
  • The manner in which the United States may facilitate and promote a robust and innovative commercial sector that is investing in, developing, and operating space objects;
  • Challenges faced by the United States commercial sector relating to:
    • International obligations of the United States relevant to commercial space sector activities in outer space;
    • Harmful interference with commercial space sector activities in outer space;
    • Cybersecurity requirements, recommendations, or needs that affect the commercial space sector;
  • Existing best practices for United States entities to avoid:
    • The harmful contamination of the Moon and other celestial bodies;
    • Adverse changes in the environment of the Earth resulting from the introduction of extraterrestrial matter; and
    • Detrimental effects to the space environment resulting from new or existing space debris;
  • Space sustainability;
  • Other commercial space sector activities, as the Under Secretary or OSC Director considers appropriate.

ACES functions solely in an advisory capacity and in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). ACES does not exercise program management or regulatory development responsibilities nor make any decisions directly affecting the programs on which it provides advice.

ACES was established in 2002 as the Advisory Committee on Commercial Remote Sensing (ACCRES), which advised the NOAA Under Secretary on remote sensing issues for over two decades. Secretary Gina Raimondo approved the rescoping of ACCRES as ACES in 2024.

Historic information about ACCRES is available on the website of NOAA/NESDIS, which hosted ACCRES before it was transferred to the Office of Space Commerce.

Hydrographic Services Review Panel (HSRP)

HSRP FAC was established by the NOAA Hydrographic Services Improvement Act to provide advice to the Under Secretary on all authorities related to hydrographic surveys. The HSRP is a federal advisory committee that provides NOAA with independent advice on improving the quality, efficiency, and usefulness of NOAA's navigation, observations, and positioning-related products, data, and services. The HSRP advises the NOAA Administrator about its navigation (i.e. nautical charts and ENCs), physical oceanographic (i.e. tides & water levels), geodetic, geospatial, positioning, and coastal and shoreline programs, products, and services. There are two public meetings each year in different port regions at which public comments from stakeholders and partners are sought. Most of the meetings include a webinar capability for those not in the area. The HSRP focuses on topics related to navigation observations and positioning services portfolio of the National Ocean Service. The meetings often include the following: updates from the three HSRP working groups (WG) including the Planning and Engagement WG, Technology WG, and Arctic Priorities WG; development and finalization of issue papers and recommendations to NOAA; comments and suggestions regarding white papers, regional, state and national priorities; and review and discussion of proposed priorities for the HSRP. The National Ocean Service program offices – National Geodetic Service, the Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services, the Office of Coast Survey, as well as the University of New Hampshire’s Joint Hydrographic Center and Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping - are actively engaged and provide updates related to navigation services.

Marine and Coastal Area-Based Management Advisory Committee (MCAMAC)

The Marine and Coastal Area-based Management (MCAM) Advisory Committee advises the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere on science-based approaches to area-based protection, conservation, restoration, and management in coastal and marine areas, including the Great Lakes. The scope of the Committee's advice will include, but not be limited to, efforts consistent with the America the Beautiful initiative, as well as other relevant issues that may be requested by the Under Secretary. Its membership represents a wide spectrum of perspectives on America’s ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes and the communities that rely on them, including resource managers, commercial and recreational users, scientific experts, Indian Tribes and indigenous communities, philanthropic and nonprofit organizations, and educators.

Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC)

The Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee was established in 1971 by the Secretary of Commerce to provide advice on living marine resource matters under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Primarily, these matters fall under NOAA Fisheries.

Members represent a diverse set of perspectives from commercial, recreational, aquaculture, seafood and consumer, tribal, academic, environmental, and protected resources interest groups. Members draw on their expertise and other appropriate sources to advise on:

  • Setting national living marine resource policies.

  • Developing and implementing Departmental initiatives and programs.

  • Evaluating and recommending needed changes during reauthorization processes for the Magnuson-Steven, Endangered Species, and Marine Mammal Protection Acts.

  • Assessing other areas of interest to the Secretary and relevant to the mission and goals of NOAA Fisheries.

National Sea Grant Advisory Board (NSGAB)

The National Sea Grant Advisory Board is the National Sea Grant College Program's Federal Advisory Committee (FAC). The Board advises NOAA and the National Sea Grant College Program on strategies to address the Nation's highest priorities in terms of the understanding, assessment, development, management utilization and conservation of ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources.

NOAA Science Advisory Board (SAB)

The SAB is the only federal advisory committee that advises the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere (Under Secretary) on strategies for research, education, and application of science to operations and information services. This advice helps the agency to better understand and predict changes in Earth’s environment, and to better conserve and manage coastal and marine resources to meet the Nation’s economic, social, and environmental needs.  The SAB advises the Under Secretary on other scientific matters upon request, submits reports to the Under Secretary, and conducts laboratory, cooperative institute, and program reviews, as requested.

Ocean Exploration Advisory Board (OEAB)

NOAA established the Ocean Exploration Advisory Board (OEAB) under the Federal Advisory Committee Act and legislation that gives NOAA statutory authority to operate an ocean exploration program and to coordinate a national program of ocean exploration. The OEAB advises NOAA leadership on:

  • strategic planning

  • exploration priorities

  • competitive ocean exploration grant programs; and,

  • other matters as requested 

Ocean Research Advisory Panel (ORAP)

The Ocean Research Advisory Panel (ORAP) is authorized under the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (Public Law 116-283), § 1055(c) (10 U.S.C. § 8933) to provide the Ocean Policy Committee (OPC) of the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP) with independent scientific advice and recommendations on national oceanographic matters.  Specifically, the ORAP has the following responsibilities:

  • To advise the Committee on policies and procedures to implement the National Oceanographic Partnership Program.
  • To advise the Committee on matters relating to national oceanographic science, engineering, facilities, or resource requirements.
  • To advise the Committee on improving diversity, equity, and inclusion in the ocean sciences and related fields.
  • To advise the Committee on national ocean research priorities.
  • Any additional responsibilities that the Committee considers appropriate.

Space Weather Advisory Group (SWAG) 

Pursuant to the Promoting Research and Observations of Space Weather to Improve the Forecasting of Tomorrow (PROSWIFT) Act, 51 U.S.C. § 60601 et seq., the Administrator of NOAA and the National Science and Technology Council’s Space Weather Operations, Research, and Mitigation (SWORM) Subcommittee established the Space Weather Advisory Group (SWAG) on April 21, 2021.  The SWAG is the only Federal Advisory Committee that advises and informs the interest and work of the SWORM.  The SWAG is to receive advice from the academic community, the commercial space weather sector, and nongovernmental space weather end users to carry out the responsibilities of the SWAG set forth in the PROSWIFT Act, 51 U.S.C. § 60601 et seq.

The SWAG is directed to advise the SWORM on the following: 

  • Facilitating advances in the space weather enterprise of the United States; 

  • Improving the ability of the United States to prepare for, mitigate, respond to, and recover from space weather phenomena; 

  • Enabling the coordination and facilitation of research to operations and operations to research, as described in section 60604(d) of title 51, United States Code; and

  • Developing and implementing the integrated strategy under 51 U.S.C. 60601(c), including subsequent updates and reevaluations.  

The SWAG shall also conduct a comprehensive survey of the needs of users of space weather products to identify the space weather research, observations, forecasting, prediction, and modeling advances required to improve space weather products, as required by 51 U.S.C. 60601(d)(3). This survey will be updated every 3 years as appropriate.

U. S. Integrated Ocean Observing System Advisory Committee (IOOS)

The U.S. IOOS Advisory Committee is a federal advisory committee that provides advice to the NOAA Administrator and the Interagency Ocean Observation Committee (IOOC), in fulfillment of the Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act, part of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-11), and the Coordinated Ocean Observations and Research Act of 2020 (Public Law No: 116-271). They advise on the:

  • administration, operation, management, and maintenance of the U.S. IOOS, including integration of federal and non-federal assets and data management and communication aspects of U.S. IOOS, in fulfillment of the ICOOS Act;
  • expansion and periodic modernization and upgrade of technology components of U.S. IOOS;
  • identification of end-user communities, their needs for information provided by U.S. IOOS, and U.S. IOOS’ effectiveness in disseminating information to end-user communities and the general public;
  • national surface current network, fleet acquisition and survey programs for uncrewed systems, remote sensing and data assimilation, sediment transport in coastal regions, a multi-region marine sound monitoring system, and any other purpose identified by the Administrator or the IOOC.