Our ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes represent tremendous economic and cultural resources for the American people. To balance sustainable development of our seas with conservation and conscious stewardship, the United States engages scientists and policymakers to guide Federal ocean policy. This work is integrated into decision making in part through the Ocean Policy Committee (OPC), which oversees ocean policy within the United States and is led by the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality.
The Ocean Policy Committee (OPC)
The OPC was first established by Executive Order in 2018 and codified into law by the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (Public Law 116 283; NDAA Sec. 1055), in order to coordinate Federal actions on ocean-related matters. It is co-chaired by the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). The OPC collaborates with the ocean community on ocean-related matters to advance ocean science and technology (S&T), identify priority ocean research and technology needs, and leverage resources and expertise to maximize the effectiveness of Federal investments in ocean research.
The Ocean Research Advisory Panel (ORAP)
The Ocean Research Advisory Panel (ORAP) advises the OPC and is called on to provide independent recommendations to the Federal Government. Membership is composed of individuals from the National Academies, state government, academia, and ocean industries, representing marine science, marine technology, marine policy, and other related fields. The ORAP is an advisory committee under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), and is the only FACA body chartered to advise all of the federal “ocean agencies.” ORAP was codified alongside the OPC in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act and was charged with advising the OPC about national oceanographic science, engineering, facilities, resources, as well as improving diversity, equity, and inclusion in ocean sciences and related fields.