NOAA releases new strategies to apply emerging science and technology

Public invited to review and provide comments
November 14, 2019
A NOAA ocean glider, seen in waters off the coast of Puerto Rico in July 2018. These robotic, unmanned gliders are equipped with sensors to measure the salt content (salinity) and temperature as they move through the ocean at different depths. The gliders, which can operate in hurricane conditions, collect data during dives down to a half mile below the sea surface, and transmit the data to satellites when they surface.

NOAA today is announcing new strategies to dramatically expand the agency’s application of four emerging science and technology focus areas — NOAA Unmanned Systems, Artificial Intelligence, ‘Omics, and the Cloud — to guide transformative advancements in the quality and timeliness of NOAA science, products and services.

“NOAA is a pioneer with a strong track record of applying the latest science and technology and these new strategies will allow us to dramatically expand these applications across our mission areas,” said Neil Jacobs, Ph.D., acting NOAA administrator. “These detailed strategies will enable us to achieve our priorities of reclaiming and maintaining global leadership in numerical weather prediction and sustainably expanding the American Blue Economy.”

These draft strategies, open for public comment through December 16, were highlighted at a White House Summit on Partnerships in Ocean Science and Technology, which convened key players from across the ocean science and technology community including representatives of industry, academia, government, philanthropy, and the private sector. The event promoted partnerships in ocean science and technology, showcased American leadership, and engaged the community to explore the unknown ocean, advance marine science, and promote new technologies.

“Emerging technologies like AI, unmanned systems, ‘omics, and cloud services hold incredible promise to solve our greatest challenges. The Trump Administration remains committed to unlocking this potential for the benefit of all Americans through national strategies and initiatives. NOAA’s emerging science and technology strategies demonstrate our whole of government approach to innovation and we look forward to continued collaboration and leadership,” said Michael Kratsios, Chief Technology Officer of the United States.

The strategies developed by NOAA to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and coordination of their development and usage across the agency, include:

  • Unmanned Systems Strategy: In recognition of the opportunities unmanned systems presents for addressing NOAA's mission priorities, the NOAA Unmanned Systems Strategy provides a framework to efficiently provide requirements-driven, safe, cost-effective, and compliant Unmanned Systems services across the agency; prioritize strategic investments in Unmanned Systems applications and technologies that fuel innovation and strengthen operations, and accelerate and enhance capabilities through partnerships.

  • Artificial Intelligence Strategy: The overarching goal of the NOAA Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy is to utilize AI to advance NOAA’s requirements-driven mission priorities. Through this strategy, NOAA seeks to reduce the cost of data processing, and provide higher quality and more timely scientific products and services for societal benefits.

  • 'Omics Strategy: In recognition of the opportunities and challenges presented by the advent of tools associated with ‘omics — a suite of advanced methods used to analyze material such as DNA, RNA, or proteins — the NOAA ‘Omics Strategy provides a framework to advance the application of ‘omics to address mission priorities. The strategy leverages NOAA’s current organizational structure to more effectively implement ‘omics through improvements in computational and analytical capacities, targeted research, technology transition, workforce proficiency, and partnerships across NOAA’s lines, federal agencies, and extramural research and commercial communities.

  • Cloud Strategy: NOAA’s robust experience with cloud applications is already beginning to demonstrate significant improvements in performance and skill in areas such as satellite data products and services, numerical weather prediction, ocean models, and big data analysis, storage and dissemination. Cloud services will be further leveraged to expand benefits, such as: accelerated timeline to acquire new computing resources; increased security posture; more accessible and monetizable NOAA data to customers, such as academia and industry; reduced transition time from research to operations; scalable infrastructure that supports scientific and high performance computing requirements; and a more agile and innovative culture.

Full strategy documents are available from the NOAA Research Council. 

NOAA developed these draft strategies in accordance with guidance provided by the Administration and Congress, including the Office of Science and Technology Policy FY21 Research and Development Priorities letter, the National Science and Technology Council report “Science and Technology for America’s Oceans: a Decadal Vision,” the Executive Order on Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence, the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017,the Commercial Engagement Through Ocean Technology (CENOTE) Act and the Federal Cloud Computing Strategy.

Media contact
Christopher Vaccaro, 202-482-3978