Administration releases second decadal report on ocean science and technology

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November 30, 2018

The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) released a report this month entitled, “Science and Technology For America’s Oceans: A Decadal Vision.” The report outlines the Trump administration’s goals to advance U.S. ocean science and technology in the coming decade.

The decadal vision identifies five main ocean priorities: (1) Understand the Ocean in the Earth System, (2) Promote Economic Prosperity, (3) Ensure Maritime Security, (4) Safeguard Human Health, and (5) Develop Resilient Coastal Communities. The report also identifies two cross-cutting topics that are relevant to all five goals: the modernization and management of ocean-related infrastructure and an educated, diverse, and dynamic “blue” workforce.

According to the report, carrying out those five priority research goals will require investments in and coordination of ocean science and technology across all levels of government and private industry, academia, and nongovernmental organizations over the long-term.

The report mentions the role of America’s oceans, gulfs, rivers, and lakes in powering domestic and global commerce. “The ease of moving cargo and people beyond our coasts fuels the Nation’s competitive advantage, advances trade, generates capital, and drives the domestic economy forward, in turn projecting strength abroad and safeguarding our national interests,” the report says. “Similarly, the biological diversity and productivity of the ocean sustains the health of coastal communities and promotes a vibrant national economy.”

The report also discusses ways in which ocean resources provide and create jobs, give mobility to U.S. armed forces, ensures national security, and provides opportunities for recreation.

The document builds on a number of initiatives outlined in the first national ocean research decadal plan released in 2007, entitled “Charting the Course for Ocean Science in the United States for the Next Decade.” It acknowledges significant areas of growth over the last decade, including the advancement in novel ocean technologies, the establishment of coordinated observation networks, and the discovery of new marine life and ocean-derived therapeutics. The 2018 vision aims to advance those achievements. However, it highlights a need for balancing research to address immediate needs or areas of opportunity with long-term efforts to understand the fundamental ocean system.

Sources: American Institute of Physics; National Science and Technology Council.