The Plan

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

This plan 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 comprises 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)

Access the National Ocean Service Strategic Plan here

Access the NOAA Strategic Plan here

Access the Department of Commerce Strategic Plan here


The IOOS “Enterprise” is intended to represent 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 “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 2018, U.S. IOOS published the first U.S. IOOS Enterprise Strategic Plan, bringing together the full enterprise with common vision, mission, and goals. That plan extended until 2022, at which time we needed a new plan.  This updated approach picks up from where the last plan left off, bringing the core of the 2018 plan up to date with Enterprise and technological advancements of the last five years. 


This new plan picks up the core of the 2018 Strategic Plan, but has incorporated a new timeline to keep the plan in pace with system advancement and new capabilities.  With this new approach, the published plan takes a 3-year look at our goals, but will be refreshed on a regular basis, building on the previous year’s accomplishments and incorporating new opportunities within the ocean observing enterprise.


period, we determined that those statements both resonate with the present trajectory of the system and they have remained intact.


In a sense. Our next steps involve the development of an implementation approach to ensure updates at optimum intervals. In the immediate time frame, the strategic plan will be used as a basis for IOOS annual guidance planning.  We intend the implementation approach 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 efficiencies, identify synergies, and provide common platforms to execute various missions. 
  • Objective 1.2: Sustain and operate a national network of regional observing systems composed of multidisciplinary observations from a variety of technologies.
  • Objective 1.3: Improve coverage of observing systems and modernize aging infrastructure to fill critical gaps in regional and national observing networks to address high-priority needs.
  • Objective 1.4: Incorporate sustainable and 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 equitable access of data across the ocean enterprise where IOOS connects private and public data providers, data consumers and distributors, academia, industry and the public to create a dynamic ocean data ecosystem that drives innovation, collaboration, and commerce.
  • 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 services 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 the 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 as go-to data sources through collaboration between 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 state-of-the-art information needed by regional stakeholders.
  • Objective 3.2: Transition modeling innovations from the research community into operations through the Coastal and Ocean Modeling Testbed (COMT) and/or Regional Associations as demonstration environments and 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 and ecosystems.
  • 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.
  • Objective 4.5: Understand the economic value of IOOS data and information to enable communication about the benefits of the observing systems and tools.


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

  • Objective 5.1: Engage in continuous dialog with stakeholders, including historically underrepresented communities, to gather feedback and refine requirements for IOOS products and services.
  • Objective 5.2: Increase the operational efficacy 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 expertise.
  • Objective 5.5: Foster the next generation of science, technology, engineering, and math specialists through targeted education, training, and research opportunities.