Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 22 Issue 02

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Volume 22, No. 2
Pages 208 - 227


The National Oceanographic Partnership Program: A Decade of Impacts on Oceanography

Cynthia J. Decker Colin Reed
Article Abstract

The National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP) was created by the Fiscal Year 1997 Defense Authorization Act. It called for the establishment of a partnership program to promote the national goals of assuring national security, advancing economic development, protecting quality of life, and strengthening science education and communication through improved knowledge of the ocean. Fifteen US federal agencies comprise this partnership, which has expended more than $295M over ten years on a variety of activities. NOPP has been a true partnership among equals that has substantially moved the United States forward in the areas of ocean research, operations, technology, education, and natural resource management. NOPP’s funding requirements have spurred the ocean research and education communities to develop strong, long-term collaborations among different sectors—academia, government, industry, and nongovernmental organizations. NOPP has allowed agencies to leverage their funds, increasing the impact of individual agency investment and accelerating the agencies’ abilities to meet their high-priority goals. This leveraged investment results in more high-priority tasks getting done in the same time period than would occur if each agency were to fund the work individually. The combination of enhanced, effective partnerships among both funders and performers has resulted in accelerated research in some areas and a stronger voice for oceanography in the research and education communities. This article provides a history of NOPP. It also identifies and discusses specific areas in which NOPP involvement and/or influence has led to significant accomplishment, both through funded research and through intellectual stimulation and inspiration.


Decker, C.J., and C. Reed. 2009. The National Oceanographic Partnership Program: A decade of impacts on oceanography. Oceanography 22(2):208–227, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2009.50.


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