The Report of the President's Panel for Ocean Exploration, "Discovering Earth's Final Frontier: A U.S. Strategy for
Ocean Exploration," (2000) outlined a vision and a strategy for establishing a national program focused on exploring
the world's unknown ocean. The report also provided specific recommendations for mapping and characterizing little
known ocean areas and phenomena, developing new sensors and systems to accelerate the pace of ocean exploration, and
disseminating the results in new and novel ways to enhance our understanding of the ocean and ocean issues. In
response to this report, NOAA established the first federal program deliberately focused on ocean exploration.
In 2009, recognizing the success and value of ocean exploration, Congress officially authorized the NOAA Ocean
Exploration Program in Public Law 111-11, Title XII (Oceans), Subtitle A (Ocean Exploration), Part I (Exploration).
Similar to the Report of the President's Panel, this law called upon the NOAA program to continue to develop and
engage in partnerships with other government agencies, academic institutions, non-profit organizations, and private
industry to truly establish a dedicated national ocean exploration program that will catalyze future research and
better inform ocean resource management decisions.
On May 7-8, 2012, a 13-member Ocean Exploration Review Panel conducted the first-ever formal, independent review of
the NOAA Ocean Exploration Program. The review was administered under the auspices of, and reported to, the NOAA Science
Advisory Board. This review provided a unique opportunity to consider the Program as it has evolved over the past
ten years and to make recommendations to position it for even greater success in the future.
The Science Advisory Board accepted the Review Panel's final report during its November meeting, commending NOAA for
establishing an innovative ocean exploration program, and encouraging NOAA leadership to continue to lead and
support the establishment of a national program as initially envisioned by the President's Panel. The Science
Advisory Board referred the report recommendations to NOAA leadership for further action.
Program Review documents and the full report may be downloaded below.
Contact Information for the Ocean Exploration Program Review
1315 East-West Highway, SSMC3
Silver Spring, MD 20910
phone: (301) 734-1021
Or submit your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org