Need for Improving Management of U.S. Oceanographic Assets

CED-78-125: Published: Jun 16, 1978. Publicly Released: Jun 16, 1978.

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In response to congressional concerns, the Nation's ocean research/survey fleet was reviewed, and information was compiled on the fleet's costs and operations.

Managing and operating ocean research/survey vessels is still highly decentralized throughout the Federal Government. Federal oceanic activities are conducted by 21 organizations in 6 departments and 5 agencies. There is no overall Government-wide guidance, limited review of operations, and no formal system to assess the necessary levels of operations or to plan needed assets for a national program. This fragmentation has contributed to inefficient use of the Nation's ocean research/survey fleet. Also, inadequate vessel accounting standards make it difficult to compare costs for similar services from other sources. A comparative analysis with foreign oceanographic capabilities showed that the Soviet Union, France, and the United Kingdom have centralized management and comprehensive ocean policies. Although the Soviet Union has achieved a great deal in oceanographic research, the quality of the U.S. effort is still superior.

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