investment decisions; such a process would optimistically result in a well-supported economic argument for a particular set of infrastructure investment priorities encompassing all federal agencies with a role in ocean research. In the process to optimize investments in ocean research infrastructure outlined above, decision makers (e.g., federal, state, and local governments) will naturally take into account subsidiary considerations that help define the net benefits associated with development, maintenance, and eventual replacement of specific infrastructure. Developing the detailed structure of that process and its application is beyond the scope of this report.
Recommendation: Development, maintenance, or replacement of ocean research infrastructure assets should be prioritized based on (1) usefulness for addressing important science questions; (2) affordability, efficiency, and longevity; and (3) ability to contribute to other missions or applications. Such prioritization will maximize societal benefit for the nation.