Oceanographer of the Navy sponsors all its new oceanographic ship construction, including Navy-owned research ships that are operated by academic institutions. As part of the modernization of the Navy's 1960-vintage oceanographic fleet, the Oceanographer of the Navy ordered three new ships (AGOR class) for the academic research community. The first of these 275-foot-long, multipurpose, deep-ocean-capable research ships (R/V Thomas Thompson) was delivered in 1991 to the University of Washington. One of the remaining two new ships will be operated by Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the other by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
An important initiative begun by the Oceanographer of the Navy in 1990 was the sponsorship, in cooperation with the Chief of Naval Research and the OSB, of a tactical oceanography symposium to familiarize the academic community with the Navy's operational needs and requirements. This initiative has become an annual event, and the Office of Naval Technology joined as one of the sponsoring organizations in 1992. The Oceanographer of the Navy is striving to facilitate closer links between the operational side of the Navy and the research community.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was formed in 1970 from a combination of existing government entities. Its mission is to explore, map, and chart the global ocean and its living resources and to manage, use, and conserve those resources; to describe, monitor, and predict conditions in the atmosphere, ocean, Sun, and space environment; to issue warnings against impending destructive natural events; to assess the consequences of inadvertent environmental modification over several scales of time; and to manage and disseminate long-term environmental information.
Several partnerships now exist between NOAA and the academic community. The National Sea Grant College Program provides support for the study of estuaries and coastal regions, marine applied research, and the application of research to practical problems. Sea Grant is different from most other government-funded research programs in that it is a mandated partnership. Every two dollars of federal funds must be matched by at least one dollar, often from state agencies. Because of this mandated fiscal partnership, policy makers at the state level are generally more aware of Sea Grant research than of research sponsored by