been achieved with variable success. Attainment of the goals of interdisciplinary major programs has been jeopardized by the variable level of commitment by different agencies. Although regular interagency meetings would foster better coordination, planners and organizers of new major programs need to recognize that mission agency funding profiles are different and may be shorter than the time scale of a major ocean program. Therefore, major programs need to maximize the chance that agencies can maintain their funding commitment by working to identify research support so that it is consistent with mission agency priorities. When the scale and complexity of the program warrants, an interagency project office should be established. Other mechanisms, such as memoranda of understanding (MOU), should be used to ensure agency support throughout the program's lifetime.
Ship scheduling is another coordination challenge facing major oceanographic programs for implementation planning. The large number of ship days requested at specific times—often with particular capabilities and sometimes on multiple platforms requiring synchronized schedules—represents a major factor for the UNOLS scheduling process. Shifting of projects from originally proposed vessels, schedules, and ports effects both major ocean program and core investigators and their budgets. These scheduling decisions are frequently made without consideration of the costs to the scientific investigation, such as travel and shipping. When possible, major program ship scheduling should be completed at least one year prior to the field work. Contingency funds should be made available to mitigate the budgetary impact of late changes in ship scheduling on science.