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On October 27, 1969, William McElroy, who had become the third NSF director in July, effected a major reorganization of NSF based on provisions of the National Science Foundation Act of 1968. Four assistant directorships were established for Research, Education, Institutional Programs, and National and International Programs. The Office of Assistant Director for Research had five Divisions reporting to it (Biological and Medical Sciences; Engineering; Social Sciences; Environmental Sciences; Mathematical and Physical Sciences) and also included the Office of Interdisciplinary Research.

Oceanography (except biological oceanography) remained in the Environmental Sciences Division, but there were several marine-related elements in the Office of the Assistant Director for National and International Programs. These included the Sea Grant Program, Antarctic Programs, Computing Activities, Science Information Service, International Programs, and National Centers and Facilities Operations. The last was responsible for the Ocean Sediment Coring Program, National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), and the astronomical observatories. The Office of Polar Programs (OPP) and Office of the International Decade of Ocean Exploration (IDOE) were added on December 19, 1969, and March 21, 1970, respectively, following a letter from the Vice-President, which confirmed NSF as lead agency for IDOE and for the extension of Arctic research. The IDOE was the third major influx of funds that supported ocean sciences at NSF (after IGY and IIOE). The history of IDOE is covered by Feenan Jennings in this volume.

1970—The Biological Oceanography Program did not remain long in the Division of Biological and Medical Sciences. It was transferred into the Oceanography Section in the Division of Environmental Sciences on July 24, 1970. The brief tenure of Sea Grant at NSF ended when the Office of Sea Grant Programs was transferred to NOAA on October 3.

On October 1, responsibility for oceanographic ship operation support was transferred from the Research Directorate to the National and International Programs Directorate to provide initial program development in support of the National Oceanographic Laboratory System concept.

1971—The position of project officer for the National Oceanographic Laboratory System (NOLS) was established, and the Office for Oceanographic Facilities and Support was established to implement management support for the NOLS concept on March 30, 1971. The history of events relating to ship operations may be found in the contributions of Johrde, Toye, and Byrne in this volume.

IDOE was organized into four programs. These were Environmental Quality, Environmental Forecasting, Seabed Assessment Program, and Living Resources. The Ocean Sediment Coring Program was located within National Centers and Facilities Operations.

1974—On July 1 (the first day of fiscal year 1975), the Marine Chemistry Program was established in the Oceanography Section. This completed the four subdisciplinary science structure that has remained stable through fiscal year 1999.

1975—On July 10, 1975, NSF underwent a major reorganization into seven directorates, including the Directorate for Astronomical, Earth and Ocean Sciences (AAEO). Many sections became divisions, including those in this directorate. The Division of Ocean Sciences (OCE) was formed. The Offices of IDOE and Oceanographic Facilities and Support moved into OCE from the Office of National Centers and Facilities Operations (NCFO), and the Ocean Sediment Coring Program moved from NCFO to the Division of Earth Sciences.

Atmospheric Sciences was added to the directorate on September 30 to create AAEO, together with OPP. The Division of Ocean Sciences consisted of the Oceanography Section, the Office for Oceanographic Facilities and Support, and the Office for the IDOE.

1976—On April 19, 1976, the Marine Science Affairs Program was established within IDOE, and the Office of Polar Programs was redesignated as a division.

1978—The Office of the IDOE was redesignated the IDOE Section on March 8, 1978, with five programs (Environmental Forecasting, Environmental Quality, Living Resources, Marine Science Affairs, and Seabed Assessment).

1979—The Office of Oceanographic Facilities and Support was restructured into (1) the Office of the Head, Oceanographic Facilities and Support; (2) the Acquisition and Maintenance Program; and (3) the Operations Program.

1980—The 10-year mandated period for IDOE officially ended. Unlike the IGY and IIOE, however, the funds, which had been incorporated into the base of the Division of Ocean Sciences, remained there.

The Ocean Sediment Coring Program in the Earth Sciences Division was disestablished on October 1. The program's functions were redefined and reassigned to the Division of Ocean Drilling Programs, which was simultaneously established in AAEO and was comprised of (1) Office of the Division Director, (2) Science Section, (3) Engineering and Operations Section, and (4) Field Operations.

1981—On January 30, 1981, the Acquisition and Maintenance Program of Office of Oceanographic Facilities and Support (OFS) was divided into two programs—Ocean Technology, and Fleet Maintenance and Upgrading.


OCE was restructured on July 26, 1981, following the end of IDOE to accommodate its programs and funding. The

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