To capture the environmental data needed to achieve its diverse missions, NOAA currently operates 41 coastal, ocean and Great Lakes observing systems.
The House Appropriations Committee fiscal year report for the Department of Commerce’s 2013 appropriations bill mandated GAO to examine NOAA’s ocean and coastal data collection systems reviewing cost data from fiscal year 2012 through 2014.
GAO discovered that NOAA’s yearly costs for observing systems ranged from about $22 million for systems managed by the National Marine Fisheries Service to $198 million for systems managed by the Office of Marine and Aviation Operations in fiscal year 2014.
NOAA has not taken all of the essential steps to integrate and improve the cost-effectiveness of its observing systems portfolio.
As per GAO recommendations NOAA should develop a plan for integration of observing systems and put together a mechanism to measure progress towards the goal of integration of these systems. It also recommended that NOAA should analyse the extent to which unwanted duplication exists in its portfolio of observing systems.