The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA; pronounced //, like "Noah") is an American scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce that focuses on the conditions of the oceans and the atmosphere. NOAA warns of dangerous weather, charts seas, guides the use and protection of ocean and coastal resources and conducts research to provide understanding and improve stewardship of the environment. In addition to its over 11,000 civilian employees, in 2017 NOAA research and operations are supported by 321 uniformed service members who make up the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps. NOAA traces its history back to the convergence of multiple agencies: The United States Coastal and Geodetic Survey (founded in 1807), the Weather Bureau (1870) and the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries (1871). NOAA was officially formed in 1970. The acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere at the US Department of Commerce and the agency's interim administrator has been Benjamin Friedman since the end of the Obama Administration on January 20, 2017. In October 2017, Barry Lee Myers, CEO of AccuWeather was proposed to be the agency's administrator by the Trump Administration.
NOAA plays several specific roles in society, the benefits of which extend beyond the US economy and into the larger global community:
The five "fundamental activities" are:
NOAA was formed on October 3, 1970 after U.S. President Richard Nixon proposed creating a new agency to serve a national need for "better protection of life and property from natural hazards …for a better understanding of the total environment… for exploration and development leading to the intelligent use of our marine resources." NOAA formed a conglomeration of several existing scientific agencies that were among the oldest in the federal government. They were the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey, formed in 1807; the Weather Bureau, formed in 1870—Geodetic Survey and Weather Service had been combined by a 1965 consolidation into the Environmental Science Services Administration (ESSA), including the uniformed Commissioned Corp (founded 1917); and the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries, formed in 1871. NOAA was established within the Department of Commerce via the Reorganization Plan No. 4 of 1970. In 2007, NOAA celebrated 200 years of service with its ties to the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey.