CMTS Role in U.S. Ocean Policy

"The ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes waters of the United States are foundational to the economy, security, global competitiveness, and well-being of the United States." Executive Order No. 13840 Executive Order Regarding the Ocean Policy to Advance the Economic, Security, and Environmental Interests of the United States


To make recommendations and identify areas where common interests and goals exist between the CMTS and the Ocean Policy Committee (OPC).


The CMTS aims to support the OPC in their work as it relates to the MTS.

The MTS is a critical component of National Ocean Policy, and the CMTS offers expertise and an established forum with a proven track record of facilitating inter-departmental cooperation and collaboration.

The CMTS Executive Secretariat will continue to be involved in the Science & Technology and Ocean Resource Management subcommittees under the newly organized OPC. In particular, the CMTS Maritime Data Integrated Action Team is working with OPC staff to address the acquisition, analysis and sharing of AIS data. The CMTS will coordinate with the DOT-wide ocean policy working group.

Chronology of Ocean Policy

  • November 2019: President issues memorandum on "Ocean Mapping of the United States Exclusive Economic Zone and the Shoreline and Nearshore of Alaska" with oversight by OSTP and the Ocean Policy Committee.
  • September 2018: The CMTS and the Wilson Center Polar Initiative hosted the Ocean Policy Roundtable, “What’s Maritime Transportation Got to Do with It?” at the Wilson Center. Panelists provided their unique perspective on where marine transportation fits into the wider discussion of ocean policy. They highlighted the need for not just a whole-of-government approach, but also a cooperative international approach to maximize efforts in ensuring sustainable use of the ocean while maintaining a healthy and growing marine transportation system. Ultimately, the conversations concluded that the maritime transportation system is incredibly vital to ocean policy. To learn more, please view the footage of this event.
  • June 2018: President Donald Trump signed Executive Order 13840: Executive Order Regarding the Ocean Policy to Advance the Economic, Security, and Environmental Interests of the United States. This Executive Order replaces the NOC with the OPC and places a focus on the ocean economy and the sharing of ocean-related data, specifically through Marine Cadastre.
  • July 2011: The U.S. Marine Transportation System in the National Ocean Policy: Response of the Committee on the Marine Transportation System was approved by the CMTS Coordinating Board and transmitted to the Chair of the NOC. This document outlines the role of the CMTS in ocean policy, especially as an aid to the NOC in facilitating interagency collaboration and providing recommendations. This response was formulated with the help of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, U.S. Coast Guard, Office of the Secretary of Transportation, U.S. Maritime Administration, and U.S. Transportation Command.
  • July 2010: President Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13547: Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes. This executive order established the NOC, and placed an emphasis on environmental protections for the oceans, scientific exploration of the ocean, and promotion of public understanding. This executive order was closely aligned with the recommendations from the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force.
  • July 2010: Final Recommendations Of The Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force were presented to President Barack Obama by the White House Council on Environmental Quality. This set of final recommendations included an emphasis on environmental stewardship, the role of oceans in relation to the global economy, and a scientific understanding of ocean environments to inform policy.
  • January 2005: U.S. Ocean Action Plan was published by the Bush Administration to guide on national ocean policy. This plan built upon Executive Order 13366 and provided the following areas of focus: ocean leadership and coordination, understanding of oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes, use and conservation of ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources, managing coasts and watersheds, supporting maritime transportation, and international ocean science and policy.
  • June 2004: President George W. Bush signed Executive Order 13366 to establish the Committee on Ocean Policy. This body was developed to coordinate executive departments on ocean-related matters and is led by the Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. The committee was charged with focusing on the use of science, collection of information through structures like Global Earth Observation System of Systems, and dissemination of information.