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News | Oct. 6, 2009

Navy Supports the President's Ocean Policy Task Force

By Tracey Moriarty, Chief of Naval Operations Environmental Readiness Division Chief of Naval Operations Environmental Readiness Division

The U.S. Navy has joined other federal agencies in a task force led by the White House Council on Environmental Quality, or CEQ, to develop the nation's first unified ocean policy and marine spatial planning framework.

The ocean policy task force is led by CEQ chair Nancy Sutley and supported by senior-level officials from 24 executive departments and agencies across the federal government, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Interior, Department of Defense, U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Navy.

Navy representation to the task force includes the under secretary of the Navy, as well as staff from the Navy's environmental readiness division; information, plans and security division; and the office of the oceanographer of the Navy.

The task force has been engaging stakeholders and the public through roundtable sessions at CEQ headquarters and regional public hearings. To date, public hearings have been held in Anchorage (August 21), San Francisco (September 17), Providence, Rhode Island (September 24), and Honolulu (September 29). The final two public hearings will be held in New Orleans and Cleveland in October.

Rear Adm. Herman Shelanski, director of the environmental readiness division, recently supported two of the task force public hearings held in San Francisco and Providence.

"The U.S. Navy is committed to being responsible stewards of the environment. As such, we understand the importance of developing a new national ocean policy - one that includes ecosystem-based coastal and marine spatial planning and management in the United States," said Shelanski.

"We also believe such management should be balanced to maintain and enhance multiple ocean uses, including those that contribute to our nation's security and global stability," Shelanski added.

Rear Adm. Michael Giorgione, Pacific Fleet civil engineer and commander of Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific, participated in the public hearing held in Honolulu. He also endorsed the ocean policy task force efforts and highlighted the Navy's need for at-sea training.

"We need to maintain geographic flexibility in our training. This training must be continuous and realistic in order to maintain an effective fighting force and protect the safety of our deployed Sailors and Marines," said Giorgione.

The task force, established by President Obama via presidential memorandum on June 12, is charged with developing a recommendation for a national policy that ensures protection, maintenance, and restoration of oceans, our coasts and the Great Lakes. It will also recommend a framework for improved stewardship, and effective coastal and marine spatial planning. 

The task force will provide a final report with all of its recommendations later this year. 

"We look forward to continuing our work with CEQ, NOAA and the other federal agencies and departments of the task force to develop a comprehensive and balanced national ocean policy," Shelanski commented. 

For more news from Ocean Stewardship, visit