The Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) requires that certain procedures be followed whenever a Federal agency seeks the consensus advice of a group external to the Federal government. The purpose of FACA is to provide uniform standards for the operation of advisory committees used in the executive branch and to ensure public access to and knowledge of their deliberations. The following describes NOAA’s existing Federal Advisory Committees (FACs).
ACCRES advises NOAA on “matters relating to the U.S. commercial remote-sensing industry and NOAA’s activities to carry out the responsibilities…set forth in the Land Remote Sensing Policy Act of 1992” and in particular the provisions of this act having to do with licensing of private remote sensing space systems. ACCRES has 13 members (charter requires 12–15) selected to carry out these functions.
The National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee was established under the Department of Commerce in December 2010 and is supported through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It is a federal advisory committee established as per the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972. The Committee serves to oversee the activities of the National Climate Assessment.
HSRP established by the NOAA Hydrographic Services Improvement Act. The HSRP is directed to provide advice to the Under Secretary on all authorities related to hydrographic surveys. For example, the scope of HSRP includes hydrographic surveying, nautical charting, water level measurements, and geodetic measurements; the scope also includes operations, research, development, and dissemination of these data.
MAFAC established by the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) on February 17, 1971, to advise the Secretary on all living marine resource matters that are the responsibility of DOC. This committee advises and reviews the adequacy of living marine resource policies and programs to meet the needs of commercial and recreational fisheries, and environmental, State, consumer, academic, tribal, governmental, and other national interests. The committee charter and summaries of former meetings are available online.
MPAFAC established by Executive Order 13158, “Marine Protected Areas” (MPAs), which establishes policy for protecting “the significant natural and cultural resources within the marine environment for the benefit of present and future generations by strengthening and expanding the Nation’s system of marine protected areas.” The MPAFAC has 25 members.
SAB an external 15-member Federal Advisory Committee composed of eminent scientists, engineers, resource managers, and educators, advises NOAA on long- and short-range strategies for research, education, and the application of science to resource management and environmental assessment and prediction. The SAB assists NOAA in maintaining a current understanding of scientific issues critical to the agency’s mission. Members are appointed by the Under Secretary to serve a three-year term, with the possibility of renewing once.
SGRP established in 1976 and is authorized by statute (33 U.S.C. 1128) to advise the Secretary of Commerce, NOAA’s Administrator, and the NOAA Sea Grant Director on the direction, operations, and performance of the National Sea Grant College Program. The Panel comprises 15 members with expertise in marine science and with diverse backgrounds related to ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources.