The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Office of Marine and Aviation Operations (OMAO) manages and operates NOAA's fleet of 16 research and survey ships and nine aircraft. Comprised of civilians and officers of the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps, OMAO also manages the NOAA Diving Program, NOAA Small Boat Program and NOAA Aviation Safety Program. Rear Admiral Michael J. Silah serves as director of OMAO and the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps.
The OMAO Fleet
OMAO’s research and survey ships comprise the largest fleet of federal research ships in the Nation. Ranging from large oceanographic research vessels capable of exploring the world’s deepest ocean, to smaller ships responsible for charting the shallow bays and inlets of the United States, the fleet supports a wide range of marine activities including fisheries research, nautical charting, and ocean and climate studies.
OMAO’s aircraft operate throughout the world providing a wide range of capabilities including hurricane reconnaissance and research, marine mammal and fisheries assessment, and coastal mapping. NOAA aircraft carry scientists and specialized instrument packages to conduct research for NOAA’s missions.
OMAO is Responsive to Unpredictable Events
In addition to research and monitoring activities critical to NOAA’s mission, OMAO ships and aircraft provide immediate response capabilities for unpredictable events. Following hurricanes, NOAA ships conduct emergency surveys for navigation hazards that help ports reopen quickly. Aerial images of disaster-torn areas—taken by NOAA aircraft—enabled residents and emergency workers to verify the condition of houses, bridges and roads.
OMAO's Strategic Plan
On Oct. 7, 2020, OMAO released the. This plan delivers a framework for measurable, incremental progress towards our long-term objectives while meeting our short-term needs.