The NOAA Fleet Plan: Building NOAA's 21st Century Fleet
NOAA’s ships face challenges similar to other observational infrastructure: requirements, age and obsolescence, and finite resources for recapitalization. Since 2008, the NOAA Fleet has decreased from 21 ships to 16 currently operational ships. Without recapitalization, the NOAA Fleet will be reduced to half its current size by 2028. NOAA has continually worked to optimize its fleet capabilities by collaborating with other agencies in the Federal Oceanographic Fleet and by evaluating and implementing best operational practices and has planned for the future fleet through extensive requirements and capability reviews. In May 2016, NOAA established a team of experts from across the NOAA line offices to create a fleet recapitalization plan that documents the extent to which at-sea data requirements are currently being addressed and describes the capability gap that will exist absent fleet recapitalization. This report is the result of their work.