Authorities and Mandates

  • Authorities for NOAA's International Activities
  • Statutes Mandating International Activities
  • Funding Mechanisms for International Activities
  • Policy Drivers for International Activities
  • Research Authorities
  • Statutes Which Authorize NOAA’s Capacity Building Activities
  • Statutory Authorities for NOAA’s International Activities -- This digest is intended to bring together those many instances in which Congress and the President have provided NOAA with specific authority and responsibility to pursue its global mission, bringing NOAA into direct contact with the governments, the regulatory and enforcement agencies, and the legal and scientific experts of other nations for the purpose of conserving and managing the treasures of the natural and cultural environment.

    Statutes Imposing Mandates on NOAA with Respect to International Activities -- The purpose of this digest is to identify and describe statutes that give nondiscretionary direction to the Secretary or directly to NOAA to undertake specific activities or to pursue a specific strategy in an international context.

    Statutes That Authorize a Transfer of Funds to Support International Engagement -- The purpose of this document is to catalogue existing statutory provisions that authorize the transfer of funds or other types of support either into or out of NOAA and that contemplate as at least one reason for such a transfer the advancement of NOAA’s international engagements and commitments.

    Policy Drivers for NOAA’s International Engagements -- The directives and planning documents catalogued in this digest include (a) orders and directives issued by the President to guide achievement of specific aspects of NOAA’s mission or to direct NOAA’s attention to the accomplishment of specific administration policy or global commitments; (b) Department of Commerce-wide or NOAA-wide strategic planning documents that clarify the organization’s mission and set a course for the future, particularly with respect to international engagements; and (c) line office strategic plans which translate legislative mandates and policy directives into a path forward to measurable success.


    Research Authorities -- The purpose of this Digest is to provide brief descriptions of those federal statutory provisions which authorize NOAA to undertake ongoing research activities in connection with both its overall mission and any of its authorized programs. These include all activities within the broad categories of both oceanic and atmospheric endeavor. The Digest summarizes research authorities that are current or ongoing. It includes not only provisions that call for a particular type of investigation, but it also includes authorizations to the establishment of a program or an office that may have some degree of discretion in pursuing particular projects within the parameters given by the statute. Thus, the Digest focuses on arrangements for research as well as on the actual conduct of research. This digest will always be a work-in-progress. New legislative initiatives and revisions to existing statutes will continue to emerge in this area of critically important endeavor.

    Statutes Which Authorize NOAA’s Capacity Building Activities – The purpose of this digest is to catalog existing statutory provisions which authorize NOAA to engage in efforts to build capacity within other nations – particularly developing countries.  In general, the “capacity” of a nation refers to its ability to solve its own problems, to maximize the use and sustainability of its resources, to protect itself against potential setbacks, and to achieve its objectives.  Capacity Building is a cooperative venture in which both the recipients of this unique form of aid and those rendering that aid contribute to an enduring outcome.

     Last updated August 28, 2017