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The United States Integrated Ocean Observing System(IOOS) is a user-driven, coordinated network of people, organizations, and technology that generate and disseminate continuous data about our coastal waters, great lakes, and oceans. IOOS is intended to be a major shift in approach to ocean observing, drawing together the vast network of disparate, federal and non-federal observing systems to produce a cohesive suite of data, information, and products at a sufficient geographic and temporal scale to support decision-making. As the system matures, IOOS is expected to advance beyond its current science and management applications toward an instrument of policy and governance. Current efforts only scratch the surface of what we need to know about our oceans and coasts to fully assess their impact on commerce and transportation, weather and climate, and ecosystems. The power of IOOS is in its partnerships. Seventeen United States federal agencies and eleven regional coastal ocean observing systems (RCOOSs) share responsibility for the design, implementation, operation, and improvement of the United States. IOOS over time. Two interdependent components constitute the United State IOOS: (1) global ocean component and (2) coastal component. The latter includes the national set of observations for the Great Lakes and the EEZ, as well as the network of RCOOSs. Federal agencies are responsible for the design, operation, and improvement of both the global component and the national network of observations. RCOOSs augment existing federal observing capacity around the nation and ensure strong customer focus and connection. Each RCOOS, which is comprised of a series of sub-regional observing systems, is designed and managed by a single regional association (RA).