the study of ocean physical
characteristics (salinity, temperature, etc.), dynamics,
chemistry, biology, and geophysics and their influences
on surface and underwater operations.
Meteorology: the analysis of atmospheric effects (clouds, winds, moisture, etc.) on airborne and surface systems.
Hydrography and Geospacial Information and Services (GI&S): the measuring and charting of coastal and deep ocean waters, and of their gravity and magnetic variations, to allow safe and effective operation and navigation of forces involved in amphibious, surface, and submarine warfare.
Astrometry: the science of precisely determining the position and motion of the sun, moon, stars, and planets for use in navigation and guidance systems.
Precise Time and Time Interval (PTTI): the process of establishing and maintaining the nation's precision time reference - the Master Clock - which uses resonating atoms to measure time to within nearly a billionth of a second per day, and disseminating time for both military and civil use. The U. S. Naval Observatory (reporting to the Oceanographer of the Navy) administers the programs in precise time and astrometry, publishes navigation almanacs, and determines earth orientation in space. These data are essential for navigation and targeting at sea, in the air, and in space.
In late 1995, mindful that the likely focus of future naval
operations would be the shallow coastal waters of the
world, the Navy's Chief of Naval Operations signed out a
new policy for naval oceanography (the first such
revision in 10 years). Among other things, it emphasizes
that, in addition to deep-water missions, naval
oceanographers must master the complicated tangle of
problems that make up the science of the littoral, or
near-shore areas: tidal pulses, beach profiles, reefs,
bars, shallows, shoals, channels, sediment transport,
fine-scale hydrography, turbidity, land cover and
terrain, dust, traffic, rain rates, river run-off,
sub-bottom characteristics, and biologics, as well as the
complex weather patterns inherent in any coastal area.
Navy's new focus on littoral operations has created a
large backlog of high-priority oceanographic,
hydrographic, and geophysical survey requirements. To
carry out this mission, we employ traditional means
(ships, boats, planes), and new technologies (satellite,
remote sensors, etc.), while leveraging the resources of
other national and international agencies.