Expert Report

Each report is produced by a committee of experts selected by the Academy to address a particular statement of task and is subject to a rigorous, independent peer review; while the reports represent views of the committee, they also are endorsed by the Academy. Learn more on our expert consensus reports.

Accurate and timely environmental information can provide a tactical advantage to U.S. naval forces during warfare. During the last three centuries, the U.S. Navy has placed an emphasis on understanding and characterizing their surroundings. In recent decades, the development and implementation of multifaceted weapons systems have driven the need for accurate environmental information. This report analyzes the current environmental information system used by the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps and recommends ways to address uncertainty and leverage network-centric operating principles to enhance the U.S. Navy's ability to meet its need for timely and accurate environmental information about the battleground.

Key Messages

  • New approaches will be needed to provide METOC customers with information and knowledge more rapidly, anywhere, and at any time. This will require new ways to collect the necessary data, new ways to analyze those data to create and present information, and new ways to deliver or make available that information worldwide to advantaged and disadvantaged users alike.
  • The intended consumers of this information include decisionmakers facing a variety of complex choices, some of which may be significantly affected by environmental processes operating at a variety of temporal and spatial scales.
  • The naval METOC enterprise is a complex system of platforms, personnel, and computer systems designed to support operations carried out by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps by producing high-quality tailored environmental information products.
  • METOC must also examine how it will support the future.