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The Global Ocean Observing System is a study by the Ocean Studies Board intended to provide information and advice to federal agencies (the U.S. GOOS Interagency ad hoc Working Group) to help define and implement an effective, affordable, and customer-based U.S. contribution to GOOS. In particular, the committee was asked to provide advice to U.S. agencies regarding a practical concept for GOOS, identify potential applications and users of GOOS during the next 3 to 5 years and beyond, recommend appropriate roles for industry and academia in GOOS, and prioritize observational and infrastructure activities that should be undertaken or continued by the United States in its initial commitments to GOOS. In response to its charge, the committee reviewed the status of GOOS planning and implementation at both the national and international levels, invited presentations by relevant federal agencies and members of the private sector, and examined the range of potential uses and benefits of products derived from information to be collected by GOOS. Finally, the committee drew upon this information and its own expertise to develop a number of recommendations intended to help move the implementation of GOOS forward.