The President, acting through the Council, shall establish a National Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System to fulfill the purposes set forth in section 3601 of this title and the System Plan and to fulfill the Nation’s international obligations to contribute to the Global Earth Observation System of Systems and the Global Ocean Observing System.
The head of each Federal agency that has administrative jurisdiction over a Federal asset shall support the purposes of this chapter and may take appropriate actions to enhance internal agency administration and management to better support, integrate, finance, and utilize observation data, products, and services developed under this section to further its own agency mission and responsibilities.
The head of each Federal agency that has administrative jurisdiction over a Federal asset shall make available data that are produced by that asset and that are not otherwise restricted for integration, management, and dissemination by the System for research and for use in the development of products to address societal needs.
Non-Federal assets shall be coordinated, as appropriate, by the Interagency Ocean Observing Committee or by regional coastal observing systems.
The Council shall establish or designate a committee, which shall be known as the “Interagency Ocean Observation Committee”.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shall function as the lead Federal agency for the implementation and administration of the System.
In carrying out this paragraph, the Administrator shall consult with the Council, the Interagency Ocean Observation Committee, other Federal agencies that maintain portions of the System, and the regional coastal observing systems.
For the purposes of this chapter, employees of Federal agencies are permitted to be members of the governing body for the regional coastal observing systems and may participate in the functions of the regional coastal observing systems.
The Administrator shall establish or designate a System advisory committee, which shall provide advice as may be requested by the Administrator or the Council under this chapter.
The System advisory committee shall be composed of members appointed by the Administrator. Members shall be qualified by education, training, and experience to evaluate scientific and technical information related to the design, operation, maintenance, or use of the System, or use of data products provided through the System.
The Administrator may stagger the terms of the System advisory committee members. Members shall be appointed for 3-year terms, renewable once. A vacancy appointment shall be for the remainder of the unexpired term of the vacancy, and an individual so appointed may subsequently be appointed for 2 full 3-year terms if the remainder of the unexpired term is less than 1 year.
The Administrator shall designate a chairperson from among the members of the System advisory committee.
Members of the System advisory committee shall be appointed as special Government employees for purposes of section 202(a) of title 18.
The System advisory committee shall report to the Administrator, as appropriate.
The Administrator shall provide administrative support to the System advisory committee.
The System advisory committee shall meet at least once each year, and at other times at the call of the Administrator, the Interagency Ocean Observation Committee, or the chairperson.
Members of the System advisory committee shall not be compensated for service on that Committee, but may be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, in accordance with subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5.
Section 14 of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) shall not apply to the System advisory committee.
For purposes of determining liability arising from the dissemination and use of observation data gathered pursuant to this section, any non-Federal asset or regional coastal observing system incorporated into the System by a memorandum of agreement of certification under subsection (c)(3)(C)(iii) that is participating in the System shall be considered to be part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Any employee of such a non-Federal asset or regional coastal observing system, while operating within the scope of his or her employment in carrying out the purposes of this chapter, with respect to tort liability, is deemed to be an employee of the Federal Government.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to invalidate existing certifications, contracts, or agreements between regional coastal observing systems and other elements of the System.