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MITRE’s Response to Ocean Policy Committee’s RFI on National Strategy for Sustainable Ocean Economy

MITRE’s data-driven responses to an Executive Office of the President inquiry requesting input into drafting a National Strategy for a Sustainable Ocean Economy.

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What is the issue? “The Nation's ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes support strong local economies and provide good-paying jobs, healthy food, carbon storage, energy, recreation, culture and heritage, transportation, trade, mobility for our armed forces, natural protection from storm surge and floods, and numerous other benefits. But many of these benefits are not inexhaustible, and the ocean is vulnerable to the impacts of human activity.” (White House RFI)

What did we do? The Center for Data-Driven Policy led a cross-MITRE analysis of the Committee’s posed questions, seeking to uncover data and evidence from our work in the public interest that would help them understand opportunities and develop plans that are evidence-based, actionable, and effective.

What did we find? Our national economy has long depended on the ocean as an engine of innovation and economic growth and a vital resource to our entire global ecosystem. However, as climate change forces communities to adapt, and new offshore industries emerge, economic uncertainties in coastal regions are intensifying. Coastal regions face increased demands on finite ocean resources, workforce shortages and modern skills gaps, insufficient infrastructure to meet evolving needs, scarcity of new investment capital, and diversity and accessibility challenges. These challenges are intensified by climate-induced changes in maritime habitats and species behaviors as changing ocean chemistry and temperatures impact ocean life and distributions. If current trajectories continue without adaptation, the entire marine ecosystem is at risk and all communities—not just coastal—will face a major threat to their livelihoods.