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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Commissioned Corps

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Commissioned Corps
Active 1807[1] - today
Country United States of America
Branch Commissioned Corps
Type Uniformed service
Size 299 personnel[1]
19 ships, 14 aircraft[2]
Part of Department of Commerce
Headquarters Silver Spring, MD
Colors Blue & Gold          
March Forward with NOAA
Director, NOAA Commissioned Corps RADM Jonathan W. Bailey
Director, Marine and Aviation Operations Centers RDML Philip M. Kenul
Director, Commissioned Personnel Center CAPT Raymond C. Slagle
RADM Evelyn J. Fields
RADM Samuel P. De Bow, Jr.
Aircraft flown
Reconnaissance WP-3D, AC-500S, AC-695A, G-IV, CE-550, DHC-6

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps (NOAA Corps) is a federal uniformed service operating under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is a scientific agency under the United States Department of Commerce. The NOAA Corps is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, having approximately 317 commissioned officers and no enlisted or warrant officer ranks.

Flag of the NOAA Commissioned Corps



The NOAA Commissioned Corps, established in 1917 as the Coast and Geodetic Survey Corps, and then as the Environmental Science Services Administration (ESSA) Corps from 1965-1970, traces its roots back to the former U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, which dates to 1807 under President Thomas Jefferson. Coast and Geodetic Survey officers were commissioned so that under the laws of war, they could not be executed as spies if they were serving as surveyors on a battlefield.

The NOAA Corps today provides a cadre of professionals trained in engineering, earth sciences, oceanography, meteorology, fisheries science, and other related disciplines. Officers operate ships, fly aircraft, manage research projects, conduct diving operations, and serve in staff positions throughout NOAA.

Commissioned officers

The NOAA Corps uses the same commissioned officer ranks as the United States Navy and Coast Guard. While the rank of admiral has been authorized for use by the NOAA Corps, no officer in its history has held that rank.[4] The rank of vice admiral exists but requires congressional approval for re-activation; the only officer to hold that rank was H. Arnold Karo in 1965. Current NOAA Corps ranks rise from ensign to rear admiral, pay grades O-1 through O-8 respectively. NOAA Corps officers are appointed via direct commission and receive the same pay as other members of the uniformed services. They can not hold a dual commission with another service but inter-service transfers are permitted.

Commissioned Officer Ranks and Abbreviations of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps
Vice Admiral
(inactive grade)
Rear Admiral Rear Admiral
(lower half)
O-9 O-8 O-7 O-6
USA - NOAA - O9 insignia.png USA - NOAA - O8 insignia.png USA - NOAA - O7 insignia.png USA - NOAA - O6 insignia.png
Commander Lieutenant
Lieutenant Lieutenant
(junior grade)
O-5 O-4 O-3 O-2 O-1
USA - NOAA - O5 insignia.png USA - NOAA - O4 insignia.png USA - NOAA - O3 insignia.png USA - NOAA - O2 insignia.png USA - NOAA - O1 insignia.png


For formal service uniforms, the NOAA Corps wears the same Service Dress Blues and Service Dress Whites as the Navy, but with NOAA Corps insignia in place of Navy insignia. For daily work uniforms, the NOAA Corps wears the same Operational Dress Uniform (ODU) as the Coast Guard, but with NOAA Corps insignia in place of Coast Guard insignia.

See also


External links

This article incorporates material taken from the public domain website of the NOAA Corps.



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