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Rear Admiral Michael Devany, the director of the Marine and Aviation Operations Center for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), told the MTD Executive Board that the agency is proud of its working relationship with the mariners who crew NOAA’s fleet as well as the unions who represent them.

Devany gave a detailed account of NOAA’s challenges and duties, and noted that the agency is an important source of jobs for U.S. civilian mariners.

“I believe in partnerships,” he said. “I look forward to having a positive relationship with all of you.”

In addition to monitoring the weather, NOAA is responsible for such things as marine chartering, fisheries management and supporting U.S. maritime commerce. NOAA personnel and equipment are stationed in every major U.S. homeport.

Devany candidly admitted that the NOAA’s major challenge is the agency’s federal budget.  NOAA, which has 20 vessels, is scheduled to lose four by the end of the year.  Another challenge is recruitment. NOAA needs to maintain its current high quality, and Devany noted that it is imperative that the agency work with maritime labor on this issue.