Homeland Security Program Office

NOAA's Role in Homeland Security


National Weather Service

National Weather Service- NWS provides weather, hydrologic, and climate forecasts and warnings for the United States, its territories, adjacent waters and ocean areas, for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy. NWS data and products form a national information database and infrastructure which can be used by other governmental agencies, the private sector, the public, and the global community.  NWS forecasters issue climate, public, aviation, marine, fire weather, air quality, space weather, river and flood forecasts and warnings every day.  NWS serves as the U.S. official voice for issuing warnings during life-threatening weather situations.

NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards - The NOAA National Weather Service broadcasts warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day via a nationwide network of radio stations. Working with the Federal Communication Commission's Emergency Alert System, the NOAA weather radio all hazards was leveraged to serve as an "all hazards" radio network for both natural (severe storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and volcanic activity) and environmental (chemical spills and bio-hazardous releases) events.

National Ocean Service

National Ocean Service - The National Ocean Service helps manage and preserve our nation's ocean and coasts. Its mission is to provide products, services, and information that promote safe navigation, support coastal communities, sustain marine ecosystems, and mitigate coastal hazards. In direct support of NOAA's homeland security effort, NOS provides accurate GPS technology and remote sensing capabilities, coastal mapping, oceanographic and meteorological information, emergency response surveys, and damage and recovery assessment in response to natural and man-induced disasters.

Navigation Services Division - NOAA operates six mobile Navigation Response Teams (NRT’s) positioned regionally throughout CONUS with the ability to make a 24-hour mobilization to conduct hydrographic surveys in response to coastal emergencies compromising the Nation’s Marine Transportation System (MTS).

National Geodetic Survey - NOAA continues to use Lidar elevation data and high quality aerial photography to collect data in support of homeland security surveys. Specifically, these technologies can be used to protect critical infrastructure, aid in disaster response and recovery efforts, verify dispersion modeling and provide support for special security events.

Office of Response and Restoration
- NOAA continues to help emergency managers and first responders plan for possible (or mitigate existing) chemical or biological spills near the coast using both its Computer-Aided Management of Emergency Operations and General NOAA Oil Modeling Environment models to predict the movement and environmental impact of such spills.

National Marine Fisheries Service

Office of Law Enforcement (OLE)
- OLE provides a full range of federal law enforcement services, includes patrols, investigations and surveillance activities, throughout the U.S. EEZ. Operate and manage the national satellite Vessel Monitoring System (VMS). NOAA's OLE is the lead agency responsible for the ecosystem protection and conservation of most of the US living marine resources. It is a national law enforcement agency with global responsibilities encompassing in excess of 3.4 m square miles of jurisdiction. OLE operates a national satellite based VMS providing near real-time surveillance of U.S. equipped fishing vessels. The OLE has 66 offices located throughout the US and US territories. It employs over 160 Criminal Investigators, 15 enforcement officers and 58 technical and support personnel. It consists of the HQ office based in Silver Spring, MD and six division offices located in Gloucester, MA; St. Petersburg, FL; Seattle, WA; Long Beach, CA; Honolulu, HI; and Juneau, AK

Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research - Air Resources Laboratory

UrbaNet - Monitoring stations have been installed in Washington, D.C., to support one of the first dispersion forecasting systems specifically designed for urban areas. Collectively, these stations — known as DCNet — collect and analyze meteorological data (including wind speed, direction and turbulence data) at frequent intervals to help define downwind areas of potential high risk. In so doing, DCNet is being used to help protect people from hazardous trace gases and particles dispersed in urban areas.

Air Dispersion Models - NOAA has also linked its three operational air dispersion models — the Areal Locations of Hazardous Atmospheres (ALOHA – local scale), Hazardous Atmospheric Release Modeling (HARM – urban scale), and Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory (HYSPLIT – regional scale) — to support emergency planners and first responders in detecting and tracking chemical and biological weapons in the atmosphere.

National Environmental Satellite and Information Service

NOAA Satellite and Information Service provides real-time satellite imagery to the Nation. Satellite images of weather events such as tornadic outbreaks, hurricanes, and data for weather forecasting are traditional applications. NOAA satellites also collect and provide data from in situ and mobile data collection platforms (e.g. land based weather/climate stations, tsunami buoys, and drifting ocean buoys). Weather data and images are also transmitted in easy to receive formats. These services are used by emergency managers throughout the US as well as other countries.

Through research, scientists have been able to detect and monitor hotspots from wildland fires, ocean temperatures, and volcanic ash clouds. Such capabilities also lend support to homeland security through providing critical weather information during events and plume dispersion modeling for tracking potentially hazardous plumes for example. In addition, the Satellite and Information Service archives environmental data from all types of platforms. Information on the local environmental statistics (average rainfall, prevailing wind directions, coastal salinity, local bathymetry) can help planners build or rebuild facilities to withstand certain types of events, relief workers to identify safe areas to establish shelters, city and county planners simulate the impacts that different types of events might have on their communities, and related activities. Please visit the NODC website for additional information on how they are helping with National Security.