The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy held its first organizational meeting on September 17 and 18 in Washington, D.C., and appointed James Watkins, a retired U.S. Navy admiral and former secretary of energy under (former) President George Bush, to chair the commission.

Created through the Oceans Act of 2000, the commission is charged with reviewing the effects of federal ocean-related laws and programs, and with assessing the relationship of various governmental and private sector groups in carrying out ocean- and coastal-related activities. The commission is considered to be a new “Stratton Commission.” The original Stratton Commission completed a similar broad review of U.S. ocean laws and policies in 1969 under the authority of the Marine Resources and Engineering Development Act of 1966.