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Office of Common Services

To develop agile, scalable ground capability to improve efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery.

The OCS plans and executes common services for NOAA’s satellite, data, and information capabilities. These are critical to acquiring, processing and managing the environmental data from NOAA’s satellite missions, for facilitating access to non-NOAA domestic and international satellites and commercially-acquired data, and for stewarding and providing long-term archive services for all approved NOAA and external partner data. The core responsibilities of OCS include planning, acquisition, development, integration, transition to operations, and sustainment of common ground services. OCS provides engineering and project management for ground systems/services design, development, integration and testing, migration of on-premise capabilities to a public cloud solution, and associated infrastructure. In addition, POCS participates in system verification and validation efforts, as well as life cycle reviews for major satellite acquisition programs and projects.

The OCS collaborates with the: 

  • Office of System Architecture and Advanced Planning (OSAAP) to define the future ground architecture and enterprise requirements that flow to OCS, including product requirements; 
  • Assistant Chief Information Officer - Satellites (ACIO-S) for the security of common ground services, networks, and emerging technologies; 
  • Office of Satellite and Product Operations (OSPO) for sustainment of space-ground communication assets, sustainment of legacy product generation and distribution systems, and operations and sustainment of emerging capabilities and migrating capabilities to the cloud; 
  • Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR) for developing and transitioning scientific algorithms/products into operations and developing and sustaining development and research infrastructure in the cloud;
  • National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) for developing and transitioning scientific algorithms/products/services into operations, and for the long-term archive and stewardship of NOAA’s environmental information;
  • Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS), the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES), and the Office of Projects, Planning and Analysis (OPPA) for developing and implementing common services for NOAA and partner satellite missions and developing products and services to support the satellite missions as well as enterprise requirements.

The OCS relies on base Procurement, Acquisition and Construction (PAC) funding to provide sustainment of product processing and distribution systems, archive systems, the cloud infrastructure and funding to migrate to, and develop capability in the cloud. The OSGS also receives funding from other Offices/Centers to develop products and services.


Mission Areas

NESDIS Common Cloud Framework (NCCF)

To build out, sustain, and optimize the NCCF and migrate capability to common services. The mission lead/POC is Chris O'Connors.

  • Initially includes functional areas of ingest, product generation, product distribution and access, and archive.
  • Continue to optimize capability migrated to the NCCF.
  • Expand the NCCF to include other elements of the NESDIS enterprise (e.g., components of mission management).

Product Portfolio Management

To lead product portfolio management and the transition to operations of science applications across the organization. The mission lead/POC is Walter Wolf.

  • Work with OSAAP, STAR, NCEI, OPSO, and programs to develop plans and priorities and manage product funding.

On-Premise Systems

To develop, sustain, and optimize enterprise on-premise systems. The mission lead/POC is Liliana Alvarado.

  • Includes ESPDS, CLASS, and RFIMS, as well as efforts to transition our antenna assets to an enterprise capability.

NESDIS Ground Enterprise

To support definition and evolution to the future NESDIS ground enterprise. The mission lead/POC is Ken Watts.

  • Support OSAAP’s NESDIS Ground Enterprise Study (NGES) to inform the post-2030 ground architecture.

Our Values

OCS will encompass the NESDIS Operating Principles, and management and staff will adopt the following values:

Bring Value

  • Bring value to teams on which we participate; treat people with dignity and respect.
  • Gain Knowledge and provide expertise in relevant areas.
  • Negotiate and keep our commitments.
  • Do the right thing for NESDIS and our stakeholders.
  • Provide honest assessments.
  • Take ownership.
  • Continually ask, “is what I’m doing valuable?”

Challenge Traditions

  • Innovate and be agile.
  • Shift existing paradigms.

Empower Your Team

  • Empower staff with and delegate authority to the lowest level practical.

Be Proactive

  • Proactively communicate internally within the organization and teams and externally to stakeholders.




Heather Kilcoyne
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Kathryn Shontz
Deputy Director
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NESDIS Cloud Training
Cloud Role-Based Training Curriculums are designed to ensure that Federal teams have a pathway for Cloud training as NESDIS migrates to the Cloud using SAFe, Agile, and DevOps processes and principles.
Cloud Role-Based Training Curriculums

End of Year Reports

Please download the OCS End of Year Report below to see highlights of our 2021 and 2022 accomplishments