Marian Westley, Ph.D., is the acting director of the Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS), the nation’s authoritative source for accurate, reliable, and timely water level and current measurements. In this role, she manages and advances a 24-hour operation to provide mariners, coastal managers, and other users with historic, real-time, and prediction data for ocean conditions along America's 95,000-mile coastline.
Dr. Westley has over 20 years of experience at NOAA. She joined CO-OPS in 2017 as deputy director, where she managed an annual operating budget of approximately $40.5 million and led a blended workforce of approximately 150 federal and 65 contract employees. Before transitioning to acting director, she worked to establish operational policies and guidelines and led and participated in short- and long-range strategic, tactical, and program planning.
Prior to CO-OPS, Dr. Westley was selected for the tenth cohort of NOAA's Leadership Competencies Development Program, where she completed developmental assignments as the deputy director of the Climate Program Office in the Office for Oceanic and Atmospheric Research and as the NOAA liaison to the Department of Defense’s Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program. In both assignments, she worked on the intersection between climate change and national security.
From 2014 to 2016, Dr. Westley served as senior advisor to the NOAA chief scientist, Dr. Rick Spinrad. In that capacity, she worked on the transition of research to operations and applications, rewriting NOAA’s formal policies on research and development (R&D) and the transition of R&D to operations, applications, and other uses. She also wrote NOAA’s first-ever Strategic Research Guidance Memorandum and helped write the Chief Scientist’s Annual Report.
Dr. Westley joined NOAA through the Office of Education’s Graduate Sciences Program. She began her NOAA career at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) in the Office for Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. At GFDL, she focused on climate science and policy, coordinating budget formulation for several climate research and modeling entities, serving on the writing team proposing a new Climate Service in NOAA, and providing advice to the U.S. government on proposals for climate engineering.
Dr. Westley has a Bachelor of Arts in physics and English from Yale University. She earned a Master of Science and Ph.D. in oceanography and a Graduate Certificate in ocean policy from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She feels like she has found her home in the National Ocean Service — and specifically in CO-OPS, an organization that combines support for operational oceanography and maritime safety with services that allow communities to become climate ready in the face of sea level rise.