Date of Award

Summer 1996

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Engineering Management & Systems Engineering


Engineering Management

Committee Director

Frederick Steier

Committee Member

Abel A. Fernandez

Committee Member

Charles B. Keating

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.E555 M37


The NOAA Corps is a uniformed service of the Federal Government. It is composed of officers commissioned by the President of the United States as are the officers of the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy, and Public Health Service. "NOAA" is the acronym for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce.

On January 24, 1996 the Clinton administration formally proposed that the NOAA Corps be terminated on October 1, 1996. If this were to become reality it would be the first time in U.S. History that a uniformed service has been eliminated, a precedence setting action that has implications which may ripple throughout the other branches of federal service.

This thesis is a phenomenological study about how the decision to terminate the NOAA Corps has been received by the Officers of the NOAA Corps. It is written from the point of view of an officer, impacted by the proposal, who employs an action research process with in-depth interviews, literature review, and autobiographical reflections. Written within the framework of an organizational scan, the initial phase of a socio-technological analysis, the author first describes NOAA and the NOAA Corps. He then explores, with heuristic perspectives, how the news about the impending "death" of the NOAA Corps has been received among the men and women who serve NOAA.

The phenomenon is presented in the manner of a sea story (the traditional, metaphoric means of imparting knowledge among sailors), rather than employing a more typical thesis format. The author relates observed sociological behaviors within a cataloging system based on the psychological stages of grief, (Anger, Denial, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance) described in Elisabeth Kubler-Ross' book, On Death and Dying.


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