The Framework for Ocean Observation (FOO) (Lindstrom et al., 2012) defines a set of key processes to guide the ocean observing community toward the establishment of an integrated, sustained ocean observing system with fit-for-purpose data/information streams for societal and scientific benefit. It provides a set of overarching principles and conceptual structures useful in guiding the coherent development of ocean observing systems and coordinating their supporting data infrastructures in a manner that mitigates the aforementioned structural issues. The FOO is based on observing system success stories and best practices, a collaboration-focused governance structure, and the concept of Essential Ocean Variables (EOVs). Global progress is measured through maturity/readiness levels which are central organizing principles for the establishment of coherent requirements for observing system elements consistent with systems engineering approaches. The FOO also highlights the critical role of data management and data interoperability standards in addressing the enormous challenge of open access to harmonized, integrated data across a very diverse ocean observing “system of systems,” comprised of multi-scale, multiplatform/ sensor observations supporting various applications and science domains.