The National Research Council was asked to review the draft Ocean Research Priorities Plan (ORPP), Charting the Course for Ocean Science in the United States: Research Priorities for the Next Decade. The development of the draft ORPP represents the first coordinated national research planning effort involving all federal agencies that support ocean science. The draft plan succeeds in a number of important ways: the central link between the ocean and society is clear and well articulated, the six broad themes around which the report is organized succeed in capturing the main ocean-related issues facing society in a comprehensive and coherent way, and the plan includes research priorities in the social sciences, a necessary component for improving ocean stewardship. The draft ORPP may be improved by the addition of (1) a bold and compelling vision for the future of ocean science research; (2) a more comprehensive description of the needs and opportunities for multidisciplinary research, as well as research partnerships; and (3) clearly stated goals, challenges, and research priorities and a description of how these relate to existing programs and new initiatives. Finally, the plan should be reorganized to include a discrete section devoted to cross-cutting elements that are central to the vision for ocean research. The cross-cutting themes should appear toward the beginning of the plan as a way to reinforce the importance of these elements in creating the foundation for progress on the societal themes.