A coherent strategy that enables the integration of marine data streams across disciplines, institutions, time scales, and geographic regions is central to the success of IOOS and other regional, national, and international ocean and coastal observing systems. The system that must be developed, while challenging, is within the scope of current information technology (IT). It can be developed by building upon existing capabilities through relatively straightforward software engineering. The greatest challenge to enhancing marine data integration is one of coordination and cooperation among the members of IOOS and its user communities.
Building DMAC requires providing standards and management capacity for the 26 core ocean observing variables. This will be accomplished by providing “capability packages” to meet priority societal benefit areas. Capability packages would include core variables, their associated data structures, and key data providers necessary to meet the needs of data users. Selections and sequencing will be guided by identifying which capability packages support the most societal goals. Once a capability package has been selected for build-out the goal is not integrate every data provider or support every data structure. Instead the objective is to provide the most significant benefit with the least possible effort. Data structures will be evaluated based on the number of data providers and data users supported. Likewise, data providers will be prioritized for integration based on both the quantity and geographic distribution of available data.
Steps in focus-area centric approach:
1) Identify the sequence of targeted societal benefit areas and select a single focus area.
2) Identify the core variables related to each focus area.
3) Convene a work group for the first focus area.
4) Work group identifies known data providers and their supported data structures
5) Assess current observing capability and assess cost of filling identified gaps
6) Analyze effort versus benefits to determine the sequence for developing data structures, core variables, and data providers.
7) Plan and execute development of the DMAC focus area capability
8) Repeat process for next focus area 
 National Office for Integrated and Sustained Ocean Observations, An Integrated and Sustained Ocean Observing System (IOOS) for the United States: Design and Implementation, Ocean.US Publication, May 2002
 U.S. IOOS Program Office, U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System: A Blueprint for Full Capability, Version 1, November 2010