From the common and recognizable occurrence of convection, to the sporadic and far less visible reach of volcanic ash, meteorological phenomena impose diverse challenges to the efficiency, economic viability, and safety of flight operations across the global oceans. Those challenges are compounded by special difficulties associated with nowcasting and forecasting for remote areas, such as expansive voids in surface observations and soundings, large forecast domains, communications difficulties, and long-duration flights often needing significant forecast updates. Conspicuously lacking over oceans are the observational capabilities that provide key information about the internal structure of convection - notably radar and lightning detection systems. The long-term oceanic weather development program (OW) outlined here seeks to use improved understanding of the phenomenology of oceanic weather hazards along with new observations, model information and processing tools to fashion automated forecast/briefing products supporting remote oceanic routes. A parallel OW objective (outlined by Lindholm and Bums, 2002, this conference volume) supports in-flight product transfer to the cockpit. Established in March, 2001, the OW program is still in its infancy. Thus, we concentrate here upon strategy and the scientific basis for our plans. Although our work has begun with a focus on low and middle latitudes (Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico regions), increasing use of polar routes is likely to raise the priority for products tailored to high latitude regions over the next several years.