The Clean Air Act Amendments (CAAA) of 1990 have established selected comprehensive, three-dimensional, Photochemical Air Quality Simulation Models (PAQSMs) as the required regulatory tools for analyzing the urban and regional problem of high ambient ozone levels across the United States. These models are currently applied to study and establish strategies for meeting the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ozone in nonattainment areas; State Implementation Plans (SIPs) resulting from these efforts must be submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) in November 1994. The following presentation provides an overview and discussion of the regulatory ozone modeling process and its implications. First, the PAQSM-based ozone attainment demonstration process is summarized in the framework of the 1994 SIPs. Then, following a brief overview of the representation of physical and chemical processes in PAQSMs, the essential attributes of standard modeling systems currently in regulatory use are presented in a nonmathematical, self-contained format, intended to provide a basic understanding of both model capabilities and limitations. The types of air quality, emission, and meteorological data needed for applying and evaluating PAQSMs are discussed, as well as the sources, availability, and limitations of existing databases. The issue of evaluating a model's performance in order to accept it as a tool for policy making is discussed, and various methodologies for implementing this objective are summarized. Selected interim results from diagnostic analyses, which are performed as a component of the regulatory ozone modeling process for the Philadelphia-New Jersey region, are also presented to provide some specific examples related to the general issues discussed in this work. Finally, research needs related to a) the evaluation and refinement of regulatory ozone modeling, b) the characterization of uncertainty in photochemical modeling, and c) the improvement of the model-based ozone-attainment demonstration process are presented to identify future directions in this area.