The close coordination of program planning among the agencies that support

The close coordination of program planning among the

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system science research are contingent upon close coordination between research, modeling, and observations. The close coordination of program planning among the agencies that support these activities is also a necessity. This coordination currently appears to be fragile. The effect of significant redirections in NASA and reduction in NASA's Earth science effort are equally worrisome in the case of the Administration's GEOSS initiative, which is focused on improving the international coordination of environmental observing systems. Both NASA and NOAA satellite programs are vital to this effort. The science community is very supportive of the GEOSS concept and goals. There are over 100 space-based remote-sensing systems that are either operating or planned by various nations for the next decade. Collaboration among space systems, between space- and ground-based systems, and between suppliers and users of observational data is critical to avoiding duplication of effort and to getting the most out of the investments in observing technology. The tragic example of the Indian Ocean Tsunami demonstrates the need for such coordination. The tsunami was detected and observed before hitting land, but the absence of effective communication links prevented warnings from reaching those who needed them in time. A functioning GEOSS could lead to major improvements in the rapid availability of data and warnings, and the U.S. is right to make development of such a system a priority. But U.S. credibility and leadership of this initiative will be called into question if our nation is unable or unwilling to coordinate and maintain the U.S. programs that make up the core of our proposed contribution. D. Answers to Questions Posed by the Committee My testimony to this point has outlined my views on a series of key issues for the NASA Earth science program. Much of the text found above is relevant to consideration of the specific questions posed by the Committee in its letter of invitation. In this section, I provide more direct answers to these questions to the extent possible and appropriate. How should NASA prioritize currently planned and future missions? What criteria should NASA use in doing so? I believe that NASA should work with the scientific and technical community and its partner agencies to define a NASA Earth science plan that is fully compatible with the overall CCSP and GEOSS science strategies. In my view, the interaction with the scientific and technical community should include both input from and review by the National Research Council (NRC) and direct interaction with the strong national community of Earth science investigators and the aerospace industry who are very familiar with NASA capabilities and developing technological opportunities. Competitive peer review processes should be used appropriately in assessing the merit of competing approaches and in key decision- making. I believe NASA should also find a means of involving users and potential users of NASA-generated data in this process, perhaps through public comment periods or a series of workshops. Sufficient time should be allotted to this process for a careful and deliberative evaluation of options. This science plan
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