Future demands placed on the USGS can be expected to exceed the capacity of its financial and human resources. To a degree, the demands can be met by strengthening coordination and collaboration with other federal agencies, universities, and private industry and by creating a more agile and flexible work force. However, unless significant actions are taken soon to address human and financial resource issues, the USGS may be unable to meet all of its mission goals, respond rapidly to new challenges and opportunities, and transition toward becoming a natural science and information agency.

The USGS has established a good foundation on which to plan and build a successful future. In the future, the USGS will be asked increasingly to deal with questions about how natural systems affect human systems and how human actions modify natural systems. If it broadens the basis of inquiry to include integrative approaches involving natural and human sciences and becomes proficient at information management, the USGS will more fully realize its potential to provide the scientific information and knowledge essential to the future well-being of society.

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