strong commitment to increasing its coordination and collaboration with federal agencies and with academia and industry as well. Cooperative programs with regional, state, and local governments and with other entities can be helpful too. However, great care should be taken to ensure that reimbursable contracts meet mission and strategic plan objectives and that they do not compete unfairly with state or other organizations.
An overarching management issue is the agency's budget. Since 1974, the agency's budget has remained roughly constant even though the tasks of the agency have increased. At a time when the agency is being ask to provide effective solutions to complex problems, the USGS must be effective in requesting increased funding, especially for a long-term core research program. Without adequate funding to support the research emphases outlined in this report, problems associated with such issues as natural hazards and water scarcity will remain understudied, with profound affects on the welfare of the citizens of the United States. The committee also recommends that discretionary funds be available to the director of the USGS as a way to mobilize new integrative science initiatives as needed.