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5. SUMMARY OF NEEDS AND RECOMMENDATIONS SUMMARY OF NEEDS International geoscience activities are required and needed more than ever before to support U.S. economic interests by adequate use of geoscientists in U.S. international programs, and to advance our basic scientific knowledge. Our report emphasizes the breadth of international geoscience involvement in the advancement of American __ and societal interests. From consultation with geoscientists from government, industry, and academia, the committee has identified many areas where U.S. geoscience personnel are inadequately utilized, geoscience information is not economic fully exploited, and support for basic geoscience research can be improved. Some of the important areas that should be strengthened are as follows: 1. The use of international geoscience in development and implementation of foreign policy. (a) Develop procedures for routinely identifying geoscience contributions in policy issues. (b) Develop mechanisms for interagency coordination, policy review, and implementation. (c) Define new initiatives in foreign policy based on geoscience considerations. Inasmuch as this application involves foreign policy, the Department of State must play a key role in these efforts. Implementation will require enhanced funding for the recruitment of geoscience professionals by the Department of State. 2. The use of international geoscience in U.S. economic interests. (a) Improve competitive status abroad. (b) Improve flow and exchange of relevant geoscience information by scientific attache and regional resource officer programs. (In this connection the committee commends the Department of State's recent decision to provide more training for--and increase the responsibilities of--its regional resource officers.) 37
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38 3. Expanded international support for basic geoscience by American researchers. (a) Increase our capacity for geoscience consultation and assistance through scientific exchange. (b) Provide more adequate support for existing and future science and technology agreements. (c) Become further involved and provide greater support for intergovernmental organizations and international scientific organizations. (d) Enhance expertise in global geoscience, and stimulate international research. A number of agencies are concerned, but a revival and an expansion of NSF, NASA, and ICSU activities are obviously needed here. Support for other international geoscience activities. (a) Develop new initiatives in Third World countries. (b) Facilitate publication and distribution of Third World maps, reports, and translations of geoscience data. (c) Develop a centralized inventory and coordination facility for: (i) map storage and availability inventory, (ii) a report library that includes, for example, papers in nonrefereed journals and open-file reports, (iii~data systems, including commodities and satellite information, and (iv) a roster of U.S. research and research workers involved in foreign projects. Strengthening some of the above-mentioned areas at a time of severe budget constraints without seriously damaging other important programs will require careful and skillful action. In some cases, substantial gains can be made without significant funding changes. For example, a post in a foreign country might be filled by someone with geological training rather than by a nonspecialist. An American geologist might be hired instead of a foreign geologist. A premises might be placed on foreign service as a step in a geological career in government agencies. In other cases' modest increments in funding might be used effectively and with great leverage. Finally, a small amount of money spent to bring American and foreign geoscientists together for planning sessions can stimulate substantial active bilateral or multilateral projects. RECOMMENDATIONS Having considered the importance of international geoscience programs in formulating and implementing some foreign policy issues, in advancing U.S. political, economic, and scientific interests abroad, and in providing information on world resources, programs, and institutions, the committee believes that support for international geoscience should be given higher priority in allocating funds and in developing and coordinating international geoscience activities of
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39 federal agencies. Accordingly, the committee recommends that federal funding for international geoscience activities should be increased. The range of activities that should be strengthened and improved is so broad that no existing group or organization is equipped to advise, recommend, or implement all the necessary changes, which include strengthening geoscience assistance and cooperation; establishing and coordinating the flow of geological resource information from abroad to meet our scientific, economic, and political needs; and increasing support for basic geoscience research. We need a long-term mechanism for overseeing current and future needs. Therefore the committee recommends the establishment of an American Office of Global Geosciences. Such an office would be a small nongovernmental organization that would be concerned with geoscience activities on an international scale, and would be supported by both public and private funds. Important activities could include the following: (1) to identify the international interests of the United States that can be fostered and maintained through geoscience activities abroad and to help implement the specific types of activity required to do so; (2) to define mechanisms to strengthen and coordinate U.S. geoscience programs abroad; (3) to plan a centralized mechanism for systematically acquiring and inventorying geological maps, reports, and raw data on foreign geology and resources; and (4) to serve as a central office for international geoscience information and contacts to advance basic research. An office would be an efficient way to coordinate and focus efforts of the wide variety of international geoscience activities. Most important, it would provide daily attention to these matters rather than intermittent consideration by separate or ad hoc groups. Suggestions on the activities to be undertaken by the office should come, not only from the entire geoscience community, but from other interested parties as well. The areas that are listed here as needing strengthening are regarded as only examples of some of the contemporary issues that should come under the purview of the office. The issues will change constantly. Through constant monitoring of the international geoscience scene, the office could be prepared to make recommendations before crises develop and reaction to crises would be based on sufficient background information. The committee has determined that both governmental and nongovernmental interests abroad are so intimately involved with, and served by, international geoscience programs and activities, that support from both governmental and nongovernmental sources should be solicited in strengthening such programs and activities. Moreover the committee has had expressions of interest in support of the office from both petroleum and mining companies. To facilitate the planning of programs and activities that serve both governmental and nongovernmental groups and that will lead to support from both, the committee further recommends that the advisory group for the Office include both governmental and nongovernmental representation. Governmental agencies that would be especially concerned would include the Department of State, the Department of Interior (USGS and U.S.
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40 Bureau of Mines), NASA, and the NSF. The Departments of Commerce, Energy, and Defense would also be concerned. Because of the urgency of the need to address the problems raised in the body of this report. the committee urges an immediate infusion of new funding for existing U.S. agencies concerned with the international aspects of the geosciences, especially earmarked for these functions. These agencies include the Office of International Programs and Division of Earth Sciences of the NSF, the International Mapping Office of the USGS, and the Earth Applications Section of NASA. Lesser roles involving international mineral resource evaluation the Bureau and development are played by the Department of State, DOE of Mines, and NOAA, but these programs, too, need direct augmentation of support. When established, the Office of Global Geosciences would draw support from the above agencies as well as from industrial and private sources. Initially, the Office should be inaugurated under the jurisdiction of an organization concerned about the global geoscience problems raised in this report, and dedicated to their amelioration or solution. Appropriate alternative configurations might include (1) a consortium of federal agencies (Bureau of Mines, USGS, NSF, NASA, DOE, etch (2) a working group of professional earth science societies (Society of Exploration Geophysicists, AAPG, GSA, AGU); (3) the AGI; or (4) a board or panel of the NRC (Board on Earth Sciences, Board on Mineral and Energy Resources) .