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Review of NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise Applications Program Plan IV Summary In summary, the committee was impressed with NASA’s commitment to a strong civil ESE Applications Program and concluded that the NASA applications strategy includes elements that will serve as a good starting point for demonstrating that intent. The approach of partnering with other federal agencies to reach user communities is a sound one, and the management approach and prioritization of evaluation criteria for candidate applications areas presented in the Applications Plan are well reasoned. The committee is convinced, nonetheless, that the ESE Applications Program needs a period of stability and consistency to implement the NASA applications strategy. The NASA applications strategy would benefit from a clearer sense of connectivity, for example, with respect to linkages to past strategies and to other ESE programs. Although the NASA applications strategy relies heavily on partnerships, this aspect is not fully developed in the Applications Plan, leaving a reader to wonder how fully it is realized in definition, scope, or practice. The Applications Plan could also benefit from more attention to its intended audience outside the federal government by providing more context, even at the expense of brevity. The community outside the federal government will benefit if the Applications Plan clearly establishes the priorities and the process and underscores the importance of mutually agreed upon success criteria. Lastly, the Applications Plan needs to articulate a strategy for translating concepts into more tangible actions. With respect to how the Applications Plan itself is presented in the NASA document, the preface could better set the stage for the Applications Plan by identifying the intended audience and what NASA expects them to gain from reading the document. NASA should use the preface to articulate more clearly the scope and boundaries of the strategy. In addition, an expanded introductory section could address overarching themes, such as partnerships, context for specific missions that fit within the NASA applications strategy, and a list of drivers for the ESE Applications Division. Overall, the committee believes that the Applications Plan is an important element of the overall Earth Science Enterprise strategy.
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