million per year on outsourcing. One company states that the NWS could have outsourced NEXRAD radar dissemination, especially since the NIDS infrastructure was already in place (example 17). Another company suggests that the infrastructure for observing, communicating, and data processing be consolidated and contracted out to enable local forecast offices to focus on operations and research, rather than on routine systems operation and maintenance (example 18). In its response, the NWS notes that given the new NWS requirements for centralized NEXRAD data collection and distribution, it was more cost-effective to expand NWS capabilities than to contract out the service. The NWS notes that studies are under way to determine what additional NWS tasks should be outsourced in the future.
Despite sometimes vocal complaints from a small number of weather companies, cooperation among the sectors, rather than conflict, appears to be the norm. Indeed, all sectors are dependent on one another and share an interest in the weather and climate enterprise as a whole. When conflicts do occur, they are most likely to relate to which sector should produce a particular product or service. Such questions arise from the ambiguity in the 1991 NWS public-private partnership policy, as well as from misunderstanding of the laws, policies, and institutional arrangements that govern the activities of the different sectors. It is not the committee’s purpose to adjudicate the appropriateness or inappropriateness of the activities described in the examples. Indeed, given the overlapping roles and responsibilities of the sectors, it may not be possible for anyone to do so. However, the issues raised merit careful consideration if the sectors are to better understand their different viewpoints and improve cooperation. Working against one another wastes time and resources that would be better spent developing products that users need. Some suggestions for enhancing cooperation and avoiding future conflicts among the sectors are given in Chapter 6.