The IAG requires an expert, external review of the USCPO every five years to ensure that it is adequately conducting its tasks and to assess its continued funding. With approval from the other IAG members, NSF commissioned the National Research Council to conduct this first review of the USCPO. The specific charge to the committee was to ask questions such as:
Is the USCPO effectively gathering and communicating information about U.S. and International CLIVAR in a timely and effective manner (e.g., is the USCPO reaching the appropriate communities of scientists and administrators)?
Is the content of information (e.g., range of topics) appropriate? Is the frequency of communication appropriate and is it responsive to specific questions from scientists about CLIVAR?
Is the USCPO providing adequate logistical support for oversight and planning activities of the CLIVAR scientific and management communities (e.g., does it adequately serve the logistical and planning needs of the U.S. CLIVAR SSC and its various panels)?
Does the USCPO adequately serve the needs of the funding agencies as a central point of information about national and international CLIVAR activities?
Does the USCPO adequately represent U.S. CLIVAR interests to the ICPO and other international partners?
In conducting this study, the committee received anonymous input via a web-based questionnaire (Appendix A) and direct input from the current SSC co-chairs2, members of the IAG, the USCPO staff itself, and other relevant parties (Appendix C). Chapter 2 provides the committee’s assessment of the USCPO’s performance stratified by its core tasks as well as some recommendations for improvement, and Chapter 3 provides some overarching thoughts.
The committee sought direct input from the past SSC co-chairs, but both were unavailable. Nevertheless, both the current SSC co-chairs have been members of the SSC since its inception, and they provided the committee with information about the past performance of the USCPO. Some members of the IAG also have been members since its establishment, so they too provided past assessments of the USCPO.