The draft plan describes how the CCSP intends to use scientific steering committees composed of outside experts to help guide program elements. Advisory committees already exist for most of the agency science programs and some interagency programs (e.g., the carbon cycle and the water cycle). Such committees are especially useful for new program elements. There is also a stated desire to continue to receive advice and review from appropriate NRC committees and boards. These processes are valuable for scientific guidance on program goals, research approaches, and evaluating the usefulness and credibility of products.
Notwithstanding the value of these activities, the committee believes that the most difficult of the research management challenges will occur at the level of the CCSP program itself. Thus, there will be a need for scientific and other stakeholder guidance at the level of the program to ensure that clear priorities are established and communicated, that progress toward meeting the subsequent goals can be evaluated, and that the inevitable trade-offs in resources and allocation of time can be done with an eye toward meeting the most important of the overall program goals. Otherwise there will be a tendency for the individual needs and priorities of the agencies to take precedence over the needs of the entire program.
Recommendation: The CCSP should establish a standing advisory body charged with independent oversight of the entire program.
Successful coordination and integration of CCSP activities will require clearly delineated lines of authority, requisite accountability by participating agencies, and appropriate staffing and funding. As the implementing and coordinating body for this effort, the CCSP will need the ability to direct other agencies’ efforts and hold them accountable for performance and coordination. The success of the CCSP will also require the support and oversight of the Committee on Climate Change Science and Technology Integration and the Interagency Working Group on Climate Change Science and Technology, as well as the continued guidance of independent advisory bodies.