result when a single large entity (i.e., a national center) and a collection of small entities (i.e., university and private-sector PIs) compete for the same resources in that the latter does not necessarily benefit from a unified voice and governance. In the case of the atmospheric sciences, there is the additional dimension of the desire for the national center to serve the larger atmospheric sciences community by providing observational and computational resources and opportunities for fruitful partnering.
Periodic external strategic guidance could help ATM ensure that its activities are continually evolving in a way that meets the needs of the broad atmospheric sciences community. This advice should be sought approximately every five to ten years to enable input at regular intervals. The advisory mechanism should engage the broad atmospheric sciences community, with an emphasis on obtaining balanced, objective input. Some of the issues that should be addressed include the balance and relationships among the range of scientific and societally driven research avenues, among the various modes of support employed by the division, particularly regarding potential inequities in resource distribution between large research centers or facilities and individual research scientists, and among the various subdisciplines in atmospheric research.
RECOMMENDATION: ATM should seek strategic guidance from a panel that includes representation from the fields it supports at regular intervals to ensure that its programs are well balanced and continue to meet the needs of the atmospheric sciences community.