points at which the need for critical expert community input can already be anticipated. It also is likely that a mid-decade review of progress and of issues related to international standing and partnerships—to generate recommendations for possible mid-course corrections—would be valuable. The committee believes that the existing standing agency and interagency committees—including the AAAC—are not well suited or constituted to provide the necessary strategic advice, given that they were constituted primarily to give rapid feedback on tactical matters brought to them by the agencies. This important function should remain their province.
The survey committee believes that there will be a continuing need for regular assessments of the progress made toward the implementation of the Astro2010 proposed program, and a need for a mid-decade assessment that would include an analysis of whether any of the contingencies described in this report have been encountered and make recommendations for appropriate action as discussed below.
RECOMMENDATION: NASA, NSF, and DOE should on a regular basis request advice from an independent standing committee constituted to monitor progress toward reaching the goals recommended in the 2010 decadal survey of astronomy and astrophysics, and to provide strategic advice to the agencies over the decade of implementation. Such a decadal survey implementation advisory committee (DSIAC) should be charged to produce annual reports to the agencies, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy, as well as a mid-decade review of the progress made. The implementation advisory committee should be independent of the agencies and the agency advisory committees in its membership, management, and operation.
The survey committee believes that the role of a decadal survey implementation advisory committee will be all the more critical in the decade to come, in part because of the technical decision points that have been flagged, in part because of the many partnerships (agency, public/private, and international) that are involved with most of the highly ranked projects, and in part because of potentially rapid changes in the scientific landscape (particularly in the exoplanet and CMB fields). The role of international partners in particular, with their own priorities, agency priorities, and decision processes, demands a more agile and adaptive follow-through on the Astro2010 decadal recommendations than can be accommodated by a 10-year review cycle.