International Science in the National Interest


Committee on Opportunities and Challenges for
International Science at the U.S. Geological Survey

Board on Earth Sciences and Resources

Division on Earth and Life Studies



Washington, D.C.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
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Committee on Opportunities and Challenges for International Science at the U.S. Geological Survey Board on Earth Sciences and Resources Division on Earth and Life Studies THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C.

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS • 500 Fifth Street, NW • Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by the U.S. Geological Survey under contract No. G10AC00538. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations contained in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsor. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-22449-9 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-22449-7 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313, Cover: The cover shows several examples of global scientific research conducted by the USGS and a comple- mentary domestic science issue that the global research helps to inform. Design by Anne Rogers. Copyright 2012 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.

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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the Na- tional Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is admin- istered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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COMMITTEE ON OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FOR INTERNATIONAL SCIENCE AT THE U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY IAN L. PEPPER, Chair, University of Arizona, Tucson WALTER J. ARABASZ, University of Utah, Salt Lake City JULIA E. COLE, University of Arizona, Tucson W. GARY ERNST, Stanford University, California LAURA F. HUENNEKE, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff TISSA H. ILLANGASEKARE, Colorado School of Mines, Golden JEAN-MICHEL M. RENDU, Newmont Mining Corporation, Santa Fe, New Mexico HARVEY THORLEIFSON, Minnesota Geological Survey, St. Paul National Research Council Staff ELIZABETH A. EIDE, Study Director JASON R. ORTEGO, Research Associate CHANDA IJAMES, Program Assistant PEGGY TSAI, Program Officer v

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BOARD ON EARTH SCIENCES AND RESOURCES CORALE L. BRIERLEY, Chair, Brierley Consultancy, LLC, Highlands Ranch, Colorado KEITH C. CLARKE, University of California, Santa Barbara DAVID J. COWEN, University of South Carolina, Columbia WILLIAM E. DIETRICH, University of California, Berkeley ROGER M. DOWNS, Pennsylvania State University, University Park JEFF DOZIER, University of California, Santa Barbara WILLIAM L. GRAF, University of South Carolina, Columbia RUSSELL J. HEMLEY, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington, DC MURRAY W. HITZMAN, Colorado School of Mines, Golden EDWARD KAVAZANJIAN, JR., Arizona State University, Tempe ROBERT B. MCMASTER, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis M. MEGHAN MILLER, UNAVCO, Inc., Boulder, Colorado ISABEL P. MONTAÑEZ, University of California, Davis CLAUDIA INÉS MORA, Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico BRIJ M. MOUDGIL, University of Florida, Gainesville CLAYTON R. NICHOLS, Department of Energy, Idaho Operations Office (Retired), Ocean Park, Washington HENRY N. POLLACK, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor JOAQUIN RUIZ, University of Arizona, Tucson PETER M. SHEARER, University of California, San Diego REGINAL SPILLER, Allied Energy, Houston, Texas RUSSELL E. STANDS-OVER-BULL, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Billings, Montana TERRY C. WALLACE, JR., Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico National Research Council Staff ANTHONY R. dE SOUZA, Director ELIZABETH A. EIDE, Senior Program Officer DAVID A. FEARY, Senior Program Officer ANNE M. LINN, Senior Program Officer SAMMANTHA L. MAGSINO, Senior Program Officer MARK D. LANGE, Program Officer JENNIFER T. ESTEP, Financial and Administrative Associate NICHOLAS D. ROGERS, Financial and Research Associate JASON R. ORTEGO, Research Associate COURTNEY R. GIBBS, Program Associate ERIC J. EDKIN, Senior Program Assistant CHANDA IJAMES, Program Assistant vi

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Preface The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) was established in 1879 to provide geological, topographic, and hydrological information that would allow for appropriate management of natural resources to benefit the public. Originally much of the Survey’s work consisted of mapping and data collection relating to water, energy, and mineral resources, with a focus on the national domain. However, early in its history, the USGS was also involved in international activities. For instance, in the 1890s, the USGS was involved in the planning and design of the Panama Canal. More recently, the USGS has focused its activities on applications in seven national mission areas, all of which rely on expertise and information in the Earth sciences, including geology, geography, geophysics, geochemistry, hydrology, environmental science, climate science, soil science, and a variety of other fields. All seven mission areas are in fact inter- related, which emphasizes the fundamental importance of viewing the Earth as a system. In the 21st century we are seeing great changes in this system due to environmental impacts of political and economic globalization. Because international and U.S. interests are linked, the Survey’s role in global Earth science is likely not only to continue but also to increase. Importantly, USGS international science activities directly benefit the Survey’s domestic mission, and are increasingly relevant to U.S. national interests. At a time of profound global change and following its recent reorganization, the USGS requested that the National Research Council (NRC) establish a committee on “Opportu- nities and Challenges for International Science at the U.S. Geological Survey.” The eight- person committee assembled by the NRC consisted of a diverse group that was united by their common ties to the Earth sciences, and by their understanding of the essential role that the USGS plays as a key science organization within the federal government. As part of fulfilling the NRC statement of task, our committee placed special emphasis on identifying ways to improve the effectiveness of USGS international activities and in providing insights for strategically guiding such activities during the next 5 to 10 years. vii

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PREFACE Our committee convened two public information-gathering sessions at the National Academies Keck Center in Washington, D.C., and held a closed meeting at the Academies’ Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center in Irvine, California. We also participated in multiple conference phone calls. The two public meetings allowed the committee to gain perspectives and information from two groups critical to the study: the USGS scientists and managers responsible for developing and executing domestic and international science projects for the Survey; and the Survey’s most consistent external partners who request the Survey’s expertise and provide support for it to conduct international projects. The current desire for fiscal restraint in the federal government makes this a critical period for all federal agencies, including the USGS, with regard to the value of their activi- ties for the nation. This report showcases the demonstrated and future benefits of USGS international activities to the USGS domestic mission and the U.S. national interest. The report also underscores the value of fresh approaches to complex issues in Earth science— especially highlighting the advantages of viewing Earth science problems in the context of Earth systems, appropriate for interdisciplinary examination. The committee is deeply indebted to many USGS personnel who have gone out of their way to provide us with detailed responses to a diverse range of questions and issues. We also gratefully acknowledge various presentations made to the committee by personnel from the USGS, Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, the Department of Defense, and the World Bank. Immense credit also goes to the NRC staff who assisted us in preparing the report. These include Elizabeth Eide, Jason Ortego, Chanda Ijames, and Peggy Tsai. We particularly thank Elizabeth Eide, the designated study director for our committee, for her insights, professionalism, and attention to detail and for ensuring that the committee stayed “on task.” Finally, I would like to thank all of the members of the committee. It has been a privi- lege and an honor to interact with such a diverse group of multitalented individuals. I have learned a lot. Ian L. Pepper Chair viii

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Acknowledgments In addition to its own expertise, the committee relied on input from numerous exter- nal professionals and members of the public with extensive experience in various aspects of Earth science research and specifically international research conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). These contributors provided presentations, data, references, figures, images, and perspectives which assisted the committee in understanding the scope of the issue and the impact of international science research on the nation’s domestic and international missions. This information was very important for the committee to be able to develop this report. We gratefully acknowledge these individuals, who include USGS staff and interested parties external to the USGS, and note their thorough and helpful responses to our in- quiries throughout the study’s course and their interest in enhancing the capacity of the USGS to conduct international work. In particular, the committee would like to thank the following people: David Applegate, Michael Blanpied, Sally Brady, Patricia Bright, Herb Buxton, Richard Calnan, George Coakley, Ivan DeLoatch, Jim Devine, Jeff Doebrich, John Eichelberger, Jody Eimers, Johnny Fredericia, Bruce Jones, John Kelmelis, Pat Leahy, Bill Leith, John Pallister, Jean Parcher, Brenda Pierce, Andrew Reynolds, Verne Schneider, Emily Scott, Ione Taylor, June Thormodsgard, Ivette Torres, Ingrid Verstraeten, Gotthard Walser, Annica Wayman, Jean Weaver, and Greg Withee. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse per- spectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s (NRC) Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review com- ments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative ix

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: Eric Calais, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana James Franklin, Consulting geologist, Nepean, Ontario, Canada David Rain, George Washington University, Washington, D.C. W.C. “Rusty” Riese, Rice University, Houston, Texas Susan Riha, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York Timberley Roane, University of Colorado, Denver Donald Siegel, Syracuse University, New York Allison Steiner, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and sug- gestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Debra Knopman, RAND Corporation. Appointed by the NRC, she was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Re- sponsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. x

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Contents SUMMARY 1 1 INTRODUCTION 13 Rationale for Current Study, 14 Structure of the USGS Office of International Programs, 19 Scope and Structure of the Report, 20 Concluding Remarks, 21 References, 22 2 HISTORY AND CONTEXT OF USGS INTERNATIONAL ACTIVITIES 23 Authorization and Mission of the USGS, 23 Past International Work, 26 Present International Activities, 27 Concluding Remarks, 35 References, 36 3 ONGOING INTERNATIONAL SCIENCE ACTIVITIES AT THE USGS 39 Climate and Land-Use Change, 40 Core Science Systems, 46 Ecosystems, 48 Energy and Minerals, 55 Environmental Health, 60 Natural Hazards, 65 Water, 75 Successful Integration of Expertise from Multiple USGS Mission Areas: The Afghanistan Project, 78 xi

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CONTENTS Concluding Remarks, 81 References, 81 4 STRATEGIC INTERNATIONAL SCIENCE OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE USGS 85 Toward an Overarching Approach in International Science, 86 International Science Opportunities, 87 Concluding Remarks, 105 References, 106 5 IMPEDIMENTS TO MORE EFFECTIVE USGS PARTICIPATION IN INTERNATIONAL SCIENCE ACTIVITIES 107 Factors Hindering Progress, 107 Concluding Remarks, 112 References, 112 6 FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS 113 Reference, 117 APPENDIXES A USGS and DOI Mission and Authorization Language 121 B Committee and Staff Biographical Sketches 123 C USGS Historical International Engagement: Background Paper 129 D Meeting Agendas, Presentations, and Other Information Provided to the Committee 153 E Bibliography of Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications from USGS International Work 157 xii