The committee acknowledges that resource limitations, both in professional staffing and funding, can impede any agency’s ability to undertake new efforts, whether domestic or international. Perhaps the use of some of its available appropriated funds may offer some option for the USGS to judiciously support selected overseas work, adding to the support provided for international projects as requested by external partners and managed through reimbursable funds.


The impediments to more effective USGS participation in international science activities are varied. Action for change presupposes a high-level commitment to the proposition that international science activities are not just accommodated and ancillary to the Survey’s mission but truly a fundamental part of the Survey’s aim “to help our Nation and the world” (Gundersen et al., 2011: 3). Impediments that relate to mission pressures within the DOI or to the flexibility of the USGS to undertake more international science activities, while still ably performing its domestic mission, will continue to pose significant challenges. The impediments most amenable for the USGS to overcome are those relating to an overall plan for global science activities, cooperative and otherwise, and to the Survey’s present institutional culture. If USGS participation in international science activities is to be more effective in the future, then an overarching Survey-wide plan for such activities would represent a solid starting point. As with most federal agencies, increased funding may arguably be a requirement for growth—but not for significant change.


Gundersen, L.C.S., J. Belnap, M. Goldhaber, A. Goldstein, P.J. Haeussler, S.E. Ingebritsen, J.W. Jones, G.S. Plumlee, E.R. Thieler, R.S. Thompson, and J.M. Back. 2011. Geology for a changing world 2010–2020—Implementing the U.S. Geological Survey science strategy: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1369, 68 pp. Available at

IGC (International Geological Congress). 2008. General Proceedings of the 33rd International Geological Congress, August 6–14, Oslo, Norway. Available at (accessed October 28, 2011).

SESAC (Scientific Earthquake Studies Advisory Committee). 2010. Report for 2008–2009 of the Scientific Earthquake Studies Advisory Committee to the Director of the U.S. Geological Survey, 15 p. Available at aboutus/sesac/reports.php.

DOI (U.S. Department of the Interior). 2011a. Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2011–2016, 44 p., available at

DOI. 2011b. Budget Justifications and Performance Information, Fiscal Year 2012, U.S. Geological Survey, 498 p., available at

USGS (U.S. Geological Survey). 2007. USGS Facing Tomorrow’s Challenges: U.S. Geological Survey Science in the Decade 2007-2017: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1309. Available online at (accessed September 29, 2011).

USGS. 2011a. “Science Earns Prominent Focus in the Department of the Interior’s New Five-Year Strategic Plan.” U.S. Geological Survey Press Release, January 26. Available at

USGS. 2011b. Geology for a Changing World 2010–2020: Implementing the U.S. Geological Survey Science Strategy, USGS Circular 1369, 68 p.

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