human and economic losses from natural disasters, a degraded biosphere, biodiversity loss, the increasing threat of pandemics, and accelerating global environmental change.
As part of this broader international role, and in keeping with the idea that these endeavors maximize effectiveness in the use of government resources, the USGS can consider forging stronger links and collaborative efforts with a wide variety of international and domestic partners. Other nations’ geological surveys and international organizations such as OneGeology are potential partners. In addition to its collaborations within the Department of the Interior, the USGS already has strong relationships on international projects with the Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, the Department of Defense, and the World Bank, as well as with other federal agencies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These reliable partnerships could be further strengthened and serve as a springboard for broader scientific engagement among all of the Survey’s mission areas. Examples of this kind of approach might include different USGS mission areas working in concert to develop and propose innovative international projects that serve the partners’ needs along with best practices for implementation.
The USGS has recently identified seven mission areas, which are applied to national Earth science activities. Internationally, new science opportunities exist to support these national directions; however, most of these opportunities require examining Earth processes as an interconnected system, thus requiring a systems approach. The latter is already being fostered by the USGS in its domestic science strategies. Integrated efforts, across USGS mission areas, can strengthen the Survey’s scientific capabilities, increase knowledge and understanding of Earth processes, and support informed and effective decision-making. A selected, though not exhaustive, set of international science opportunities with demonstrable potential to benefit national priorities is described in Chapter 4. Many of these offer further opportunities to evolve the institutional culture within the USGS in terms of interdisciplinary research and collaboration.
RECOMMENDATION: The Survey leadership should continue advancing the integration and coordination of activities across the seven mission areas, and consider using international science opportunities such as those outlined in Chapter 4, to motivate further scientific integration within the USGS.
From the standpoint of the structure of USGS’ international activities, the committee noted that international work seems to be managed very differently in different mission areas and identified marked contrasts in the support, reward structures, and planning for