education, communication, and workforce development. All of these forms of broadening of the Program are entirely consistent with, and arguably are necessary for, achieving the purpose of the Program as set forth in the Global Change Research Act of 1990: to be “a comprehensive and integrated United States research program which will assist the Nation and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change.”
The Committee thus feels that the USGCRP’s goals are generally evolving in the right direction. This Plan reflects the substantial effort that the USGCRP leadership made to seek out and incorporate the views of the broader scientific community and the many stakeholder groups that this community seeks to serve. However, while the stated goals are appropriate, the Plan does not always acknowledge the true challenges involved in meeting those goals or offer clear strategies for how to those challenges can actually be addressed. And in an era of increasingly constrained budget resources, those questions of how will become paramount.
As discussed later in this review, issues of key importance to the Committee are the need to identify initial steps the Program will take to actually achieve the proposed broadening of its scope, to develop critical science capacity that is now lacking, and to link the production of knowledge to its use; and the need to establish an overall governance structure that will allow the Program to move in the planned new directions.
The Committee offers its support to the USGCRP for its important planning efforts, and we hope that the suggestions raised in the following sections will further strengthen those efforts.