1

The Rationale for Further Evolution of the
National Weather Service

During the 1980s and 1990s, the National Weather Service (NWS) undertook a major program called the Modernization and Associated Restructuring (MAR). The MAR was officially completed in 2000. No comprehensive assessment of the execution of the MAR plan, or comparison of the promised benefits of the MAR to its actual impact, had ever been conducted. Therefore, Congress asked the National Academy of Sciences to conduct an end-to-end assessment (see Appendix A for Statement of Task). The Committee’s first report, The National Weather Service Modernization and Associated Restructuring: A Retrospective Assessment, documented how these challenges were met and identified lessons learned (Box 1.1). Detailed information about the background, execution, and impact of the MAR are provided in that report. In short, that report (NRC, 2012a) concluded:

The MAR was a large and complex process that lasted a decade and cost approximately $4.5 billion. Despite issues, some more significant than others, in the end the MAR was an unqualified success. New technologies deployed during the MAR now provide forecasters with more observations of higher quality. NWS forecast and warning products were dramatically improved in both quality and quantity. NWS now has stronger relationships with many of its partners in the weather enterprise. Changes in the distribution of field offices have allowed stronger connections with local communities. Weather services have great value to the Nation, and the MAR was well worth the investment.

Accelerating improvements in technology and the science of meteorology and hydrology favor a continuing modernization of the NWS and its partners in the weather, water, and climate enterprise.1 This report presents guidance, based on the lessons of the MAR, for the NWS as it plans future improvements. This report builds on the Committee’s first report, and all information gathered in the process of drafting the first report, including speaker presentations and reviews of the literature and materials provided by the NWS, was equally useful in the drafting of this report. With the exception of the Committee’s recommendations on hydrologic services and numerical weather prediction, topics not covered by the MAR, all of the recommendations in this report are reinforced by the lessons learned from the MAR identified by the Committee in its first report.

TODAY’S KEY CHALLENGES

Twelve years after the official completion of the MAR, the challenges faced by the NWS are no less important than were those of the pre-MAR era. The

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1 The “enterprise” includes all entities in the public, private, nonprofit, research, and academic sectors that provide information, services, and infrastructure in the areas of weather, water, and climate. The public sector includes the NWS as well as other weather-related line offices within NOAA, other federal agencies, and state and local governments. For the purposes of this report, “enterprise” is often used as shorthand to refer to those enterprise elements outside NOAA that it can draw on in its mission. Within this, the private sector is present in two major areas: (1) services companies providing a broad range of data, forecasts, warnings, and value-added products to consumers and businesses, and (2) infrastructure companies providing systems such as satellites. The non-NOAA portion of the enterprise is now of equal or greater economic size compared to the NOAA portion.



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1 The Rationale for Further Evolution of the National Weather Service D uring the 1980s and 1990s, the National ing modernization of the NWS and its partners in the Weather Service (NWS) undertook a major weather, water, and climate enterprise.1 This report program called the Modernization and Asso- presents guidance, based on the lessons of the MAR, ciated Restructuring (MAR). The MAR was officially for the NWS as it plans future improvements. This completed in 2000. No comprehensive assessment of report builds on the Committee's first report, and all the execution of the MAR plan, or comparison of the information gathered in the process of drafting the first promised benefits of the MAR to its actual impact, report, including speaker presentations and reviews of had ever been conducted. Therefore, Congress asked the literature and materials provided by the NWS, was the National Academy of Sciences to conduct an equally useful in the drafting of this report. With the end-to-end assessment (see Appendix A for State- exception of the Committee's recommendations on ment of Task). The Committee's first report, The hydrologic services and numerical weather prediction, National Weather Service Modernization and Associated topics not covered by the MAR, all of the recom- Restructuring: A Retrospective Assessment, documented mendations in this report are reinforced by the lessons how these challenges were met and identified lessons learned from the MAR identified by the Committee learned (Box 1.1). Detailed information about the in its first report. background, execution, and impact of the MAR are provided in that report. In short, that report (NRC, TODAY'S KEY CHALLENGES 2012a) concluded: The MAR was a large and complex process that Twelve years after the official completion of the lasted a decade and cost approximately $4.5 billion. MAR, the challenges faced by the NWS are no less Despite issues, some more significant than others, in important than were those of the pre-MAR era. The the end the MAR was an unqualified success. New technologies deployed during the MAR now provide 1 The "enterprise" includes all entities in the public, private, forecasters with more observations of higher quality. nonprofit, research, and academic sectors that provide information, NWS forecast and warning products were dramatically services, and infrastructure in the areas of weather, water, and improved in both quality and quantity. NWS now has climate. The public sector includes the NWS as well as other stronger relationships with many of its partners in the weather-related line offices within NOAA, other federal agencies, and state and local governments. For the purposes of this report, weather enterprise. Changes in the distribution of field "enterprise" is often used as shorthand to refer to those enterprise offices have allowed stronger connections with local elements outside NOAA that it can draw on in its mission. Within communities. Weather services have great value to the this, the private sector is present in two major areas: (1) services Nation, and the MAR was well worth the investment. companies providing a broad range of data, forecasts, warnings, and value-added products to consumers and businesses, and Accelerating improvements in technology and the (2) infrastructure companies providing systems such as satellites. science of meteorology and hydrology favor a continu- The non-NOAA portion of the enterprise is now of equal or greater economic size compared to the NOAA portion. 7

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8 WEATHER SERVICES FOR THE NATION BOX 1.1 Lessons Learned from the Modernization and Associated Restructuring The following are the lessons from the Modernization and Associated Restructuring, identified in the first report from this Committee, The National Weather Service Modernization and Associated Restructuring: A Retrospective Assessment (NRC, 2012a). Lesson 1. If a science-based agency like the National Weather Service, which provides critical services to the nation, waits until it is close to becoming obsolete, it will require a complex and very expensive program to modernize. Lesson 2 Management and Planning. The budget, schedule, and technological issues encountered during execution of the Modernization and Associated Restructuring of the National Weather Service (NWS) reflected traditional challenges of large projects: inexperience of the govern- ment project-level leadership, shifting budget constraints, ambitious technology leaps, multi-party stakeholder pressures, cultural inertia, contractor shortcomings, and oversight burdens. Each represents important lessons for the NWS with regard to future projects of a similar nature: Expertise in system design, procurement, and deployment is essential to successful implementation of any complex technical upgrade. Dedicated leaders are crucial for resolving roadblocks and ensuring ultimate project success. Clearly defined system-level requirements, and competent management of those requirements, are essential to any contractual acquisition of a major system. Statistical performance indicators are a major element for gaining and maintaining support for implementing changes. It is necessary to establish comprehensive performance metrics at the beginning of a process, evaluate them throughout the process, and reevaluate them after the process is complete. Lesson 3 Modernization of Technology. The time scale for implementing major change in government systems is very long compared to the time scale for major technological change. The pace of technological progress complicates the planning, procurement, and deployment of large, complex systems. While technology is changing so rapidly, in every aspect of the project where it is feasible, it is crucial to Establish clear metrics for evaluating improvement in forecasts and warnings at the beginning of a major technological upgrade. Use rapid prototyping and system demonstrations. An example includes the Program for Regional Observing and Forecasting Service (PROFS) and their Denver AWIPS Risk Reduction and Requirements Evaluation (DAR3E) effort, which proved critical to the success of the Modernization and Associated Restructuring. Evaluate such prototype systems under a variety of actual operational situations with multiple classes of users and stakeholders in order to refine the system design. key challenges include keeping pace, meeting expand- these technological achievements. The MAR focused ing and evolving user needs, and partnering with an on NWS observational and warning functions and increasingly capable enterprise. Mass (2012) provides instituted an operational framework appropriate for an excellent example of how these challenges have con- that time. Now, as scientific and technological progress verged to frame directions for the future of the NWS. continues, critical components within the NWS are lagging behind the state of the science. Furthermore, Keeping Pace. The pace of scientific and techno- enormous amounts of data generated by new surface logical advancement in the atmospheric and hydrologic networks, radars, satellites, and numerical models need sciences continues to accelerate. As an outgrowth to be rapidly distilled into actionable information in of public- and private-sector investment in weather, order to create and communicate effective public fore- climate, and hydrologic research, new observational, casts and warnings. The skills required to comprehend, data assimilation, prediction, and other technology manage, and optimize this decision-making process go advancements are exceeding the capacity of the NWS beyond traditional meteorological and hydrologic cur- to optimally acquire, integrate, and communicate ricula. Hence, the NWS workforce skill set will need critical forecast and warning information based on to evolve appropriately.

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THE RATIONALE FOR FUTHER EVOLUTION OF THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE 9 Establish the capacity for continual upgrades of complex systems, particularly those involving digital technology (e.g., high performance computing, communications). Continually assess and apply the lessons of past systems, whether successful or unsuccessful. Lesson 4 Restructuring of Forecast Offices and Staff. The Modernization and Associated Restructuring (MAR) of the National Weather Service (NWS) faced initial resistance from NWS employees and, to some extent, the general public. This resistance could have been lessened by, very early in the planning stages: Engaging those whose career and livelihood were to be affected in planning the changes. Better engaging a diffuse public, and to some extent Congress, regarding the benefits of improved weather forecasts and warnings as opposed to the perceived cost of losing a forecast office in their community. The restructuring dictated a degree of standardization between forecast offices; however, it has become apparent that this needs to be effectively balanced with the flexibility needed to allow for customization at individual offices to respond to local requirements. The MAR increased the overall education level of the workforce and set in place the need for routine training to keep the staff on pace with tech- nological and meteorological advancements in the community. Staff development through in-person, hands-on training in a centralized classroom or laboratory of the type that occurred during the MAR has great value. Where relevant, online courses or self-directed study can be a useful supplement, but can sacrifice quality of learning and the connections made with colleagues that are essential to the overall operations of the NWS. Lesson 5 Partnerships. The execution of the Modernization and Associated Restructuring required working with many partners, which provided cost-sharing and improved understanding of user needs. However, the relationships with the partners were not always as well conceived or managed as would have been desirable. This could have been avoided by involving all known stakeholders (e.g., other agencies, academia and the research community, the private sector, media, and emergency management) from the outset. The National Weather Service (NWS) operational staff is also a stakeholder, and need to be involved early in the design and procurement process to ensure system functionality and practicality. Engagement with stakeholders from both inside and outside the NWS would help the NWS better understand user needs and secure "buy-in" to new initiatives. Lesson 6 Oversight and Advice. The Modernization and Associated Restructuring of the National Weather Service (NWS) showed that candid yet non-adversarial advice from outside experts and other interested parties was useful in the design and deployment of a large complex system. Because NWS management was receptive to such oversight and advice, the outside input was effective. Meeting Expanding and Evolving User Needs. business processes, such as just-in-time manufacturing, Increasingly, the United States is an information- has made the economy more dependent on weather and centric society. Meteorological and hydrologic infor- water information. New business uses have emerged, mation in particular is central to societal security and such as the energy sector's investment in weather- welfare (Lazo et al., 2009, 2011). Unlike some other sensitive renewable sources. industries, weather is largely an information-based enterprise. The public expects continuous improve- Partnering with an Increasingly Capable Enterprise. ment in public safety and property protection related At the time of the MAR, delivery of weather infor- to severe weather. To succeed, the NWS needs to not mation was largely synonymous with the NWS, the only improve forecast and warning capabilities but also broadcasting sector, and the private-sector suppliers of do so faster than the rates of construction and popula- weather data and services that supported the broad- tion increase in at-risk locations. With broad adoption casting sector. Outside of this, the weather, water, and of the internet and mobile technology, people have climate enterprise had limited capacity. Today, the found many new ways to access and use weather and enterprise has grown considerably, and now the NWS water information in their daily lives. The evolution of has many important partners. Private-sector and other

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10 WEATHER SERVICES FOR THE NATION organizations provide sensor data, weather forecasts, as-yet unimagined technical applications, as well as and value-added, end-user weather, water, and climate unexpected disruptions of the current context and services to a broad set of customers encompassing arrangements for the provision of weather- and water- both businesses and the public, with multiple sources related services. The scale of computing that is afford- available in many cases. All of these entities rely on ably available to the NWS and the rest of the weather, core NWS infrastructure and capabilities to provide water, and climate enterprise will continue its exponen- customized services. Together this combination of the tial increase. This will make higher spatial and temporal NWS and third parties serves the nation better than resolution models possible, with ensemble forecasting the NWS could on its own. and probabilistic products becoming increasingly uti- lized. There is likely to be a continual increase in the THE EVOLVING CONTEXT number and diversity of services provided by the private sector, fueled by expected improvements in computing These challenges are made more difficult by the and telecommunications technology. external context, two areas of which are of particular The volume and types of observational data will importance: expand greatly. This is due to availability of data from increasingly powerful satellites (including interna- Budget resources are uncertain and will likely be tional sources); the explosion of data from new sensor constrained for the next decade. networks (including the oceans); the proliferation of Operational performance standards against which sensors on devices in the hands of individuals; and new the NWS is measured, including those set by interna- sensors used to support transportation. This will pro- tional weather service counterparts and private-sector vide opportunities for more coverage and more types of entities, are increasingly high. For example, skill2 mea- information on the present state of the weather-water- sures of NWS global numerical weather prediction climate system, but it will also present challenges as to models are often compared to the performance of how to most effectively integrate and use this informa- corresponding entities around the world. The Euro- tion in the service-delivery system. pean Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts There will be continued concentration of infra- (ECMWF) is just one of several for which model skill structure investment and population growth in coastal is arguably equal to or better than that of the NWS and riverine floodplain areas subject to severe weather (NRC, 2012a). Such competition can be deemed and flooding, a circumstance that will continue to pro- positive, as it motivates all to improve performance and duce the potential for increasing losses of property, and integrate the latest advances in science and technology. perhaps of life, regardless of whether there are changes But it can introduce organizational tension when the in the frequency of severe weather events and improve- pressure to meet the competition is not balanced by ments in weather and flood forecast and warning skill. resources to do so. Climate change implies the possibility of chang- ing weather patterns with forecast regimes not well There are many uncertainties in the evolution of the matched to historical expectations (IPCC, 2012). The external context within which the NWS will function. NWS will need to maintain and improve forecast and The NWS will need to consider many factors that will warning skill in the face of such change. affect the way in which it undertakes its core functions, The international dimensions will continue to and possibly even redefine those core functions. The evolve. The World Meteorological Organization's evolving context increases the need for greater agility (WMO's) World Weather Watch (WWW) and Global within the NWS. The Committee foresees the follow- Atmosphere Watch (GAW) programs will continue to ing future developments. provide the basis for the global collection, analysis, and The rapid, transformative pace of technological distribution of weather, water, and other environmental change will continue. This implies that there will be information. The NWS, NESDIS, and the relevant parts of OAR will continue to provide the major part of 2 "Skill" is a statistical evaluation of the accuracy of forecasts or the United States' contribution to the WMO programs. the effectiveness of detection techniques (AMS, 2000).

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THE RATIONALE FOR FUTHER EVOLUTION OF THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE 11 The basic concept of the WMO/WWW/GAW is that organization that allows it to directly or indirectly each of the 183 member countries undertakes, accord- reach more end users, save more lives, and help more ing to its means, to meet certain responsibilities in the businesses. And it will have leveraged these capabili- agreed global scheme so that all countries may benefit ties through the broader enterprise. This approach will from the consolidated effort. This is a major achieve- make possible societal benefits beyond what the NWS ment in international cooperation that requires protec- budget alone allows. This report suggests how this tion so that the operational work of individual national can be accomplished, in part building on the lessons meteorological hydrological services (NMHS) can from the MAR identified in the first report from this continue to evolve and improve. Recent initiatives such Committee. as the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) are being developed to provide system archi- Prioritize Core Capabilities tectures for data acquisition and dissemination that include, but also expand beyond, the WMO programs The NWS needs to prioritize the core capabilities (GEO, 2005). These efforts will also be important that generate products and services only the NWS can as observation requirements and applications evolve. provide. Figure 1.1 illustrates the relationships among Although there may be increasing interplay between different elements of the overall enterprise. Central to countries and their own NMHS and private sectors, the a successful enterprise is a set of NWS core capabilities, concepts upon which the international cooperation is defined as based are important. The relationships within the U.S. weather, water, and climate enterprise need to reflect Creating foundational datasets, and respect these agreements and their standards. Performing essential functions, and Conducting operationally related research. RESPONDING TO THE CHALLENGES Foundational datasets include collected and inte- This report presents three main recommendations grated observations, advanced analyses either from for responding to these challenges within the evolving modern data assimilation or other objective methods, context: and predictions obtained from deterministic and probabilistic models. Essential functions constitute those 1.Prioritize Core Capabilities activities and services that are mandated by the NWS 2.Evaluate Function and Structure mission and include product generation (e.g., general 3.Leverage the Entire Enterprise weather forecasts, watches, warnings, advisories, and guidance) and dissemination; brokering and provision Meeting today's challenges will require large of weather and water data; international responsibilities changes over as much as a decade. Fortunately, the to WMO programs; and the creation of critical analysis MAR established a solid foundation as a starting point, tools that enable NWS staff to execute its functions. but new methods of tackling these challenges are neces- Operationally related research refers to activities that sary. The Committee feels their recommendations will continually invigorate NWS core capabilities with new guide the NWS in establishing such new methods, understanding and improved techniques from OAR going beyond what they are already doing to tackle and the broader research community (e.g., research-to- today's challenges. The recommendations presented in operations, or R2O), allowing the NWS to better keep this report will help the NWS become more agile and pace with rapidly evolving technology. Such activities effective. This will put it on a path to becoming sec- also include new research priorities based on issues that ond to none at integrating scientific and technological inhibit analysis and prediction skill or the production advances into its operations and at meeting user needs, of forecast and warning products (e.g., operations-to- leading in some areas and keeping pace in others. It research, or O2R). will have the highest quality core capabilities among As illustrated in Figure 1.1, enterprise partners national weather services. It will have a structure and from the private sector, academia, and other domestic

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12 WEATHER SERVICES FOR THE NATION FIGURE 1.1 Conceptual "hub-spoke-rim" paradigm for defining the relationships between core NWS capabilities (hub and spokes), its partners in the broader enterprise (the spaces between the hub, spokes, and rim), and end users of weather services (the rim). The gray ring around the hub represents the gray areas of responsibility between the NWS and the rest of the enterprise. The intention of this conceptual framework is to articulate how various entities connect to and support weather information services that emerge from core NWS capabilities. and international organizations help the NWS serve its to make four key distinctions: (1) roles that only the overall mission by feeding NWS core capabilities with NWS can perform; (2) roles that partners can perform data and services and then help transfer NWS core reliably; (3) roles that the NWS performs, but which products and foundational data to the public, decision partners could perform if any partners were available; makers, and other stakeholders. The size and scope and (4) roles that initially are performed by partners, of the "hub" of core capabilities is constantly in flux but which develop technology such that the NWS based on the needs, capabilities, and constraints of the could perform the role at little or no cost. This is an enterprise and its users. ongoing process that will always involve gray areas. The Prioritizing roles and defining the breadth and Committee is not suggesting that such prioritization scope of NWS core capabilities require the NWS resolve gray areas, but rather that those areas clearly

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THE RATIONALE FOR FUTHER EVOLUTION OF THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE 13 core to the NWS be prioritized as such, and those that the present organizational structure of the NWS. For are clearly best performed elsewhere in the enterprise example, marked improvements in computer forecast receive recognition and technical and data support--as models and increased efficiency in translating model needed and as possible--from the NWS. output into public forecasts may allow NWS meteo- Because the quality of NWS core capabilities rologists to increasingly focus their attention on high- underlies the relationship of trust and reliance among impact weather events and rapid response, as well as the NWS, the public, and the rest of the enterprise, improving cooperation with the core partners4 of the and consistent with Lessons 1, 2, 3, and 5 from NRC NWS. An in-depth statistical evaluation of perfor- (2012a), the Committee makes the following overarch- mance of the field-forecaster product compared to the ing recommendation. (Specific, supporting recommen- numerical model guidance could be used to help define dations for improving the various aspects of NWS core priorities, workloads, and assignments for field office capabilities are discussed in detail in Chapter 2.) personnel and to optimize the overall performance of the NWS. Recommendation I: Prioritize Core Capabilities The impact from extreme weather and water events is increasing due in part to increasing population, The National Weather Service (NWS) should buildings, and infrastructure in vulnerable areas. Being 1. Evaluate all aspects of its work that contribute aware of this challenge, the NWS has launched the to its foundational datasets, with the explicit goal of Weather-Ready Nation paradigm, which emphasizes a ensuring that those foundational datasets are of the broader concept of services and interactions with other highest quality and that improvements are driven partners in the enterprise--from emergency managers by user needs and scientific advances. As part of this to the academic and private sectors. initial and ongoing evaluation effort, clear quality Meanwhile, the emergence of the rest of the and performance metrics should be established. Such enterprise beyond the NWS has led to multiple outlets metrics would address the technical components of through which the general public accesses weather fore- NWS operations, as well as the efficiency and effec- casts and information. These outlets, generally in the tiveness of the flow of weather information to end private sector, are greatly dependent on the core capa- users. bilities of the NWS, from data acquisition to accurate 2. Ensure that a similarly high priority is model forecast output. Collectively, they have become given to (a) product generation and dissemination, the primary source of weather and water forecast infor- (b) the brokering and provision of data services, and mation for the general public (Lazo et al., 2009). (c) development and enhancement of analysis tools In view of the directions outlined in the Weather- for maintaining a common operating picture (COP).3 Ready Nation Roadmap of expanding the role of fore- 3. Engage the entire enterprise to develop and casters and other NWS staff (NWS, 2012), it would implement a national strategy for a systematic approach be prudent to evaluate the structure of the NWS and to research-to-operations and operations-to-research. the weather-related parts of NOAA, including the development and deployment of satellites in NESDIS5 Evaluate Function and Structure and the role and structure of basic research in OAR. Based on these considerations, Lesson 4 from NRC The current structure of the NWS primarily (2012a), and a Congressional request for a new study to reflects the function of the weather, water, and cli- mate enterprise in the 1990s. Technology, including 4"Core partners" include the emergency management community, improvements in communications and computer other government agencies, and broadcast and electronic media forecast models, has changed much of the rationale for outlets that provide weather and water warning information to the public. 5 There have been policy discussions regarding moving NESDIS 3The Weather-Ready Nation Roadmap defines common operating procurement programs from NOAA to NASA. Regardless of picture as "a repository of digital, extensible environmental data and the outcome of these discussions, the Committee thinks that the forecasts, where all types of information are integrated and related development and deployment of weather satellites needs to be to each other to facilitate their full use" (NWS, 2012). included in any evaluation of NWS function and structure.

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14 WEATHER SERVICES FOR THE NATION examine potential efficiencies in NWS operations (U.S. The traditional NWS value-chain (what might Congress, 2012), the Committee makes the following be called the "primary value-chain") delivers weather overarching recommendation. (Specific, supporting information to the public from the NWS through core recommendations for examining the various aspects of partners. The NWS identifies these three categories of the NWS organizational structure and workforce are core partners: (1) emergency managers, (2) state and discussed in detail in Chapter 3.) local governments requiring close cooperation, and (3) the broadcast and electronic media. These partners Recommendation II: Evaluate Function and Structure are considered core on the basis of their need for ensured access to unaltered NWS information (NWS, 2012). In light of evolving technology, and because the Yet today, there is an increasingly important "second- work of the National Weather Service (NWS) has ary value-chain"7 by which the public receives weather major science and technology components, the NWS and water information originating from the NWS but should evaluate its function and structure, seeking altered or enhanced to improve its accuracy or usability. areas for improvement. Any examination of potential changes in the function and organizational structure The majority of forecasts received by the pub- of the NWS requires significant technical input and lic arrive from third parties rather than directly from expertise, and should include metrics to evaluate the the NWS (Lazo et al., 2009). To the extent that this process of structural evolution. Such an examination information is altered before reaching the public, it would include individual NWS field offices, regional can be considered to have gone through the secondary and national headquarters and management, as well value-chain. as the National Centers and the weather-related parts Increasingly, weather- and water-related deci- of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminis- sion making involves integrating NWS-originated tration (NOAA) such as the National Environmental weather and water information with information from Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) other sources through the secondary value-chain. Many and the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research needs, including some associated with the core NWS (OAR). mission of protecting life and property, are thus not served by the primary value-chain alone. Leverage the Entire Enterprise research and program support budgets might be attributed to The weather, water, and climate enterprise has serving NOAA's weather, water, and climate mission. Of the evolved considerably since the beginning of the MAR NESDIS budget, $769 million went to procurement, largely for in the 1980s. At that time, the NWS was viewed as private-sector services associated with satellite and other observing system development. Within the private sector, based on a survey the primary source of all weather information. Today, for this same year, Spiegler (2007) identifies $1.65 to $1.8 billion of the private sector dedicated to generating and deliver- activity associated with weather-based services. Based on the growth ing weather information is about twice the size of the rate from the prior ten years, the private-sector services market NWS; the overall non-NOAA portion of the enter- was expected to be around $2.5 billion by 2012. When coupled with the amount spent in the private sector by NOAA (and other prise (including state and local governments as well as federal agencies) on infrastructure (primarily observing systems), academia) is likely equal in size to the weather-related the total private-sector market is now more than $4 billion. No portion of NOAA and other federal agencies--each figures for other nonfederal expenditures, such as state and local perhaps on the order of $4 to $5 billion.6 governments, are available. Extrapolating this information to 2012 for federal and nonfederal enterprise sectors leads to an estimated $4 to $5 billion each. 6 These figures are rough estimates, as definitive information is 7 The terms "primary value-chain" and "secondary value-chain" not readily available. The most authoritative recent information are not intended to reflect superiority or inferiority of either chain. on the size of the weather enterprise is about five years old (for Instead, "primary" is meant to reflect the mission of the NWS to be example, see Lazo et al. (2009), which cites sources from about the authoritative source of weather, water, and climate information 2007) and suffers from incompleteness. The total federal-sector for the nation. The capability of the NWS to reach the public budgets for FY2007 were estimated at $3.4 billion. In FY2006, through the primary chain, when an authoritative perspective is the NWS budget was $852 million, the NESDIS budget was required, cannot be compromised. The term "primary" is meant to $943 million, and an additional $200 to $400 million from the reflect this critical NWS role.

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THE RATIONALE FOR FUTHER EVOLUTION OF THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE 15 Even core partners, including emergency man- public. The Committee thinks this is especially impor- agers and broadcast and electronic media, now receive tant at a time when it is seeking to enhance its service substantial portions of their decision-making infor- (NWS, 2012). Leveraging the secondary value-chain mation from the secondary value-chain. Nearly all provides one means to further the NWS's mission of television channels, for example, utilize private-sector serving the public. forecast service providers to prepare their weather Achieving this added benefit to the nation requires information; unaltered NWS information is presented a fundamental change in how the NWS and the overall typically only in the case of watches and warnings. enterprise interact with each other. It is not a simple change. The enterprise is not a single entity with clear Prior to the MAR, the NWS perceived the second- authorities and responsibilities. Its capabilities may ary value-chain and its constituent organizations largely change with time. Therefore, change would need to as competition. The MAR and the subsequent Fair proceed cautiously and in collaboration with the NWS. Weather report (NRC, 2003a) changed this. The NWS The paradigm of enterprise collaboration is not entirely instituted new policies to avoid competing with or rep- new. The NWS has long relied on the broadcasting licating capabilities robustly available within the sec- sector as a primary means of communicating with the ondary value-chain. As stated in the Committee's first public. Over the past decade, the NWS has begun to report, efforts from professional weather a ssociations-- extend such collaboration to other areas, such as sensor including the American Weather and Climate Industry networks and digital media. The Committee confirms Association (AWCIA), the National Council of Indus- the need to expand the productive interaction of the trial Meteorologists (NCIM), the National Weather NWS with the rest of the enterprise. Association (NWA), and the American Meteorological Regarding the role of the NWS within the broader Society (AMS), specifically its Commission on the enterprise, and consistent with Lesson 5 from NRC Weather and Climate Enterprise (CWCE)--have (2012a), the Committee makes the following overarch- been critical in improving the relationship between the ing recommendation. (Specific, supporting recommen- NWS and the private sector (NRC, 2012a). dations for how this change could be accomplished are In the Committee's opinion, that change has described in Chapter 4). been positive for the nation. Today, the enterprise has developed new capabilities and alternate means Recommendation III: Leverage the Entire Enterprise for accessing weather and water information. Yet the entire secondary value-chain is built on a foundation of The National Weather Service (NWS) should NWS data and services. If NWS core capabilities were broaden collaboration and cooperation with other to be compromised, this value-chain would be severely parts of the weather, water, and climate enterprise. degraded. Moreover, the primary value-chain is critical The greatest national good is achieved when all parts for ensuring a direct path to the public when public of the enterprise function optimally to serve the pub- safety is at risk. This, too, cannot be compromised. For lic and businesses. This process starts with the quality these reasons, the Committee carefully couples its rec- of core NWS capabilities but is realized through the ommendation to leverage the enterprise with a recom- effectiveness of NWS-enterprise relationships. A mendation for the NWS to prioritize core capabilities well-formulated enterprise strategy will also return supporting both value-chains. direct benefit from the enterprise to the NWS, espe- The Committee views the objective of an enhanced cially in areas of shared research, technology devel- NWS-enterprise interaction as a way to enhance the opment, observational data sources, and improved NWS's ability to accomplish its mission of serving the end-user access to NWS-generated information.

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