and cost-benefit analysis), and multiple-criteria and multidimensional decision-making. Regardless of which analytic tools or indicators EPA uses to support decisions in the future, uncertainty will be an overriding concern. Consistent and holistic approaches to characterizing and recognizing uncertainty will allow EPA to articulate the importance of uncertainty in light of pending decisions and to avoid becoming paralyzed by the need for increasingly complex computational analysis.

The committee recommends that EPA consider the following actions to implement the elements underlying the framework in Figure S-1:

Engage in a deliberate and systematic “scanning” capability involving staff from ORD, other program offices, and the regions. Such a dedicated and sustained “futures network” (as EPA has called groups in the past with a similar function), with time and modest resources, would be able to interact with other federal agencies, academe, and industry to identify emerging issues and bring the newest scientific approaches into EPA.

Develop a more systematic strategy to support innovation in science, technology, and practice.

Substantially enhance EPA’s capacity to apply systems thinking to all aspects of its approach to complex decisions.

Invest substantial effort to generate broader, deeper, and sustained support for long-term monitoring of key indicators of environmental quality and performance.


To implement the key strategies described above and the framework illustrated in Figure S-1, strong science leadership and capacity in EPA are essential. The committee has identified four key areas where enhanced leadership and capacity can strengthen the agency’s ability to address current and emerging environmental challenges and to take advantage of new tools and technologies to address them.

Enhanced agency-wide science leadership. There has been progress toward agency-wide science integration with the establishment of the Office of the Science Advisor, and further progress might be made with the shift of the science advisor position from within ORD to the Office of the Administrator in early 2012. However, that office may need further authority from the administrator or additional staff resources to continue to improve the integration and coordination of science across the programs and regions throughout the agency. Someone in a true agency-wide science leadership position, with clear lines of authority and responsibility, could take the form of a deputy administrator for science, a chief scientist, or possibly an enhanced version of the current science

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