Review of the Draft Plan for the Modernization and Associated Restructuring Demonstration

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MODERNIZATION COMMITTEE

COMMISSION ON ENGINEERING AND TECHNICAL SYSTEMS

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
WASHINGTON, D.C.
1999



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Review of the Draft Plan for the Modernization and Associated Restructuring Demonstration NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MODERNIZATION COMMITTEE COMMISSION ON ENGINEERING AND TECHNICAL SYSTEMS NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS WASHINGTON, D.C. 1999

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NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. This study was supported by Contract/Grant No. 50-DGNW-5-00004 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. Available in limited supply from: Transition Program Office, National Weather Service, NOAA, 1325 East West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910; (301) 713-1090. Additional copies of this report are available from National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, D.C. 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu International Standard Book Number 0-309-06482-1 Printed in the United States of America Copyright 1999 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

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NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MODERNIZATION COMMITTEE RICHARD A. ANTHES (chair), University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado WILLIAM E. GORDON (vice chair), NAE, NAS, Rice University (retired), Houston, Texas DAVID ATLAS, NAE, Atlas Concepts, Bethesda, Maryland WILLIAM D. BONNER, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado ROBERT BRAMMER, TASC, Reading, Massachusetts KENNETH C. CRAWFORD, Oklahoma Climatological Survey, Norman DARA ENTEKHABI, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge ALBERT J. KAEHN, JR., U.S. Air Force (retired), Burke, Virginia VERONICA F. NIEVA, WESTAT, Inc., Rockville, Maryland DOROTHY C. PERKINS, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Greenbelt, Maryland PAUL L. SMITH, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Rapid City ARTHUR I. ZYGIELBAUM, University of Nebraska, Lincoln Technical Advisors GEORGE J. GLEGHORN, NAE, TRW Space and Technology Group (retired), Rancho Palos Verdes, California CHARLES L. HOSLER, NAE, Pennsylvania State University, University Park DAVID S. JOHNSON, National Research Council (retired), Annapolis, Maryland JENANNE L. MURPHY, Hughes Information Technology Corporation, Reston, Virginia ROBERT J. SERAFIN, NAE, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado Staff FLOYD F. HAUTH, study director MERCEDES ILAGAN, study associate CARTER FORD, project assistant ROBERT J. KATT, consultant

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PANEL ON MODERNIZATION AND ASSOCIATED RESTRUCTURING DEMONSTRATION VERONICA F. NIEVA (chair) WESTAT, Inc., Rockville, Maryland DAVID ATLAS, NAE, Atlas Concepts, Bethesda, Maryland DARA ENTEKHABI, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge ALBERT J. KAEHN, JR., U.S. Air Force (retired), Burke, Virginia Advisors WILLIAM D. BONNER, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado GEORGE J. GLEGHORN, NAE, TRW Space and Technology Group (retired), Rancho Palos Verdes, California

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Preface This is the final report on the National Weather Service (NWS) modernization by the National Research Council's National Weather Service Modernization Committee. The committee's oversight of the NWS modernization program began in January 1990 when the committee was established by the National Research Council in response to a request from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). During the course of the NWS's $4.5 billion investment in new technology and restructuring, the committee issued 15 reports (including the present report) that provided findings and recommendations to guide the NWS and NOAA in using new technologies to improve weather services to the nation. The committee's reports are listed chronologically below: Toward a New National Weather Service: A First Report (1991) Revised Standards for Entry-Level Meteorologists in the Federal Government. A letter report (May 1991) Toward a New National Weather Service: Second Report (1992) Review of Modernization Criteria (1993) National Weather Service Employee Feedback (1994) Weather for Those Who Fly (1994) Assessment of NEXRAD Coverage and Associated Weather Services (1995) The Importance of the United States Weather Research Program for NWS Modernization (1996) Preliminary Assessment of the Operational Test and Evaluation Process for the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (1996) Assessment of Hydrologic and Hydrometeorological Operations and Services (1996) Continuity of NOAA Satellites (1997) An Assessment of the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (1997) Future of the National Weather Service Cooperative Observer Network (1998) A Vision for the National Weather Service: Road Map for the Future (1999) Review of the Draft Plan for the Modernization and Associated Restructuring Demonstration (1999) This report reviews the Modernization and Associated Restructuring Demonstration (MARD) Plan provided to the committee in September 1998. The report provides an analysis of the plan and recommendations to improve its implementation and follow-on evaluation processes. I wish to acknowledge the chair of the MARD panel, Veronica F. Nieva, and the panel members, David Atlas, Dara Entekhabi, and Albert Kaehn, as well as advisors William D. Bonner and George J. Gleghorn, who gathered and analyzed information and drafted and coordinated this report for the committee. I also thank the NWS headquarters staff for their presentations on MARD to the committee, as well as the staff of the NWS central region, the meteorologists-in-charge, and the staff of other weather forecast offices and river forecast centers, who met with the panel during the course of this study. Finally, I wish to acknowledge the continuing support of staff members of the National Research Council, Floyd F. Hauth, Mercedes Ilagan, Carter Ford, and consultant Robert Katt. RICHARD A. ANTHES CHAIR, NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MODERNIZATION COMMITTEE

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Acknowledgments This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: Louis J. Boezi, Atmospheric Science Advisors, Silver Spring, Maryland John W. Diercks, Pennsylvania State University, University Park Gregory S. Forbes, Pennsylvania State University, University Park Lee W. Larson, consultant, Kansas City, Missouri James K. Lavin, National Weather Association, Montgomery, Alabama Peter R. Leavitt, consultant, Newton Center, Massachusetts Daniel J. McMorrow, Johns Hopkins University, Laurel, Maryland Thomas D. Potter, consultant, Salt Lake City, Utah While the individuals listed above have provided constructive comments and suggestions, it must be emphasized that responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

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Contents Executive Summary   1 1 Introduction   3     Background of MARD   3     Overview of the MARD Plan   3 2 Review of the MARD Plan   7     General Perspective on MARD   7     MARD Goals and Objectives   7     Design and Metrics of the MARD Evaluation   8     Ongoing Operational Test and Evaluation Process   9     Interoffice Backup and Operational Risk Management   9 3 Conclusions and Recommendations   12     Conclusions   12     Recommendations   12 References   13 Acronyms   14 Biological Sketches of Committee Members and Advisors   15

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Figures and Boxes Figure 1-1   MARD area,   5 Boxes 1-1   MARD Evaluation Objectives,   4 2-1   AWIPS Build 4.2 Capabilities That Support Interoffice Backup,   10

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