ongoing challenge will be to obtain credit for significant innovations that may be perceived as only loosely associated with the PNGV. A number of channels are being pursued through print and video communications. One such means to educate the media and others is USCAR's publication Dateline 2000. This publication might feature the PNGV in each issue and continue to be circulated to key federal, state, and local policy makers, schools, and universities, as well as to media outlets and suppliers, to build their support and involvement in the project. Another means of media education rests with the government partners. To date, only DOC has pursued media attention in PNGV activities. However, the DOE is the largest participant in terms of research projects, followed by the National Science Foundation (NSF). In the committee's view, increased commitment and visible participation of all the government partners (especially DOE, NSF, DOD, DOT, NASA, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) is needed if the PNGV project is to have a reasonable chance of succeeding. The fact that DOT has decided on a “zero” contribution to PNGV in FY 1996 and that NASA's contributions to the systems analysis work are uncertain beyond FY 1996 suggests a lack of commitment to the program within the administration.
The committee noted that strong coordination among public affairs representatives of all participating agencies could be very beneficial to the PNGV program. The single biggest effort to date appears to have come from DOC, and it is not clear that other government departments have been similarly engaged in helping to build and maintain support for the project. In this context, improved federal program management to support the entire program concept would be beneficial in demonstrating a cohesive, well-defined effort.
The World Wide Web (WWW) site,1 which has been established on the Internet, is a useful tool for performing public outreach on the program and is a notable PNGV achievement of the past year. Built into this communication device is an allowance for tracking the number of individuals who enter the site, documenting their comments, and identifying their affiliation. Analyzing public input at the WWW site could give the PNGV some understanding of where public support exists, what the criticisms of the partnership are, and how best to respond to public questions and skepticism.
Building liaisons with public interest groups that are interested in the outcome of the program and supportive of its success could also be important in gathering public support. As noted in the Phase 1 report, environmental, community, labor, and other related interest groups could be instrumental in advocating the project, which, in turn, could enhance public and policy-maker support for the partnership.
The PNGV site can be reached directly at http://picard.aero.hq.nasa.gov/index.html.