strategic plans. The committee therefore recognized that, in advising the CMGP, it would need to consider the concepts outlined in those plans.

For example, in the fall of 1997, the USGS developed a strategic plan to guide the organization into the 21st century. The committee found much of the logic and goals contained in the plan to be both thoughtful and prudent; thus, much of the advice given in this report is in keeping with many of its basic tenets. Of particular value is a brief discussion of the vision of the USGS for 2005 (as articulated in the strategic plan).

The challenge for the USGS is to stay focused on a horizon of some ten years out, while realizing that there will be near-term shifts that will demand our scrutiny and perhaps mid-course corrections. These shifts and corrections will be driven by such forces as the increasing devolution of federal government functions to the states and other entities, changes in national demographics, the expanding influence of advances in scientific methods and technologies, and the continuing—and underlying—tension between the development of the nation's natural resources and environmental conservation. Beyond these already compelling factors are the public's perception of its investment in science as a means of solving societal problems and society's concept of the "public good" of science. . . .

What will characterize the U.S. Geological Survey in 2005? The USGS will be focused on a well-defined group of business activities. The level of effort applied to current activities will be different. For example, the USGS will conduct more studies on hazards, water, and contaminated environments and fewer studies on non-renewable resources.

The following are the salient changes in emphasis mentioned in the USGS strategic plan:

Increasing Emphasis

  • long-term interdisciplinary studies

  • mitigation studies

  • quality and accessibility of resources

  • international mineral/energy studies

  • nontraditional disciplines

  • regional and national studies

  • geospatial data integration

  • applied research and development

  • technology transfer

  • issue-driven studies

  • studies involving population centers

  • multiple-risk assessments

  • digital products

  • real-time event responses

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