. "Part I Overarching Issues: 2 Clarifying Vision and Goals." Planning Climate and Global Change Research: A Review of the Draft U.S. Climate Change Science Program Strategic Plan. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2003.
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Planning Climate and Global Change Research
might include the relative importance of an activity for meeting the program’s goals, cost, positioning and leverage relative to the private sector and other U.S. and international research entities, and sequencing and scheduling considerations. Ideally the CCSP should make its funding decisions by carefully and explicitly considering which activities best meet the program’s vision and goals and when particular research products are required. These future decisions need to be informed by the CCSP’s overarching vision, rather than only by the considerations of individual agencies as they implement the plan. This will be particularly important, for example, in developing budget support for new programs and for crosscutting issues that are of high strategic importance but currently lack a strong institutional home or span multiple agencies and congressional appropriation committees (e.g., water cycle, decision support).
Assessment of Current Programs and Resources
The CCSP took an important step in mid-2002 when it inventoried federal activities related to global change research (<http://www.climatescience.gov/Library/Inventory_budgetsummary_26Aug02.pdf>). This inventory provides a baseline for the CCSP to assess, as a part of the strategic planning process, whether current programs are sufficient to accomplish the goals, performance metrics, and timelines that will be identified in the final strategic plan. Any gaps or unmet needs for information, capacity, or resources to address the program’s goals and vision that are identified through this process will be a key input to implementing the plan. To be successful and to provide a clear map for the implementation phase that follows, the final strategic plan will need to include a more rigorous assessment that evaluates the match of existing programs and resources to the vision, goals, and priorities identified during the revision process.
A management plan describes the organizational structures and approaches to be used to ensure that program goals are met and to coordinate, integrate, and balance program elements. Chapter 15 of the draft strategic plan constitutes a preliminary management plan for the CCSP and describes at a general level the management structures and processes that will be used to coordinate and integrate federal research and technology development in climate and associated global change. As will be discussed in Chapter 4 of this report, the basic management structure appears sound and could provide a useful general framework for the management of the program. However, the chapter does not provide sufficient detail for the committee to have confidence that the management plan will be effective. A detailed management plan is especially important for the CCSP, because it is new and it is charged with coordinating and integrating the activities of 13 agencies, each with a separate mission and a long history of independent research on climate and associated global changes.
Recommendation: The revised strategic plan should articulate a clear, concise vision statement for the program in the context of national needs. The vision should be specific, ambitious, and apply to the entire CCSP. The plan should translate this vision into a set of tangible goals, apply an explicit process to establish priorities, and include an effective management plan.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE GCRP AND THE CCRI
The draft plan states that to be included in the CCRI, “a program must produce both significant decision or policy-relevant deliverables within two to four years and contribute significantly to one or more of the following activities: (1) address key and emerging climate change science areas that offer the prospect of significant improvement in understanding of climate change phenomena, and where accelerated development of decision support information is possible, (2) optimize observations, monitoring, and data management systems of ‘climate quality data’ […], and (3) developing decision support resources” (CCSP, 2002, p. 15). Focusing part of the CCSP on short-term investigations oriented principally toward decision support is a welcome addition to the longer-term research carried out under the GCRP.
The decision support activities described in Chapter 4 are generally consistent with the CCRI objectives. In fact, the committee considers this emphasis on scientific support for decision makers one of the most promising and innovative features of the draft plan. While there are valuable short-term deliverables in this arena, the committee feels that the CCSP should also commit to a long-term investment in decision support as an on-going component of the program. It is important for the revised plan to make clear how a decision support function in the CCSP will continue well beyond the current two- to four-year effort of the CCRI.
Many of the activities described in Chapters 2 and 3 of the draft plan, however, are not consistent with the CCRI focus on decision support and are unlikely to produce deliverables within four years. This is not to say that these activities are unimportant, but simply that they are not consistent with the CCRI objectives given in the draft plan. Most if not all of the science activities identified to address key and emerging climate change science areas in Chapter 2 seem to better meet an objective of accelerating efforts to understand well-defined, priority scientific questions that may or may not be of direct relevance for decision making. Those activities proposed in Chapter 3 to optimize observations, monitoring, and data management systems