who would somehow have to organize through representative means, such as a governing board, to lead and perform the centralized effort. A government-industry confederation, while appealing, has similar drawbacks, since industry has relatively few large players involved in mesoscale observations per se, the field being dominated by large numbers of small to medium corporations and companies with needs tailored to niche markets. In effect, this adds complexity to the multi-level government confederation.

For-Profit Private Corporation

The for-profit private option is judged to be an inappropriate framework to serve the whole of essential facilities and services related to national-scale “public good” needs. For-profit participation is highly valued and should be targeted where appropriate.

Options Worthy of Due Consideration

Confederation of Federal Agencies

Approximately 10 agencies could have a significant stake in the NoN. The concatenated agency missions cut a broad swath through the NoN constituency. Agency representatives could form an effective joint management team, though historically agencies have had difficulty with decentralized funding authority beyond partnerships of two or three agencies. There remain difficulties associated with the transfer of funds and other resources among the many types of public and private organizations in a NoN.

While many possible implementations of confederation governance can be envisioned, one example could be a board, overseeing and relying on a lead agency for day-to-day centralized services. In this example, the governing board could be similar to the Committee of Earth Observing Satellites (CEOS), and the federal agency responsible for day-to-day operations could be NOAA/NWS. CEOS successfully arbitrates the various requirements of both users and providers of weather satellites and helps to provide guidance in both operations and acquisition of satellite systems.

NOAA would be an obvious choice for lead agency responsibilities in this confederation. NOAA/NWS successfully operates several programs including the NEXRAD radar network and the Automated Surface Observing Systems (ASOS), even though these programs are jointly owned by three federal agencies (NOAA, Federal Aviation Administration, and Department of Defense).

Strengths of a confederated federal agency organization include economic scalability and the relative stability associated with exclusive or an

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