The DOI strategic plan for 2011-2016 indicates science as a key component of the DOI mission and identifies the USGS as the Department’s primary science organization. The DOI strategic plan outlines the following goals for the USGS:

  • ensure the quality and relevance of science products to partners and customers;
  • provide science for sustainable resource use, protection, and adaptive management;
  • provide scientific data to protect and inform communities; and
  • develop a comprehensive science framework for understanding the Earth.

The mission of the USGS is to provide geological, topographic, biological, and hydrological information that contributes to the wise management of natural resources and that promotes public health, safety, and well being. In 2010-2011, the Survey restructured under the following seven mission areas: Climate and Land-Use Change; Core Science Systems; Ecosystems; Energy and Minerals; Environmental Health; Natural Hazards; and Water. These science mission areas align with the goals of the DOI strategic plan and the overall USGS mission. In the international arena, the USGS Office of International Programs (OIP) is responsible for representing all USGS mission areas and reports directly to the Director of the USGS. The authority of the Secretary of the Interior to have the USGS address international tasks, when in the national interest, was formalized in legislation in 1962.

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the White House National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), and the Department of State (DOS) have all cited specific international priorities for science that explicitly call upon USGS expertise and information (1) to address scientific and technological issues associated with a changing climate, constraints on energy resources, and environmental degradation; and (2) to establish national goals for U.S. science and technology investments that ensure economic prosperity, public health, environmental quality, and security. Similarly, the DOS/U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Strategic Plan lists the USGS as an essential partner in fulfilling U.S. foreign policy objectives in strategic priority areas such as energy security and the environment. USAID and organizations such as the World Bank have engaged USGS expertise in predictions of pending drought, assessments of water quality, and responses to natural disasters. The Department of Defense (DOD) has also called upon the USGS to help address U.S. government needs. In addition, the USGS works in partnership with other federal agencies such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Department of Energy (DOE), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on international activities of complementary interest. The USGS

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