Building Strong for Tomorrow: Recommendations for the Organizational Design of the NOAA Climate Service

Sep 01, 2010



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Project Description

The U.S. Congress asked an expert panel of the National Academy of Public Administration to assist NOAA with a study and analysis of organizational options for a Climate Service within NOAA. Further, NOAA formally asked the Panel to provide an independent assessment of how NOAA should organize its climate capabilities and make recommendations for a Climate Service line office structure that would integrate NOAA’s climate science and research with service delivery.

Key Findings

Specifically, the Panel was asked to assess how to:

  1. provide information at the global, regional, and state levels over varying timescales.
  2. support interaction among the government and various users, stakeholders, researchers, and information providers of climate information in both the private and public sectors. 
  3. develop and distribute products and information that will support decision-making to better prepare the Nation for climate variability and climate change.
  4. coordinate and align existing programs and resources internal and external to NOAA to reduce duplications and leverage existing climate-related resources.
  5. provide estimates on projected funding levels.

Further, NOAA formally asked the Panel to: provide an independent assessment of how NOAA should organize its climate capabilities; assess NOAA’s proposed organizational structure in light of our independent assessment; and make recommendations for a Climate Service line office structure that will integrate NOAA’s climate science and research with service delivery.

Recommendations

The Panel strongly supports the creation of a Climate Service to be established as a line office within NOAA. The Panel concluded that a NOAA Climate Service, properly configured and implemented, would be uniquely qualified to serve the public and private sectors as a lead federal agency for climate research and services, and to provide an ongoing accessible, authoritative clearinghouse for all federal science and services related to climate. The report also includes the Panel’s observations and recommendations regarding the larger federal climate enterprise, key elements of support needed by the NOAA Climate Service and the importance to the new organization of a clear strategic plan and a comprehensive implementation plan.  Additionally, the Panel offered observations about institutional change management in the federal sector, identified several management recommendations for implementation and addressed operational priorities and budget challenges.

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