(December 2005 - 2007)
Charles served on a 6-12 month detail as a member of the Science Strategy
Team (SST, consisting of 10 USGS scientists appointed by the Director and
the Bureau Policy Council (BPC).
USGS SCIENCE STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT
several strategic plans, science goals and business models have been
developed for all or parts of USGS, a comprehensive vision, science goals
and priorities that unite all bureau capabilities toward challenges for
the future has not been developed since the early 1990s. Without
developing consensus and support for such an overarching vision and
strategy, it will be more difficult for USGS programs and leaders to make
choices that maximize the effectiveness and impact of USGS science. Many
documents have been developed in the last decade that describe both the
challenges and opportunities for the scientific community to contribute to
our nation’s goals. These source materials and those developed by the
bureau and our customers will provide primary source material for the
development and discussion of goals and strategies through which USGS can
most effectively contribute to society’s needs. The USGS Science Strategy
(USS) will be created by a small team of scientists from throughout the
bureau who develop recommendations for the Bureau Program Council (BPC).
An expanded team of technical experts will work with them as they develop
ideas. All recommendations and ideas will be reviewed and vetted within
USGS and by our stakeholders before finalization.
Scope and Objectives: The USGS Science Strategy (USS) will be a
25-30 page document that is issue driven, has a big picture focus, and is
forward looking with clear concise goals and objectives. The strategy will
guide science planning and help identify bureau priorities for the next
decade. It should be succinct with a focus on the major scientific and
policy drivers for the activities of the USGS. The USS will be consistent
with the broad guidelines/outlines of the USGS Strategic Plan and the
Department of Interior (DOI) Strategic Plan and goals. It should consider
the full breadth of USGS science independent of sources of funding (e.g.
Congressionally appropriated, reimbursable funding for domestic work and
international work). The strategy should be largely independent of the
organizational structure of the USGS. The focus should be heavily on
future opportunities where USGS science can most effectively contribute to
the Nation and the world. The focus should also be on the balance of our
present scientific portfolio (e.g. monitoring, assessment, and research)
and where that balance might be in the future anticipating changing
societal questions and needs. It should describe new and/ or altered
capabilities USGS must develop to exert science leadership and contribute
significantly in core areas. Both infrastructure and personnel skills
should be considered.
While the USS should be visionary and integrative in science goals, it
should also suggest some first level objectives for each strategic goal. A
critical part of the USS should take into account USGS’s existing
scientific infrastructure, skill mix and science capabilities and provide
recommendations for changes necessary to achieve desired outcomes.
Suggested changes and strategies for the development or enhancement of
capabilities will be monitored through changes in program, regional, and
discipline plans. Identifying new and expanded opportunities for
cooperation and collaboration with partners should be an important goal of
the strategy, as well as a subject of first level objectives in
accomplishing our goals.
Team Membership: The core Team shall comprise a Chair, an alternate
Chair, and not more than 9 members appointed by the BPC and the Director.
Appointment is for the duration of the development process of the USS.
Each member will be expected to contribute no less than 50% of their time
to the development of a polished first draft of the USS in 6 months. All
members of the Team shall be employees of the USGS and will represent a
broad cross section of backgrounds and experience in the bureau. Advice
from communities external to the USGS shall be obtained through a number
of means including discussion, stakeholder listening sessions, and BSS
Technical Experts: The core Team will rely on subteams as needed to
gather and evaluate information, to analyze information provided, and to
help with crafting parts of the USS. The membership of the subteams is to
be determined by the core committee with approval from the BPC. USGS
employees as well as external scientists can be considered for membership.
Role of the BPC: The BPC will both establish the core team and
approve subteams needed for development of the strategy. It will provide
executive oversight and interaction with the core team, meeting regularly
to review progress and provide input into products and action plans. BPC
members will attend stakeholder meetings and actively engage the USGS and
external communities in dialogue concerning the content of the science
strategy. Members will champion active engagement by all parts of USGS in
strategy development and make final determinations on content of the
Duration: The creation of the USS from beginning to the final
production of a document shall be completed within 9-12 months.
Support: One or more Executive Assistants shall be provided to the
core team as necessary. The Executive Assistants will be responsible for
the administrative support to the Team and for providing any necessary
technical or logistical support required by the Team or any of its members
during the development of the USS.
Estimated Operating Costs: Home offices of team members will
provide salary support. Members and assistants, while engaged in the
performance of their duties away from their homes or regular places of
business, will be provided travel expenses, including per diem. Total cost
of developing the BSS is estimated to be ~$500K. This may or may not
include the cost of production of the final strategy document. Details of
the staffing of the Team (full time, part time, etc.) and the budget are
to be established.
Description of Duties: To create a bureau-level science strategy
USGS will utilize approaches that have been successfully followed to
create similar strategic visions. These commonly involve the review of a
variety of existing review, planning, and visioning documents and
discussions (possibly in a panel format) with a range of internal and
external stakeholder groups at different locations.
Examples of existing documents that should be reviewed are: DOI Strategic
Plan, USGS Strategic Plan, recent National Academy of Sciences/National
Research Council reviews of the USGS and its Programs, other USGS plans
such as Program 5-year plans, Geology and Geography 10-year science
strategies, the forthcoming Water Resources Discipline science review
requested by the Office of Management and Budget, NAS/NRC, CENR and
international (eg. GEOSS and Millenium Assessment) reports on significant
science challenges facing society, strategic plans and science strategies
of other agencies with some overlap with USGS mission (e.g. NASA, NOAA,
EPA, DOE, etc.) as well as those of natural science agencies of other
countries. Of special note would be coordination with those developing the
bureau hazards strategy for the next decade. While understanding the
content of all the types of documents suggested above is crucial for
establishing a context, the core Team charged to develop the USS is to
begin with a blank slate.
Discussions and listening sessions, possibly in a panel format like those
used by the National Academy of Sciences, will involve USGS scientists and
managers and some of the following internal and external stakeholder
groups and others: State agencies; leaders from academic institutions;
important members of the non-profit sector; business and industry leaders;
scientists and resource managers from within the DOI; representatives of
other Federal agencies; the Office of Science and Technology Policy; the
U.S. Congress; and professional societies.
A special effort should be made to solicit input from USGS employees from
the beginning of the process by distributing an all employees message
soliciting ideas on broad strategic objectives and by instituting an
electronic suggestion box. This box will be open during the entire time
that the USS is developed. A web site is also suggested to post relevant
documents and to provide updates on the status of the USS.
The core team and BPC shall ensure that the review of the strategy
document involves technical and non-technical expertise, and internal as
well as external experts. A final review of the strategy document will be
done by the BPC. The BPC will provide final recommendations to the
Director. The Director will consider all recommendations and has final