A new Federal government interagency effort aimed at better coordination of government meteorological services is putting significant emphasis on data and cybersecurity resources to accomplish that goal, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) said.

OSTP and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are leading the effort to create the Interagency Council for Advancing Meteorological Services (ICAMS), with the group’s inaugural meeting set for August 27.

The creation of ICAMS, OSTP said, fulfills a provision of the 2017 Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act. Its stated goal is to “improve the mechanism by which all relevant Federal departments and agencies coordinate policy and practices to ensure the United States’ continued global leadership in the meteorological services enterprise.”

ICAMS will consist of four coordination committees, one of which is the Committee on Cyber, Facilities, and Infrastructure that will coordinate all relevant computing, data, networking, and security elements for operations and research. The Committee on Observational Systems will coordinate land, air, ocean, and space-based observation systems and associated data for meteorological research and services.

A third committee – the Committee on Research and Innovation – will coordinate “an Earth system approach to advance meteorological services including definition of research topics, community engagement, coordination among research organizations, engagement of multi-sector enterprise to maximize technological innovation, creation of new modalities/processes/efficiencies, building collaborations, and pursuing frontier capabilities,” OSTP said.

“The goal of developing ICAMS and improving the interagency coordination process is to ensure that the United States will lead the world in meteorological services through an Earth system approach,” said OSTP Director Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier. “This is an exciting time, and the new structure will modernize our activities, make us much more efficient, and will keep us competitive with other countries. The Trump Administration and the White House’s new role with ICAMS will help turbocharge the Federal meteorological enterprise to the benefit of every American,” he said.

Besides OSTP and NOAA, Federal agencies that make up ICAMS include the Office of Management and Budget, and the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, State, and Transportation. The Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, National Science Foundation, and the National Transportation Safety Board are also included.

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John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.