Members will review the Administration's fiscal year 2004 budget request for the Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) will preside.
Witness Panel 1
Ms. JayEtta Z. Hecker
Click here for a PDF version of Ms. Hecker's testimony.
Admiral Thomas CollinsCommandantU.S. Coast Guard
INTRODUCTION Good morning, Madame Chairman and distinguished members of the Subcommittee. It is a pleasure to appear before you today to discuss the Coast Guard’s fiscal year 2004 budget request and its impact on the essential daily services we provide the American public. I am pleased to begin by saying that, as a result of support from the President, Secretary Ridge and the Department of Homeland Security, the Coast Guard’s fiscal year 2004 budget contains significant increases to address all of our essential mission needs. The Coast Guard is the lead federal agency for the maritime component of Homeland Security and that, alongside Search and Rescue, is our top priority. In fiscal year 2004, we will continue to build upon the resource capabilities provided in last year’s supplemental and the fiscal year 2003 budget to provide layered maritime security operations, driven by performance and risk-based analysis. The Coast Guard will continue to make the ports less vulnerable to terrorists while still facilitating the use of the Marine Transportation System for legitimate purposes. The President has clearly indicated that protecting the American homeland is our number one priority and the Coast Guard has a critical role in that effort. The President’s National Strategy for Homeland Security (dated 16 July 2002) stated: “The Budget for Fiscal Year 2004 will continue to support the recapitalization of the U.S. Coast Guard’s aging fleet, as well as targeted improvements in the areas of maritime domain awareness and command and control systems…” To that end, the Coast Guard’s fiscal year 2004 budget proposes budget authority of $6.77 billion dollars and continues our effort to establish a new level of maritime safety and security. The Coast Guard’s goal is to create sufficient capability to implement the maritime component of the President’s National Strategy for Homeland Security while sustaining all our traditional missions in the way the American public expects and needs. TRANSFORMATION To implement the President’s strategy, the Coast Guard must conduct a broad transformation of how we deliver services so that we can maintain the highest standards of operational excellence. Over the past few years, the Coast Guard has endeavored to gradually transform itself to meet future maritime threats but since September 11, 2001, that effort has become more urgent. The President’s National Security Strategy requires transformation in all the military services, because the nation is facing new threats from an elusive and determined enemy. A convergence of three significant factors has clearly illustrated the need for a transformed U.S. Coast Guard:
- The need to increase Maritime Homeland Security capability.
- The need to sustain our performance across all Coast Guard missions; and
- The need to quickly implement the comprehensive requirements of the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002.
- Recapitalize legacy assets and infrastructure.
- Increase Maritime Homeland Security Capabilities; and
- Sustain non-Homeland Security missions
- Homeland Security necessitates pushing America’s maritime borders outward, away from ports and waterways so layered, maritime security operations can be implemented. Deepwater provides this capability.
- Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) – knowledge of all activities and elements in the maritime domain – is critical to maritime security. IDS will improve current MDA by providing more capable sensors to collect vital information. Deepwater provides this capability.
- A network-centric system of Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) is required for effective accomplishment of all Coast Guard missions. Deepwater provides this capability. Interdiction of illegal drugs and migrants and protection of living marine resources are important elements of Homeland Security and require capable Deepwater assets. Deepwater provides this capability.
- Prevent terrorist attacks within, and terrorist exploitation of, the U.S. Maritime Domain.
- Reduce America’s vulnerability to terrorism within the U.S. Maritime Domain.
- Protect U.S. population centers, critical infrastructure, maritime borders, ports, coastal approaches and boundaries and “seams” among them.
- Protect the U.S. Marine Transportation System while preserving the freedom of maritime domain for legitimate pursuits.
- Minimize the damage and recover from attacks that may occur within the U.S. Maritime Domain as either the Lead Federal Agency or a supporting agency.
Witness Panel 2
Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., U.S. Navy (Ret.)Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and AtmosphereAdministrator, National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and members of the Committee, for this opportunity to testify on the President’s FY 2004 Budget Request for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA activities and operations contribute to the Nation’s economic and environmental health. This budget request allows us to provide essential support to the programs that enhance our scientific understanding of the oceans and atmosphere, in order to help sustain America’s environmental health and economic vitality. Please note that some increase amounts listed in this testimony may change as a result of the FY 2003 appropriation. Budget numbers in the testimony reflect the program changes from the FY 2003 President’s Budget. NOAA is at the forefront of many of this Nation’s most critical issues from weather forecasting to fisheries management, from safe navigation to coastal services and from environmental observations through NOAA’s satellites to climate research and ocean exploration. The Administration requests $3.325 billion for these people, products and services for Fiscal Year 2004. This represents a very modest total increase of $190.0 million, only about 6% more than the FY03 request. It targets essentials, such as $238.5 million in program changes and $52.0 million in adjustments to base (ATBs), or mandatory cost increases, which are mostly inflationary costs related to salaries for NOAA employees. This budget request focuses on NOAA’s core responsibilities: severe weather prediction; long- term climate and environmental trends; sustaining healthy marine habitats, robust ecosystems and coastal environments;, and managing safety and environmental compliance issues impacting our people. People are NOAA’s top resource, the heart and soul of NOAA operations. It is the people who work for NOAA who allow us to remain a premier oceanic and atmospheric science, service & stewardship agency. The Fiscal Year 2004 NOAA budget request is organized slightly differently than the NOAA budget requests that have been presented to Capitol Hill in past years. I believe that looking at the NOAA organization and programs through a thematic matrix yields a more complete view of the interrelationship of NOAA programs and project teams that cut across the traditional NOAA product and service lines. Organizing the budget in this manner demonstrates NOAA’s commitment to addressing critical environmental issues in a multi-disciplinary manner. The six themes included in the Fiscal Year 2004 NOAA budget are: Infrastructure, Maintenance, Safety & Human Capital; Homeland Security; Climate Change, Research, Observations & Services; Ecosystem Forecasting & Management; Energy & Commerce; and Environmental Monitoring & Prediction. I would like to briefly address what is covered under each theme. Infrastructure, Maintenance, Safety & Human Capital ($ 248.4M, $79.5M increase) The full $52.0 million requested for adjustments to base (ATBs) appears in this theme. This is the most basic, fundamentally important, investment in the infrastructure category. It is the funding necessary to support NOAA’s people, so they can continue to improve service and product delivery to carry out NOAA’s mission. This figure includes the annualization of the 4.1% pay raise in FY 2003, the 2% pay raise requested in FY 2004, and the funds necessary to increase the NOAA Corps and improve ship crew training. The funds requested in this category will also assist NOAA in beginning to implement agency-wide management improvements. This includes addressing remediation projects to improve environmental safety and compliance at NOAA facilities, and participating in the e-gov initiatives that make NOAA more accessible to the American public. Funding is also requested for operation and maintenance of the NOAA Ship FAIRWEATHER, weather forecast office and housing construction in Alaska and the Pacific Region, the $10.4 million NOAA share in the cost of the Center for Weather and Climate Prediction construction and the NOAA Satellite Operations Facility in Suitland, Maryland. This theme also includes investment in health and safety through improvements and upgrades in NOAA’s facilities and equipment, such as the NOAA P-3 “hurricane hunter” aircraft. An investment of $1.7 million this year is requested to upgrade the navigational system of this advanced atmospheric and environmental platform used for hurricane research. Among all the items included in this theme, the most important component of NOAA activities is the people who generate our products and services. Retaining and appropriately compensating the people at NOAA who are working to help us reach our goal of improving services delivery is crucial to attaining this goal. As you are aware, last year NOAA underwent an Agency- wide realignment to help move NOAA into a more efficient mode of operations. The Program Review Team (PRT) posed 3 questions to the NOAA staff, the answers to which formed the core of the PRT report and recommendations: Is NOAA’s organization aligned with its current missions, now and for the future? Are NOAA’s resources properly aligned with requirements? Is NOAA doing things as efficiently as possible? The goals of the PRT exercise were to improve NOAA business practices, including grant management and facilities planning, and to move towards becoming a citizen-centered, results-oriented, market based organization. This effort has resulted in several management improvements just in the last year, including the creation of the Planning, Programming and Integration (PPI) office, and establishing official matrix management teams for the Coral Reef, Habitat Restoration, Ocean Exploration and Climate programs. NOAA is also moving towards integrating program budgeting and performance, separating fisheries science and regulation, and strengthening NOAA administrative services by implementing Activity Based Costing (ABC), and Business Management Fund Development. Homeland Security and Related Programs ($65.1M, $7.7M increase) The investments in this area focus on existing NOAA products and science which can be utilized for Homeland Security. Priorities are on the “first responders,” which enable NOAA technology to be accessed and used by local, state, and federal emergency managers. The funding provided under this theme provides critical infrastructure and enhanced security to current NOAA facilities. For first responders, NOAA is requesting $5.5 million to support a scaled upgrade of the current NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) network to an All Hazards Warning Network for civil emergency messages. The existing NWR network provides the most robust government-owned dissemination infrastructure capable of meeting the all-hazard dissemination requirements. This investment will decrease the time to disseminate civil emergency messages from an average of 7 minutes to 2 minutes. This request is a one-time cost. The funds will allow NOAA to modify existing Advance Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) communications software to allow emergency managers to directly transmit a civil emergency message over secure lines. This modification will have immediate, nationwide impact because NWR is located in every state, linked to the Emergency Broadcast System, and NOAA weather radio receivers are widely available in the commercial market. The security and safety of NOAA facilities is an equally important element of this budget theme. $2.2 million is requested in the FY 2004 budget for emergency preparedness and safety to improve the overall physical security at National Weather Service (NWS) facilities to preclude unauthorized individuals from entering and tampering with NOAA property. This investment will provide for alarm or monitoring systems at 92 weather forecast offices and national centers, as well as electronic or cipher door locks at 149 weather forecast offices or national centers. These small improvements will go a long way towards improving the safety and security of the physical workplaces of NOAA employees across the country. Climate Change, Research, Observations & Services ($295.5M, $16.9M increase) NOAA is requesting a $16.9 million increase for our climate research activities, which is just a portion of the government-wide $185 million Climate Change Research Initiative (CCRI). This funding will allow NOAA to complete 29 stations out of a network of 36 atmospheric vertical profiling stations around North America, and begin producing improved decision support tools, including regional carbon maps. This theme also includes funding for the increased computing needs at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamic Laboratory (GFDL) in Princeton, New Jersey, and further development of the global ocean observing system to meet long-term observational requirements of operational forecast centers, research programs, and major scientific assessments. This initiative builds on the FY 2003 request, focusing on the effective use of scientific knowledge in climate policy and management decisions to reduce uncertainties in climate science and develop research and operational climate products based on science. This strategy is aligned with National Academy of Science recommendations, and takes operational climate forecast capabilities to a 24x7 world. Climate Symposium Event From December 3-5, 2002, under the leadership of James R. Mahoney, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, NOAA and 12 other US Government Agencies hosted a major workshop in Washington, D.C. under the umbrella of the newly formed U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP). The CCSP incorporates both the U.S. Global Climate Change Research Program and the Climate Change Research Initiative. The workshop responded to the President’s initiative to make the U.S. global change and climate change science programs more objective, sensitive to uncertainties and open for public debate. The workshop specifically focused on reviewing the CCSP’s draft strategic plan for climate change and global change studies, with an emphasis on developing short-term (two- to four-year) products to support climate change policy and resource management decision-making. The FY 2003 budget for the CCSP is approximately $1.75 billion. The NOAA request for CCRI for Fiscal Year 2004 is $41.6 million, out of a government wide $182 million. NOAA’s Climate Services Program The nation needs accurate, comprehensive and timely information about climate variability and trends, climate change and climate uncertainties. NOAA’s Climate Services Program is an integrated endeavor designed to develop and deliver climate information, thereby providing an improved basis for climate-related decision-making. NOAA’s Climate Services Program will be managed in a new way within the organization. NOAA has instituted a new Climate Office. The new NOAA Climate Office will consist of representatives from each of the NOAA Line Offices (NOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service (NESDIS) , NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), NOAA National Ocean Service (NOS), NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) and NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR)) and will focus on all NOAA climate programs. This is in contrast with the current NOAA Climate Observations and Services Program office, which primarily focuses on new climate funding and only has representatives from OAR, NWS and NESDIS. The new NOAA Climate Office will work on NOAA’s climate programs, as well as supporting NOAA’s efforts in the interagency Climate Change Science Program. It will be established in accordance with the matrix management principles outlined in the Program Review Report (while the existing Climate Observations and Services Program office will form the basis of the new NOAA Climate Change and Variability Office and will continue to be hosted by OAR). One of NOAA’s top strategic goals in this area is to understand and enhance society’s adaptation to climate variability and change. NOAA has initiated a new Climate Services Program in an effort to coordinate climate activities across all NOAA line offices. NOAA is requesting $2.0 million to help improve our understanding of how climate change affects marine and coastal ecosystems in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska. The waters of Alaska are the most productive fisheries in the world and are home to a wide variety of ecosystems. While NOAA is aware of changes occurring in the climate, we currently lack comprehensive understanding of how these processes can effect biological and other changes in marine ecosystems. The study of the effects of climate changes upon fisheries, marine mammals and birds, ocean temperatures and currents, and other impacted areas is an important task to ensure that the fisheries remain productive in the 21st century. These funds will be used to develop and implement models to understand these dynamics and will fund long-term observations and studies to correlate the relationships between climate and changes in marine ecosystems. Researchers in the Northwest Climate Impacts Group interact with stakeholders to develop and test products based on stakeholder’s needs — linking climate and weather information to marine ecosystems (chiefly Pacific salmon); hydrology and water resources (including hydropower, forest resources), coastal resources; and health. NOAA’s success in providing integrated climate services to the nation can be attributed to NOAA’s unified strategy for transitioning research into systematic and sustained outreach. Specifically, NOAA’s Climate Services Program will benefit from the participation of several NOAA line offices: NWS, NESDIS, and OAR are the primary producers of climate information within NOAA. It is also important to acknowledge the role of the NOAA Officer Corps. The NOAA Corps operates a fleet of research vessels and aircraft that directly contribute to and support these line offices with implementing their climate research, observations and service activities. NOAA Climate Partnerships, Education, and Outreach Efforts NOAA maintains partnerships with universities, private industry, other U.S. agencies, nations and international bodies to observe and monitor the climate, further scientific knowledge, and make climate assessments/predictions. NOAA also works closely with private sector partners to develop products to meet stakeholders’ needs and to ensure that the data and information delivered are readily understood and can be used to develop value-added tailored products and services for business, industry and the public. Climate is a key issue for NOAA and its strategic goals for the future. From observations to research to operational product delivery, NOAA maintains significant involvement in helping the nation and the world respond to the impacts of climate variability and change. NOAA manages several global data bases - for meteorology, oceanography, solid earth geophysics, and solarterrestrial sciences. From these sources, NOAA develops and provides environmental data and information products and services. NOAA gathers global data about the oceans, Earth, air, space, and sun and their interactions to describe and predict the state of the physical environment. The President’s CCRI led to the creation of a new interagency framework to enhance coordination of Federal resources and research activities. Under this framework, thirteen Federal agencies are working together under the leadership of a Cabinet-level committee on climate change to improve the value of U.S. Climate Change research. Even in this time of difficult budget decisions, the President is committed to fully funding climate research so that we can continue to reduce the uncertainties associated with climate change. Ecosystem Forecasting & Management ($1,017.1M, $76.0M increase) NOAA is the largest regulatory agency within the Department of Commerce. Most NOAA regulatory functions and activities are captured under this budget theme. $52.7 million of the increase in this theme involves investments in rebuilding fisheries, and conserving and restoring living marine resources and habitats. This theme focuses on enhancing the understanding of the physical, chemical and biological components of ocean and coastal ecosystems by supporting research and prediction of impacts of environmental factors on the distribution and fate of species and their habitats. Another important activity carried out under this theme is satisfying immediate legal and regulatory requirements of resource stewardship, including Section 7 consultations under the Endangered Species Act, Northeast Groundfish observers, regulatory streamlining, socioeconomic capacity and management of the Columbia River Biological Opinion process. This area also includes a reduction of $20 million for the Pacific Salmon Treaty for which all U.S. obligations have been met. The largest portion of the funding requested under this theme, $57.4 million, and 23 FTE, is for the National Sea Grant College Program. The Administration had previously requested that this program be moved to the National Science Foundation, and is now requesting that the program be retained within NOAA. This program serves more than 300 participating institutions nationwide, and has a network of more than 3,000 scientists, engineers, outreach experts, educators and students. Research initiated under this theme includes studying the influence of climate change on the stewardship of coastal and marine ecosystems, and the scientific basis for management of fisheries to rebuild fisheries and recover protected species. Specifically, as I mentioned earlier, this theme includes $2.0 million for improving the understanding and prediction of climate change on major U.S. marine and coastal ecosystems in the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska. It also includes $3.0 million to modernize and expand stock assessments. This funding will add 170 research days at sea which will be used to improve the comprehensiveness, timeliness, quality and communication of state-of-the-art assessments to NOAA Fisheries and the Regional Fishery Management Councils. The resulting assessments will be of higher quality and more frequency, which reduces the uncertainty in choosing and monitoring rebuilding and management policies. This improvement in the scientific basis for mangement will raise the confidence and certainty of both fishery managers and the industry that our management strategies are necessary and sufficient to return the greatest benefits to the nation. $2.0 million is also requested for 10 FTE for Section 7 consultations. This new funding will help NOAA meet the court-ordered deadlines to conduct consultations on pesticides with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). There is also $3.0 million included in this theme that will be used to increase the number of New England Groundfish observers to meet the court ordered level of 10% observer coverage in the region. The $3.1 million requested for the Federal Columbia River Power System Biological Opinion (Columbia River BiOp), and Basin-wide Recovery Strategy will be used to ensure that management activities necessary for this program are undertaken. This includes allowing NOAA fisheries to promote subbasin planning, enhance recovery planning, and review passage and screening enhancements in priority watersheds. The $2.8 million requested for reducing bycatch will be used to support approximately 2,000 days at sea for observers. These days at sea will be used to enhance and coordinate technical expertise to respond to bycatch issues, including examining existing bycatch reduction methods, evaluating their effectiveness, and designing and testing new methods. These additional funds would complement existing marine mammal efforts and the provisions of the Administration's legislative proposal for the Marine Mammal Protection Act to reduce mortality and serious injury of marine mammals incidental to commercial fishing. These efforts include the collection of data to assess the impact of fishery mortality on marine mammals and to evaluate and develop new fishing gear or practices. This theme also includes $1.5 million for regulatory streamlining activities, to improve NOAA’s ability to administer the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other regulatory collection activities through the development of an information technology (IT) system. Energy & Commerce ($ 116.0M, $7.7M increase) This theme includes a $17 million investment in the safety and productivity of our nation’s waterways and harbors which will help sustain our economy by increasing the levels of trade and improve our abilities in forecasting regional climate and temperature variations which will serve to improve power forecasting and result in savings for the power industry and other public groups. This theme also incorporates $1.2 million to support our High Impact Weather investment. This investment enhances the modernization of the NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) Cooperative Observer Network, which provides the nation with a network of state-of-the-art measurement, monitoring, and communication equipment for surface weather data collection. This includes the modernization of 307 Cooperative Observers Program (COOP) stations in New England. Also included is $2.0 million to build and maintain an additional 100 electronic navigational charts (ENC) to provide contiguous coverage of the Gulf of Mexico and the east coast of the United States. This will go a long way towards helping us achieve our goal of expanding the ENC inventory to a total of 550 by 2006, just over half the 1000 ENCs required to achieve full coverage of all U.S. waters. Another element of this theme is the $1.0 million investment in the development of additional forecast model systems for key ports and bays to promote the safe and efficient transit of cargo through our waterways. This will provide full three-dimensional coverage of a commercial port for water levels, current fields, salinity and water temperature and help measure under-keel ship clearances. The $2.0 million for a Vessel Time Charter to expand our hydrographic surveying capacity is also included in this theme. The funds requested for this activity in FY 2004 build on the request from FY 2003, allowing the vessel to operate in both the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska, collecting data on an additional 550 square nautical miles. Using both government and private resources to collect this data will allow NOAA to accomplish this goal efficiently in FY 2004. Another system that requires upgrades is the National Water Level Observation Network (NWLON), which is over 20 years old. The requested $1.5 million for NWLON will be used to repair these ailing stations, which provide data used for nautical charting, real-time navigation, hazardous material response efforts, and tsunami and storm surge warnings, to name a few uses. Environmental Monitoring & Prediction ($1,600.6 M, $99.5M increase) This theme is organized around two components-observing platforms and sustaining current capabilities. Environmental Monitoring and Prediction includes a $35.4 million investment by the Agency (not including $122.4 million for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES), Polar Operational Environmental Satellite (POES) and the National Polar Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite (NPOESS)) to support technological advancements in NOAA’s severe weather prediction efforts. This theme includes data collection activities on the status and health of the ecosystem. This area also covers the maintenance of the infrastructure needed to ensure basic operations and safety of NOAA employees, and incorporates and expands NOAA’s satellite monitoring and in situ observations. The demand for these types of NOAA products and services is expected to rise significantly over the next several years, particularly in the key areas of Homeland Security and Climate Change. In light of the recent tragic loss of the space shuttle Columbia, as Deputy Secretary Bodman noted in his testimony before the House Science Committee on February 13, I would like to remind the Committee that NASA and NOAA have a long history as partners in the development of our environmental satellite systems. As part of our routine support to the NASA shuttle program and satellite launches, NESDIS and NWS provide specialized services, including space-based observations and weather forecasts. At the time of the accident, NWS transmitted emergency broadcasts in Texas and Louisiana via the NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) network. The FY 2004 request for the polar-orbiting and geostationary satellites ensures the simultaneous operation of existing satellite series while supporting planned critical path acquisition activities for future systems. These data are used to predict hurricanes and other types of severe weather, support search and rescue operations, provide global monitoring and climate assessment and prediction, and monitor significant events such as volcanic eruptions, wildfires and oil spills. The bulk of the funding under this theme will be used to support NOAA’s observing platforms. This includes a $50.2 million net increase for post launch requirements for GOES I-M, the continued procurement of the GOES- N series satellites, instruments, ground systems and systems support necessary to maintain the continuity of geostationary operations, as well as planning and development of the GOES-R series of satellites and instruments. GOES-R will significantly improve weather forecasting as well as homeland security. To support the POES and NPOESS programs, NOAA has requested a $31.5 million net increase in the FY 2004 budget. The NPOESS program will continue the space-based climate record, as well as significantly improving weather forecasting and homeland security. The satellites supported by NESDIS are used by NWS, NOS, NMFS and OAR to support their weather, climate and navigation safety missions. A relatively small $2.0 million of the funding requested under this theme is requested to add sensors to the NOAA’s Coastal Global Observing System to provide definitive information on the effects of the changing climate on coastal communities in the United States, and to improve ocean condition forecasts that adversely affect coastline erosion. The funds will be used to add ocean instrumentation for surface salinity, water temperature and currents to all the existing buoys and coastal marine stations operated by the National Buoy Data Center (NDBC). It adds 15 moored buoys and 15 coastal marine (CMAN) units in areas where data collection buoys are sparse. This theme also includes $1.3 million in funding requested to sustain the operations of the international research program known as THORpex, which stands for The Observing Research and Predictability Experiment. THORpex seeks to gain a better understanding of the global impact of weather predictability, with the goal of improving our 3 day forecast accuracy to that of our current 2 day forecast, and producing reliable forecasts up to 14 days in advance. This investment will be in new technologies and improving our data assimilation and numerical weather prediction capability. An additional $1.3 million is requested under this theme for sustaining our flood prediction capability along the Susquehanna River in the states of New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland. The Susquehanna is a 444-mile river whose basin extends from Cooperstown, NY, to the Chesapeake Bay. It sustains six times the nation’s average in flood damages per square mile each year. The $1.3 million can be broken down as follows: $0.6 million for flood forecast enhancements, $0.5 million for the data network and $0.2 million for the Susquehanna River Basin Commission for Outreach and Community Assistance. We are also asking for $3.6 million to sustain our weather warning and forecast services for the Pacific Islands. This will allow NOAA to continue providing upper-air and aviation surface observations in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau. These observations are critical to accurately forecasting weather events in the Pacific Region. Another important element covered by this theme is aircraft maintenance. We are requesting $1.5 million for necessary aircraft maintenance including manufacturer- required, mid-life inspection of our G-IV aircraft used for hurricane surveillance and winter storms reconnaissance. $1.6 million is also requested for a replacement aircraft to conduct snow surveys. The aircraft currently used for this purpose is experiencing an increase in unscheduled maintenance downtime, and this aircraft provides critical data as part of our airborne snow survey program. Another area where we are looking to add funding for a technology infusion is for our NWS Telecommunications Gateway. The $2.9 million requested for this purpose will be used to reduce time delays for disseminating critical hydrometeorological data for NWS national centers, weather forecast offices, and other federal agencies and partners that rely on this data for operations. This funding will address electric power and facility deficiencies, and be used to replace the communications matrix switch, and some enterprise servers and front-end processors. The servers and processor replacement activity will be ongoing because it is a two-year refresh program. These pieces of equipment need to be replaced in order to meet our goal of achieving transmit times of less then 10 seconds for watches and warnings by 2005. Currently the average delay is between one and two minutes. More efficient information technology equipment is the key to reducing this transmit time to the required level by 2005. Another area that warrants investment is NEXRAD technology deployment. The $3.7 million requested for this activity will also improve lead times, expanding average tornado warning lead times from 11 minutes to 15 minutes by 2007, and increasing the forecasters’ ability to detect small tornadoes. This investment will allow NOAA to purchase and deploy 82 all Open Radar Data Acquisition (ORDA) systems prior to the onset of severe-weather season in FY 2005, and complete deployment of ORDA systems by the end of FY 2006. Supporting these programs and initiatives will significantly improve NOAA’s ability to support weather and water, ecosystems, and homeland security programs. Other Key Projects/Programs in FY 2004 President’s Budget Some of the other key areas of investment in the FY 2004 budget request include funding for our laboratory research programs, which provide for continued ocean observations, baseline observatories, and climate change assessments. Funding also provides for our SEARCH program that focuses on detection of climate change in the Arctic, and to continue NOAA’s Energy Initiative, which consists of high impact weather and air quality activities, including funding for the Joint Hydrography Center in New Hampshire. Funding is also provided for undersea exploration, research, and technology in both the deep ocean and the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), as well as to maintain our fundamental data collection and assimilation for the National Weather Service. This type of funding also allows NOAA to continue the vessel monitoring system for our enforcement and surveillance activities. Conclusion NOAA’s Fiscal Year 2004 Budget request invests in our priority areas: people, climate, energy, homeland security, infrastructure, research, science, and services. In this time of tight budgets and difficult funding decisions, this budget maintains NOAA on its course to realize its full potential as this nation’s premier environmental science agency. The new thematic budget structure reflects NOAA's business approach as an integrated NOAA team which responds to the needs our customers and employees have voiced in workshops and communications efforts. NOAA is also doing its part to exercise fiscal responsibility as stewards of the Nation's trust as well as America's coastal and ocean resources. And, in the same way that NOAA is responsible for assessing the Nation's climate, we have assessed and are improving our management capabilities. NOAA will continue to respond to key customers and stakeholders, and will continue to leverage its programs and investments by developing those associations that most efficiently and economically leverage resources and talent, and that most effectively provide the means for successfully maintaining NOAA mission requirements. NOAA’s budget strongly demonstrates the success of performance budgeting, where funding has been matched by results. Each request in the Technical Budget includes specific goals and descriptions of expected performance factors. NOAA Senior Management is now required to report every quarter on a set of performance measures that have come to be known as “The Administrator’s Metrics.” This new set of reporting requirements reflects NOAA’s commitment to “Management by Fact,” a philosophy NOAA will continue to demonstrate throughout Fiscal Year 2004 and beyond. Thank you for the opportunity to present NOAA’s Fiscal Year 2004 budget.