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March 16, 2017
BOULDER, Colo. — The budget process for fiscal year 2018, which begins Oct. 1, is now under way with this morning's release of President Trump's proposed budget blueprint. This proposal will be more fully developed in coming months, with the administration providing more detail and then the plan undergoing revisions during negotiations with Congress. The administration’s blueprint would increase spending for defense by $54 billion, with corresponding reductions in domestic spending, including scientific research.
Antonio J. Busalacchi, the president of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), issued the following statement today on the administration’s plan:
It is vital that the government continue to invest in crucial scientific endeavors that save lives and property, ensure our continued economic competitiveness, and strengthen our national security.
Last year alone, our country experienced 15 weather-related disasters that each reached or exceeded $1 billion in costs, including tornadoes, drought, and widespread flooding that, combined, left dozens dead. Even routine weather events affect transportation, supply chain management, consumer purchasing, and other sectors in every state, with a collective impact of hundreds of billions of dollars on the U.S. economy. Higher up in our atmosphere, space weather events pose a multibillion-dollar threat to GPS systems, communications networks, power grids, and other technologies that are essential for the functioning of our nation.
Strategic and necessary collaborations among government agencies, academia, and the private sector are resulting in landmark progress in short- and long-term forecasts. Scientists are gaining revolutionary new insights into the entire Earth system in ways that will lead to predictions of weather patterns and other events weeks, months, or even more than a year in advance, providing needed intelligence to political, military, and business leaders.
UCAR is concerned that the proposed funding cuts to Earth system science research would derail the nation’s progress toward improved prediction and weaken the position of the United States in the world. Earth system science is an international endeavor, prioritized by both U.S. allies and competitors. Any significant cuts to science funding in the U.S. budget would threaten our preeminence, undercutting efforts to keep the public safe and our economy and military strong.
As the months-long budget process moves forward, we will work with policy makers to ensure that the nation continues its robust support of essential Earth system science research.
The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research under sponsorship by the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.