Convergence of U.S.-Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite Systems

NSTC-2, May 5, 1994



I. Introduction

The United States operates civil and military polar-orbiting environmental satellite systems which collect, process, and distribute remotely-sensed meteorological, oceanographic, and space environmental data. The Department of Commerce is responsible for the Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite (POES) program and the Department of Defense is responsible for the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP). The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), through its Earth Observing System (EOS-PM) development efforts, provides new remote sensing and spacecraft technologies that could potentially improve the capabilities of the operational system. While the civil and military missions of POES and DMSP remain unchanged, establishing a single, converged, operational system can reduce duplication of efforts in meeting common requirements while satisfying the unique requirements of the civil and national security communities. A converged system can accommodate international cooperation, including the open distribution of environmental data.

II. Objectives and Principles

The United States will seek to reduce the cost of acquiring and operating polar-orbiting environmental satellite systems, which continuing to satisfy U.S. operational requirements for data from these systems. The Department of Commerce and the Department of Defense will integrate their programs into a single, converged, national polar-orbiting operational environmental satellite system. Additional savings may be achieved by incorporating appropriate aspects of NASA's Earth Observing System.

The converged program shall be conducted in accordance with the following principles:

- Operational environmental data from polar-orbiting satellites are important to the achievement of U.S. economic, national security, scientific, and foreign policy goals.

- Assured access to operational environmental data will be provided to meet civil and national security requirements and international obligations.

- The United States will ensure its ability to selectively deny critical environmental data to an adversary during crisis or war yet ensure the use of such data by U.S. and Allied military forces. Such data will be made available to other users when it no longer has military utility.

- The implementing actions will be accommodated within the overall resource and policy guidance of the President.

III. Implementing Actions

a. Interagency Coordination

1. Integrated Program Office (IPO)

The Departments of Commerce and Defense and NASA will create an Integrated Program Office (IPO) for the national polar-orbiting operational environmental satellite system no later than October 1, 1994. The IPO will be responsible for the management, planning, development, fabrication, and operations of the converged system. The IPO will be under the direction of a System Program Director (SPD) who will report to a triagency Executive Committee via the Department of Commerce's Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere.

2. Executive Committee (EXCOM)

The Departments of Commerce and Defense and NASA will form a convergence EXCOM at the Under Secretary level. The members of the EXCOM will ensure that both civil and national security requirements are satisfied in the converged program, will coordinate program plans, budgets, and policies, and will ensure that agency funding commitments are equitable and sustained. The three member agencies of the EXCOM will develop a process for identifying, validating, and documenting observational and system requirements for the national polar-orbiting operational environmental satellite system. Approved operational requirements will define the converged system baseline which the IPO will use to develop agency budgets for research and development, system acquisitions, and operations.

b. Agency Responsibilities

1. Department of Commerce

The Department of Commerce, through NOAA, will have lead agency responsibility to the EXCOM for the converged system. NOAA will have lead agency responsibility to support the IPO for satellite operations. NOAA will nominate the System Program Director who will be approved by the EXCOM. NOAA will also have the lead responsibility for interfacing with national and international civil user communities, consistent with national security and foreign policy requirements.

2. Department of Defense

The Department of Defense will have lead agency responsibility to support the IPO in major system acquisitions necessary to the national polar-orbiting operational environmental satellite system. DOD will nominate the Principal Deputy System Program Director who will be approved by the System Program Director.

3. National Aeronautics and Space Administration

NASA will have lead agency responsibility to support the IPO in facilitating the development and insertion of new cost effective technologies that enhance the ability of the converged system to meet its operational requirements.

c. International Cooperation

Plans for and implementation of a national polar-orbiting operational environmental satellite system will be based on U.S. civil and national security requirements. Consistent with this, the United States will seek to implement the converged system in a manner that encourages cooperation with foreign governments and international organizations. This cooperation will be conducted in support of these requirements in coordination with the Department of State and other interested agencies.

d. Budget Coordination

Budgetary planning estimates, developed by the IPO and approved by the EXCOM, will serve as the basis for agency annual budget requests to the President. The IPO planning process will be consistent with agencies' internal budget formulation.

IV. Implementing Documents

a. The "Implementation Plan for a Converged Polar-orbiting Environmental Satellite System" provides greater definition to the guidelines contained within this policy directive for creating and conducting the converged program.

b. By October 1, 1994, the Departments of Commerce and Defense and NASA will conclude a triagency memorandum of agreement which will formalize the details of the agencies' integrated working relationship, as defined by this directive, specifying each agency's responsibilities and commitments to the converged system.

V. Reporting Requirements

a. By November 1, 1994, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Defense, and NASA will submit an integrated report to the National Science and Technology Council on the implementation status of the national polar-orbiting operational environmental satellite system.

b. For the fiscal year 1996 budget process, the Departments of Commerce and Defense and NASA will submit agency budget requests based on the converged system, in accordance with the milestones established in the Implementation Plan.

c. For fiscal year 1997 and beyond, the IPO will provide, prior to the submission of each fiscal year's budget, an annual report to the National Science and Technology Council on the status of the national polar-orbiting operational environmental satellite system.


For more information contact, Sylvia K. Kraemer, Office of Policy & Plans, Code Z, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC 20546, skraemer@admingw.hq.nasa.gov
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