Statement from Dr. Kathryn Sullivan on NOAA’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Request

February 3, 2015

NOAA Blue Book - FY 2016  Budget Summary.

NOAA is America’s environmental intelligence agency. We provide timely, reliable, and actionable information — based on sound science — every day to millions of Americans. NOAA’s products and services are used by decision makers around the country to better understand risk and prepare for the future. We’re helping people, communities, businesses, and governments make smart decisions that directly impact the future of society, the economy, and the environment. The demand for products and services that NOAA provides continues to increase – from the daily weather forecast to seasonal drought outlooks, to decadal sea level rise projections, and much more.

NOAA’s FY 2016 budget request of nearly $6.0 billion supports critical investments in our priorities, including: 1) community and economic resilience; 2) National Weather Service (NWS) evolution; 3) observational infrastructure; and 4) organizational excellence. 

Providing Information and Services to Make Communities More Resilient


NOAA held a FY 2016 Budget Briefing for Stakeholders
on Feb. 24, 2015.

Access the slides, and listen to the presentation using the player below. (Audio file is also available for download - right click to save).

The FY 2016 budget request will improve NOAA’s ability to provide people, communities, businesses, and governments with information they can understand and use to make smart decisions, assess risk, and minimize losses. With the foresight provided through environmental intelligence, communities can mitigate coastal flooding through natural shorelines, fisheries can better account for changing ocean temperatures and acidification, and different economic sectors can position themselves to take advantage of our changing climate. The proposed expansion of the Regional Coastal Resilience Grants program will empower states, territories, tribes, local government, and public/private partners to improve resilience planning efforts, identify and address their shared risks and vulnerabilities, increase their adaptive capacity, and use tools such as “green infrastructure” to mitigate and minimize the risks associated with climate impacts. 

Evolving NOAA’s National Weather Service

Impacts from severe storms in the United States cost billions of dollars and claim thousands of lives per year. Becoming a Weather Ready Nation means not just providing timely, accurate, and reliable weather forecasts, but it also means communicating that information in a way that compels people to act to protect themselves and their interests. The FY 2016 budget will continue efforts already underway to evolve the National Weather Service. Major activities in FY 2016 include overhauling the aging Next Generation Weather Radar infrastructure that underpins our weather forecast and warning services for high-impact events, such as tornadoes. In addition, this request builds on the FY 2015 initiative to improve national hydrologic modeling and forecast capabilities at the National Water Center, which are essential to providing communities improved flood forecasts and inundation mapping. The FY 2016 budget also includes an initiative to improve skill in forecasting weather out to weeks three and four — a time period which is currently poorly forecasted and for which many economic sectors are demanding better insight into probable climate and economic conditions.

Investing in Observational Infrastructure

NOAA’s global observing systems are the foundation of the environmental intelligence we provide. The FY 2016 budget includes critical investments in weather satellite systems and the NOAA fleet to preserve — and improve — our ability to generate environmental intelligence. The FY 2016 budget begins a polar follow-on satellite system to ensure data continuity for key sensors as the current generation of satellites reaches their end of service. The FY 2016 budget also initiates construction of an Ocean Survey Vessel (OSV), a multi-use platform designed to conduct surveys throughout the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone. The OSV will have a more diverse range of capabilities and functions than any other vessel in the NOAA fleet. Without continued investment, the NOAA fleet is expected to decline to half its current size by 2028, which would impair NOAA’s ability to provide the observations and services that communities depend on.    

Achieving Organizational Excellence

Each day, NOAA’s employees strive to promote organizational excellence and execute our mission with discipline and consistency. We must recruit, retain, reward, and develop the best talent possible and ensure that our customers receive the best service possible. The FY 2016 budget continues critical investments in organizational excellence by bolstering our internal servicing capability and efficiency and investing in the future of NOAA’s facilities. These services and facilities are the cornerstone of NOAA’s ability to effectively execute its mission of science, service, and stewardship. 

In closing, NOAA’s FY 2016 budget submission supports our unique role within the federal government. The investments we make today are critical as we strive to provide the environmental intelligence communities have come to rely upon. 

Dr. Kathryn Sullivan
Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere
and NOAA Administrator



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