TRADITIONAL BUDGET STRUCTURE
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National Weather Service
Total Request: $655,023,000
Total ORF Request: $564,431,000
Goal-Based Chart | Goal-Based
Total PAC Systems Request: $90,592,000
Activity-Based Table | Activity
The following narrative describes the total activities of the National
Weather Service (NWS) and provides a detailed narrative divided to show
the Operations, Research and Facilities (ORF) and Procurement, Acquisition,
and Construction (PAC) accounts. Narrative describing changes involving
NWS Facilities Construction and Maintenance are contained in the separate
NWS provides weather and flood warnings, public forecasts, and severe
weather advisories for all of the United States, the territories, adjacent
waters and ocean areas primarily for the protection of life and property.
Weather services are provided by a nationwide network of offices that collect
data, utilize guidance products centrally prepared through the National
Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), prepare warnings and forecasts,
and disseminate the information to the public. NWS modernization activities
continue to apply the latest advances in science and technology to operational
forecasting, and replace obsolete equipment. The NWS contributes to the
achievement of three of NOAA's Strategic Plan goals; Advance Short-Term
Warning and Forecast Services, Implement Seasonal to Interannual Climate
Forecasts, and Predict and Assess Decadal to Centennial Change.
For FY 1999, the National Weather Service (NWS) requests a total $655.0
million. This includes a total of $564.4 million for Operations, Research,
and Facilities (OR&F) and $90.6 million for Procurement, Acquisition,
and Construction. This includes a net increase of $44.2 million for Operations,
Research, and Facilities and a net decrease $45.6 million for the Procurement,
Acquisition, and Construction Account.
The request supports the modernized operations of the NWS and investments
in the Natural Disaster Reduction Initiative (NDRI). The request for the
NWS will support the provision of weather and flood warnings and forecasts
to the public, and will continue to improve the overall warning lead time
for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, and flash floods as well as improve
the accuracy of hurricane landfall predictions.
This request level also supports the budget and program recommendations
contained the report to Secretary of Commerce entitled, An Assessment of
the Fiscal Requirements to Operate the Modernized National Weather Service
by Retired Air Force General John Kelly, Jr..
As part of the 1995 Secretary's Report to Congress on Adequacy of NEXRAD
Coverage and Degradation of Weather Services under National Weather Service
Modernization for 32 Areas of Concern, the Secretary of Commerce requested
further studies be performed in Williston, North Dakota; Caribou, Maine;
Key West, Florida; Erie, Pennsylvania; and South Bend, Indiana. The Department
of Commerce expects to complete its review of the results, recommendations
and any proposed mitigation actions, if warranted, in early CY 1998. As
such, the FY 1999 budget does not reflect any additional mitigation requirements,
again, if warranted.
Detailed Program Changes
Operations, Research, and Facilities - The FY 1999 net increase of $44.2
million in ORF is divided in five major sections: Mandatory Pay Related
Cost Increases, Staffing and Associated Costs, Non-Labor Requirements, Major
Initiatives, and Systems Acquisition. Included within these groups is the
net of the changes associated with the costs of the MARDI program being
integrated into ongoing operations.
Mandatory Pay Related Cost Increases - NOAA requests an increase of $9.1
million fund the full cost of the federal pay raise and associated locality
pay during FY 1999.
Staffing and Associated Costs - NOAA requests an increase of $9.2 million
to support a total staffing level of 5,039 FTE for the NWS . This includes
staffing to support modernized field operations during AWIPS deployment,
maintain NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) positions pending final implementation
of Console Replacement System technologies, continue ASOS augmentation responsibilities,
and maintain the six Regional Headquarters Office structure.
Non-labor Requirements - NOAA requests an increase of $10.1 to support
non-labor requirements which will ensure adequate central operations support,
provide an adequate field warning and forecast infrastructure, fund non-discretionary
price increases, ensure a reliable observing infrastructure, and provide
application of science and training for field operations.
Radiosonde Replacement Network - NOAA requests an increase of $3.4 million
to continue the replacement of the upper air radiosonde network. The radiosonde
network provides critical upper air observations which are the principal
data source for all weather forecasts. The current radiosonde network is
obsolete and costly to maintain and portions of the current operating radio
frequency are scheduled for reallocation in January of 1999. In FY 1999,
NOAA proposes to award a contract to replace radiosonde launching and tracking
systems, continue software development activities, and begin replacement
of obsolete workstations.
Advanced Hydrologic Prediction System - NOAA requests an increase of
$4.2 million to initiate the national implementation of AHPS, a real time
modeling and data analysis system that will significantly improve flood
forecasting and water management in the United States. AHPS will provide
new forecast products depicting the magnitude and probability of occurrence
for river condition from days to several months in the future. In FY 1999,
NOAA proposes to begin implementation in the Upper Midwest, concentrating
on the Red River of the North, and in the Pacific Northwest, focusing on
the Columbia River Basin.
Continuity of Data Buoy and CMAN Stations - NOAA request a decrease of
$0.2 million for Data Buoy and CMAN operations in FY 1999. The FY 1999 request
of $1.7 million adequately provides for the operation of 36 CMAN and Data
Buoy Stations that were previously funded by other agencies. These stations
provide critical marine observations for coastal warnings and forecasts.
In addition, the maritime industry heavily depends on these observations
for their safety.
Other Reductions - NOAA requests a decrease of $1.0 million in ORF to
reflect the completion of one-time activities as mandated by Congress during
FY 1998 including: installation of NOAA Weather Radio transmitters in Kentucky
and Southern Indiana
(-$.5 million), and product enhancement activities under the Susquehanna
River Basin Flood System (-$.5 million).
Systems Acquisition [funded in Operations, Research & Facilities
Account] - In FY 1998, this subactivity provides for the continued operation
and maintenance of the following systems: Next Generation Weather Radar
(NEXRAD), Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS), Advanced Weather Interactive
Processing System (AWIPS), and the Upgrade of the Central Computing Facility.
Acquisition costs for these systems are requested in the Procurement, Acquisition,
and Construction Account.
NEXRAD - NOAA requests a total of $38.3 million to operate and maintain
the NWS network of 123 NEXRAD units. This request represents a net decrease
of $1.2 million from the FY 1999 base. The NEXRAD network provides nationwide
Doppler radar coverage, improving detection of severe weather and floods
and increasing the warning lead time for tornados. The funding will provide
for logistics, utilities, and system maintenance to ensure the operational
availability of the NEXRAD network.
ASOS - NOAA requests a total of $7.1 million to operate and maintain
the NWS network of 314 ASOS units. This represents a net increase of $1.8
million over the FY 1999 base. ASOS provide weather forecasters with critical
surface observations to improve weather warning and forecast services. ASOS
also provide critical data to support the aviation and climate users. This
increase will provide additional corrective and preventive equipment maintenance
for the ASOS system based on actual maintenance experience, and expand service
levels a 6 NWS sites per an agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration
AWIPS - NOAA requests a total of $12.2 million to begin the operation
and maintenance phase of the AWIPS program. For the first time, AWIPS will
integrate satellite and radar data and provide the local forecaster a capability
that will significantly improve forecasts and warnings. AWIPS will also
provide the communications capability needed to allow internal and external
users access to much of NOAA re.al-time environmental data. The request
represents an increase of $12.2 million to continue hardware and software
maintenance, risk reduction activities, and recurring operational support
Central Computer Facility Upgrade - NOAA requests a total of $4.6 million
for the ORF portion of the Central Computer Facility Upgrade. This upgrade
will provide the computing capacity to improve weather prediction modeling,
and increase accuracy of centralized forecast guidance products, especially
for severe storms. The request represents a decrease of $3.4 million to
reflect the discontinuation of lease payments on the Cray C-90 computer
system (Class VII), and leaves sufficient funds for the operations and maintenance
costs for the Class VIII computer scheduled for operation in FY 1999.
Systems Acquisition [funded in Procurement, Acquisition, and Construction]
- This account provides funding for the activities associated with multi-year
procurement of the major systems supporting the NWS. Currently these systems
are NEXRAD, ASOS, the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS),
and the Upgrade of the Central Computer Facility. The non-capital assets
acquisition costs, maintenance and operations, for these systems are contained
in the ORF account under the NWS Systems Acquisition subactivity.
NEXRAD - NOAA requests a total of $9.2 million for NEXRAD acquisition
in the PAC account, an increase of $2.8 million over the FY 1999 base. The
NEXRAD network provides nationwide Doppler radar coverage, improving detection
of severe weather and floods.and increasing the warning lead time for tornados.
The funding request will support the NEXRAD product improvement initiative
and continue acquisition closeout activities. The request for product improvement
will support the migration to the open systems architecture platform, improving
the maintainability and overall cost efficiency of the NEXRAD system.
ASOS - NOAA requests a total of $3.9 million for ASOS acquisition in
the PAC account. This represents a $.6 million decrease from the FY 1999
base. ASOS provides weather forecasters with critical surface observations
to improve weather warning and forecast services. ASOS also provide critical
data to support the aviation and climate users. The funding request will
continue to support product improvement efforts for developing and testing
new sensor capabilities.
AWIPS - NOAA requests a total of $67.7 million in FY 1999 for AWIPS acquisition
in the PAC account. For the first time, AWIPS will integrate satellite and
radar data and provide the local forecaster a capability that will significantly
improve forecasts and warnings. AWIPS will also provide the communications
capability needed to allow internal and external users access to much of
NOAA real-time environmental data. These funds will allow for continued
program management software development, and deployment activities for nationwide
implementation of the AWIPS system. The request represents an decrease of
$49.2 million from the FY 1999 base in accordance with the planned acquisition
profile and completion of the acquisition program.
Central Computer Facility Upgrade - NOAA requests a total of $9.9 million
for the Central Computer Facility Upgrade in the PAC account. This represents
an increase of $4.9 million over the FY 1999 base. The request will provide
the final payment toward the Cray J-916 systems buy-out, begin the lease
with option to purchase for the Class VIII supercomputer, and begin the
replacement of obsolete interactive computer workstations. These phased
upgrades will continue to improve weather prediction modeling, and increase
accuracy of centralized forecast guidance products, especially for severe