NOAA RELEASES ACTION PLAN ON TROPICAL PREDICTION CENTER ASSESSMENT
announced today that it is implementing a comprehensive action plan
to address recommendations from an independent assessment team that
reviewed operations at the Tropical Prediction Center.
team, which was led by Dr. James M. Turner, deputy director of the National
Institute of Standards and Technology, conducted its assessment in late
June and early July and on July 13 submitted its recommendations to
Vice Admiral Conrad
C. Lautenbacher, Jr., USN (ret.), under secretary of commerce for
oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.
Turner’s team identified several issues that should be addressed
at the Tropical Predication Center, as well as at more senior levels
at NOAA, and provided some excellent recommendations,” Lautenbacher
said. Lautenbacher directed Brig. Gen. John
J. Kelly, Jr., USAF (ret.), deputy under secretary of commerce for
oceans and atmosphere, to review the findings and recommendations of
the assessment team and develop a response.
we’ve seen again this season, the professionals at the Tropical
Prediction Center are highly skilled in providing Americans the information
they need to prepare for tropical weather,” Lautenbacher said.
“This process has quickly and efficiently identified actions that
can help them carry out their life-saving mission. We are acting on
all of the recommendations of Dr. Turner and his team and now have a
plan in place to respond to these recommendations as soon as practicable.”
a result of the Kelly review, NOAA has developed an action plan to implement
nine of the 11 recommendations as offered by the assessment team. A
tenth recommendation is being accepted in modified form (see fact sheet
below). An eleventh recommendation involves personnel matters and is
being handled separately. Lautenbacher has directed Jack Hayes, NOAA
assistant administrator for weather services and director of NOAA’s
National Weather Service, to implement the action plan, which focuses
on management and organizational priorities, scientific advancement
and communications. Several activities contained in the action plan
are already underway. Completion of all actions is expected by the end
of the 2008 fiscal year.
is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through
the prediction and research of weather- and climate-related events and
information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental
stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources. Through
the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS),
NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and
the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that
is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.
Note: A summary of NOAA’s action plan is attached. A
redacted copy of Gen. Kelly’s response to the assessment team’s
recommendations is available at http://www.publicaffairs.noaa.gov/releases2007/pdf/tpc_assessment.pdf
Action Plan Summary
to Recommendations from the Tropical Prediction Center Assessment Team
following summarizes key NOAA actions being undertaken in response to
recommendations of an independent assessment of the Tropical Prediction
Center in July 2007. Completion of all actions is expected by the end
of the 2008 fiscal year.
more detailed information, see: http://www.publicaffairs.noaa.gov/releases2007/pdf/tpc_assessment.pdf
problems and divisions among the staff must be addressed as a
high priority for the good of the center and to ensure that the
organization can perform its mission.”
secure the services of an organization development consultant
familiar with NOAA to collect and understand organizational issues.
The consultant will formulate and implement an action plan for
addressing weaknesses, accentuating strengths and promoting team-building.
NWS, and NOAA should increase their focus on the critical technical
needs in hurricane forecasting, including improved ocean surface
vector wind data, intensity understanding and forecasting, and
|NOAA is already
engaged in activities aimed at addressing these issues.
The new Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project
Team is developing a unified, integrated approach to accelerate
hurricane forecast improvements in one- to five-day forecasts,
encompassing research, operations and outreach in areas such
as observations, modeling and associated supercomputing, research-to-operations
transition, product design and development, and education and
NOAA will develop a recommendation for an Ocean
Surface Vector Winds (OSVW) Satellite replacement based on an
upcoming Jet Propulsion Laboratory report and updated studies
on the impact of OSVW on models.
| 4. “NOAA
leadership at all levels must require the highest level of conduct
and performance from its employees and its managers. Supervisors
must know that they will be supported in the management of their
operations and held accountable for failure to manage effectively.”
identified the need for an effective management and leadership
development strategy as one of its top five human capital challenges.
While this strategy is being developed for senior
leadership, NOAA will take advantage of existing programs, such
as conducting “providing employee performance feedback”
and “setting performance expectations” workshops
for TPC supervisors and other components of the organization.
will assess the developmental needs of TPC supervisors and other
| 5. “Make
the following organizational changes: create a Hurricane Forecast
Branch chief (separate and distinct from the center deputy director);
make the three branches (hurricane, tropical analysis forecast,
and technical support) direct reports to the same TPC supervisor;
consider moving the Science Operations Officer (SOO) and storm
surge activities into a separate unit reporting to the office
of the director.”
The action to assign a team lead for the Hurricane Forecast Branch
has already been completed.
NOAA will develop a reorganization plan for
TPC based on input from the organizational development consultant.
clear, written statements of authority for decision making throughout
the management chain of TPC – and communicate them to all
develop and distribute a written statement of authority for decision-making.
the methods and means to ensure that the products and services
provided by the TPC are meeting the needs of users. Establish
a user group to provide regular input on the TPC’s priorities
and proposed new or revised products.”
strengthen procedures to meet user needs by leveraging on-going
activities rather than establish a new group. NOAA will develop
and implement a process to collect user requirements identified
in various annual conferences and workshops. NOAA will use these
requirements in annual NOAA planning processes. NOAA will apply
the process to all NCEP centers in addition to TPC.
should develop a vision for the future, clearly identifying its
priorities and how it plans to get there.”
develop a strategic vision and multi-year implementation plan
not only for the TPC but also for each NCEP service area and mission
support area using cross-center teams. NOAA will engage staff
and draw on customers needs as described in recommendation 7.
formal succession planning and leadership programs for developing
staff from within.”
adopt the NOAA Leadership Development and Management strategy
in FY08, which promotes leadership and management skills to help
managers and staff succeed in executing their mission. In the
meantime, NOAA will develop a “pilot” succession planning
process for key NWS positions. Once a succession program is successfully
institutionalized, it will be expanded to encompass more NWS supervisory,
managerial and executive positions.
The TPC will develop individual development
plans for each TPC employee and supervisor.
needs to foster an environment in which its centers, including
the TPC, feel they are part of the process and part of one organization.”
revitalize existing processes to reinforce NCEP mission and operations.
NOAA will educate TPC employees on their contributions to and
dependencies on other NOAA components. This will be shared with
other components of NCEP.
must communicate aggressively, in plain language, key facts and
rebut erroneous information about its hurricane program to stakeholders
and to the public.”
|NOAA is implementing
a NOAA Hurricane Program Communication Plan, which is a series
of fact sheets, podcasts, and editorial board meetings designed
to inform the media and public about the importance of the hurricane
research program and the TPC forecasts that help save lives and