The National Space Weather Program: Implementing National Capability (Invited Presentation)

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Monday, 5 January 2015: 12:00 AM
227A-C (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Samuel P. Williamson, Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research, Silver Spring, MD; and M. F. Bonadonna

The OFCM-sponsored National Space Weather Program (NSWP) is a Federal interagency initiative established in 1995 to improve the provision of space weather services to our Nation and to facilitate interagency cooperation with regard to supporting research activities. In the past year, the NSWP has moved decisively to develop the new Unified National Space Weather Capability (UNSWC) initiative to rapidly leverage the best capabilities of member agencies to improve space weather services. In 2012, the NSWP launched the new Unified National Space Weather Portal website (www.spaceweather.gov/portal) to provide easy access to a wide range of Federal space weather services and supporting research activities.

The NSWP took a major step forward in 2014 toward developing and publishing a new Implementation Plan (I-Plan). The I-Plan, built on the 2010 NSWP Strategic Plan and other important national planning documents, provides interagency approved implementation actions to support each of the NSWP Goals. Due to its critical importance to the Nation and public welfare, additional emphasis was given to implementation planning for space weather disaster preparedness and response. The NSWP Council asked its Committee for Space Weather to complete the I-Plan for interagency approval by the end of 2014. Publication will follow shortly thereafter.

In order to raise public awareness about space weather impacts and services, the NSWP conducts the Space Weather Enterprise Forum (SWEF) annually, in Washington, DC. The NSWP Council has organized and hosted the SWEF seven times, drawing more than 200 policymakers, senior government leaders, researchers, government and private-sector service providers, space weather information users, the media, and legislators and staff from Capitol Hill at each event.

Another example of OFCM interagency coordination efforts is the NSWP response to an Executive Office of the President's Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) study request, to assess space- and ground-based data sources necessary to support space weather forecasting for the next 10 years. The resulting report, submitted to OSTP in 2011 and then updated in 2012, was released to the public in 2013. Beyond its value as a stand-alone document, the report was used by OSTP's National Earth Observation Task Force to assess the need for space weather observations.

Further, the OFCM would like congratulate the NOAA, the USAF, NASA, NSF, and many other partners for implementing the recommendations of the 2009 NSWP report on the mitigation of the potential loss of a solar wind monitoring capability which provided interagency support for the refurbishment and imminent launch of the Deep Space Climate Observer (DSCOVR) spacecraft, development of commercial data and government satellite options, and continuation of international partnerships for the ground systems. The launch of DSCOVR in early 2015 will once again validate the value of the NSWP and the interagency coordination its fosters.

In 2015, the Council will push forward to continue to develop the UNSWC, host the 2015 SWEF, and publish the new NSWP I-Plan which will help guide Federal agency space weather initiatives for years to come.