Department of Commerce:

National Weather Service Modernization and NOAA Fleet Issues

T-AIMD/GGD-99-97: Published: Feb 24, 1999. Publicly Released: Feb 24, 1999.

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Joel C. Willemssen
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the: (1) status of the National Weather Service (NWS) systems modernization; and (2) most cost-effective alternatives for acquiring the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) marine data.

GAO noted that: (1) although NWS is nearing completion of its systems modernization effort, two significant challenges face it this year: (a) deploying the final system of modernization; and (b) ensuring that all of its mission-critical systems are year 2000 compliant; (2) NWS has made progress on both fronts; (3) in the NOAA fleet area, NOAA now outsources for more of its research and data needs but plans to spend $185 million over the next five years to acquire four new replacement NOAA fisheries research ships; and (4) thus, GAO believes that continued congressional oversight of this area, as well as NOAA's budget requests for replacement or upgraded ships, is needed to ensure that NOAA is pursuing the most cost-effective alternatives for acquiring marine data.

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