opinion in operations and maintenance costs for drilling platforms have been particularly severe, driven fundamentally by the cost of oil and the numerous other derivative cost increases. Japan has indicted that the Chikyu will conduct scientific drilling for less than a full year; the U.S. may be in a similar situation. The USIO is now assessing the financial demands of the high priority expeditions. We are looking carefully at our costs and developing scenarios for science services. At the moment we do not have a clear picture of our FY 08 program plan. What is clear is the program from FY 08 through FY 2013 will be quite different from the one envisioned when the Initial Science Plan was adopted. The future vision of the program will be the subject of a meeting of IODP leaders in Japan the end of March. Stay tuned. Decades of Context Surrounding Current Challenges As plans for IODP began to take shape 15 years ago, NSF Division of Ocean Sciences prioritized additional infrastructure to support emerging research directions. NSF began to place greater emphasis on large-scale research facilities in all areas of science and educated the Executive and Legislative branches of the federal government about the need for such large infrastructure. At the time, NSF envisioned these new facilities would drive increases in science budgets to support them. Authorization legislation (though not Appropriation legislation) passed supporting a doubling of NSF's budget in the late O90s created a 24 MTR heady time during which NSF Ocean Sciences (OCE) laid detailed plans for a new US drill ship for scientific ocean drilling, a new seismic vessel, new UNOLS vessels of a range of sizes, and new facilities for observing the ocean 24/7. Success in advancing these new initiatives led to OCE having three major facilities (MREFC) the scientific ocean drilling vessel (SODV), the Alaskan Arctic Research Vessel (AARV), and the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) at or near the top of NSF priorities. Additionally, commitments were made to build three mid-sized UNOLS vessels and to outfit a new seismic ship for 3-D seismic imaging. All of these initiatives have been included in the Federal budget and the Congress has funded most of them in recent years. Despite this success, these forwardlooking plans have not fared well after a collision with reality. NSFıs budget has not kept pace with inflation, let alone doubled. This, combined with the increased price of oil and attendant increases in costs of everything having to do with ships and ship building leaves NSF, JOI and the research community in a paradoxical position at the moment. We need, and have successfully argued for, new infrastructure to advance our science. However, in this austere funding climate, we do not have sufficient resources to accomplish all that was envisioned. Funds to pay for research of the new facilities must come from existing research budgets, following a rationale that if the facilities are designed to transform the science, then the transfor- mative science will take priority. The Future at JOI: Personnel Shifts and a New Corporation I've heard recently from a number of community members that the challenges with the drill ship and drilling program suggests that JOI is not interested in ocean drilling and is focused on ocean observing instead. Some of you also question if the merger of JOI and CORE is driven by this observing focus. Nothing could be further from the truth. All of what we do is focused on providing the oceans community with effective leadership and management of community programs. The merger of JOI and CORE into a new, yetto-be-named corporation will bring the community together within one organization and will consolidate efforts in program management, systems engineering, education, outreach, public awareness and advocacy. This is an important step for the community will take place later this year, and I have been and continue to be very supportive of making this happen. JOI staff has been reassigned to meet community objectives. In ocean observing, we have accommodated Kendra Dalyıs return to research and retained the talents of a very experienced and skilled program director, Holly Given, who was in need of new challenges. Furthermore, we are fortunate to have Cathy O'Riordan take Holly's place in leading the U.S. Science Support Program. O'Riordan experience in working with the science community at AGU and managing various proMay 2007
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