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FCW just ran a worrying piece on the very high possibility of a “gap” in the United States’ weather observation systems that may last as long as 17 months. This is due to a number of reasons, including aging satellites and a replacement program that came up short on funds, and disbanded. According to David Powner, director of IT management issues for the Government Accountability Office, “potential contingency plans could include a combination of utilizing European satellite data, a deal with the DOD to harness its satellite data, or increased ground-based observational data…”
In the wake of the recent disaster, and given climate projections that foresee an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, this is a problem that should be of the highest priority for U.S. national security planners.
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