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President’s Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2011: Geoscience Highlights

February 2, 2010

As Lee Allison over at Arizona Geology blog pointed out earlier today, here is the American Geological Institute’s (AGI) summary of geoscience-related aspects in the federal budget request for fiscal year 2011. I’m going to repost it here just in case people don’t see it at Lee’s blog:

President Obama released the Administration’s budget request for fiscal year 2011 (FY11) on February 1, 2010. Of the $3.8 trillion requested for the U.S. government, here are some highlights of what is being requested for geosciences. The American Geological Institute’s Government Affairs Program will be preparing more detailed summaries and tables of requested geoscience funding in the near future through special email updates and our appropriation web pages.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is requested to receive $7.4 billion, an increase of 8 percent (+$550 million) over FY10.  Much of the increase would be for research with some emphasis on energy and sustainability. A smaller 2 percent increase is requested for NSF’s education and training programs. A major new NSF-wide initiative is called Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability (SEES) which is budgeted at $766 million. The funds will be pulled from across the different directorates and the Geosciences will contribute $231 million for the initiative.

The Geosciences Directorate would receive an increase of 7.4 percent (+$65.6 million) for a total budget of $955.3 million. Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences would receive $281 million (+8.1 percent), Ocean Sciences would receive $378 million (+8.3 percent) and Earth Sciences would receive $199 million (+8.7 percent). EarthScope would receive $26 million (+3.8 percent) and the Ocean Observatories Initiative would receive $27.5 million (+66.7 percent).

The U.S. Geological Survey is requested to receive $1.1 billion, an increase of $21.6 million over FY10. Major increases would include +$3 million for the New Energy Frontier Initiative, +$11 million for the Climate Change Adaptation Initiative, +9 million for the WaterSMART Program, +$3.6 million for work in Chesapeake Bay as part of the Treasured Landscape Initiative,  +$13.4 million for the Landsat Data Continuity Mission, +$4.7 million for hazards, +$13.9 million for the Global Change Program and +$4 million for marine spatial planning through a partnership with the Minerals Management Service.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is requested to receive $19 billion, a increase of 4 percent (+$700 million) over FY10. The Constellation program, to build the Orion spacecraft and Ares rocket, and manned lunar missions would be eliminated. The termination of Constellation leaves the U.S. with a likely multi-year gap in human spaceflight capabilities. The three space shuttles will be retired at the end of this year and the U.S. will depend on Russian spaceflights to support the International Space Station. NASA would like to transition to commercially operated spaceflights.

NASA’s Science Directorate would receive $5 billion, an increase of 8 percent ($540 million). Earth Science would receive $1,420.7 million (+$44 million). NASA would also focus on building Earth-observing satellites. About $170 million would be for replacing the failed Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO). About $150 million would be used to accelerate the development of new satellites for Earth Science priorities.

The Department of Energy is requested to receive $28.4 billion, an increase of 1.4 percent (+$406 million) compared to FY10. The Office of Science would receive $5.1 billion for an increase of $218 million. The Advanced Research Projects in Energy (ARPA-E) would receive $300 million, an additional $40 million would go to existing Energy Frontier Research Centers, an additional $107 million would go to Energy Innovation Hubs and RE-ENERGYSE would get $74 million. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy would receive $2.4 billion (+$113 million), Fossil Energy Programs would receive $586 million (-$86 million) and Nuclear Energy would receive $824 million (+$37 million).

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is requested to receive $919 million, an increase of 7.3 percent over FY10.  Scientific and Technical Research and Services would receive $585 million (+$54 million).
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is requested to receive a huge increase of $164 million for competitively awarded research programs for a total research budget of $429 million for FY11.

See this page on if you want to see more details related to their programs. There has also been a lot of discussion in the blogosphere related to the NASA part of this, including, but not limited to:  Bad Astronomy, The Martian Chronicles, and Highly Allochthonous.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 3, 2010 11:15 am

    Thanks for linking to my post about the NASA budget! This AGI summary of the budget is nice and concise but I wanted to point out one misleading line regarding NASA:

    “The termination of Constellation leaves the U.S. with a likely multi-year gap in human spaceflight capabilities. ”

    This neglects to mention that the continuation of Constellation would *also* leave a multi-year gap in human spaceflight, possibly even longer than the gap predicted with the new plan.

  2. February 3, 2010 11:33 am

    Ryan, sure thing … and thanks for adding your two cents about these issues. If I had a bit more time, I’d dive into the USGS sections in a bit more detail.

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