SPACE WEATHER RESEARCH AND FORECASTING ACT; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 75
(Senate - May 02, 2017)

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[Pages S2672-S2674]
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               SPACE WEATHER RESEARCH AND FORECASTING ACT

  Mr. PETERS. Mr. President, I rise today to ask for Senate approval of 
legislation that I sponsored, along with my friend and colleague from 
across the aisle, Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado.
  Earlier this year, we introduced the Space Weather Research and 
Forecasting Act with Senators Booker, Wicker, and Klobuchar, and it 
went on to pass unanimously by the full Senate Committee on Commerce, 
Science, and Transportation in January.
  Space weather, which includes solar flares and coronal mass ejections 
caused by the constantly changing conditions in the Sun's magnetic 
fields, regularly hurls ionized gas toward the Earth. This can 
potentially devastate our infrastructure and significantly disrupt our 
economy. The chances of Earth being hit by a severe space weather event 
are roughly the same as a magnitude 8 earthquake striking the United 
States, but the impact to our way of life would be absolutely 
catastrophic.
  According to NASA, Earth was narrowly missed by a large space weather 
event in 2012, which could have resulted in a worst-case scenario 
impact to Earth. A report by Lloyd's of London estimates that a worst-
case scenario space weather event could cost up to $2.6 trillion and 
impact as many as 40 million people by causing outages at electric 
utilities, disrupting GPS communication networks, and forcing airlines 
to reroute air traffic.
  The potential disruption to these critical sectors of our economy 
makes space weather a threat we must understand better. Scientists 
across the globe, including in my home State of Michigan, are working 
to improve our understanding of space weather and how outputs from the 
Sun interact with the Earth's magnetic field and atmosphere. For years, 
NASA, NOAA, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of 
Defense have funded this critical research.
  The work of scientists and engineers at these agencies and 
universities across the country will help us better predict solar 
events and improve our ability to protect the infrastructure of the 
United States. But as we increasingly realize the magnitude of this 
threat, we need national leadership to focus our resources, coordinate 
planning, and prepare for space weather events.
  This bipartisan legislation sets national priorities to increase and 
improve space weather observations, science, and forecasting abilities. 
This research will improve our efforts to predict and to mitigate the 
effects of space weather events on Earth and in space.
  Space weather is not science fiction. If we don't prepare ourselves, 
the impact could be catastrophic. But by learning to make better 
predictions, issue more effective warnings, and take precautions for 
when that inevitable day comes to pass, we can prevent space weather 
from wreaking costly havoc or disrupting our daily lives.
  It is imperative that we invest in science and technologies to better 
understand space weather. It is imperative that we act on that 
knowledge and understanding to protect our critical infrastructure. It 
is, therefore, imperative that we move quickly to sign into law the 
Space Weather Research and Forecasting Act.
  As in legislative session, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate 
proceed to the immediate consideration of Calendar No. 29, S. 141.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the bill by title.
  The bill clerk read as follows:

       A bill (S. 141) to improve understanding and forecasting of 
     space weather events, and for other purposes.

  There being no objection, the Senate proceeded to consider the bill, 
which had been reported from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
Transportation, with an amendment to strike all after the enacting 
clause and insert in lieu thereof the following:

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Space Weather Research and 
     Forecasting Act''.

     SEC. 2. SPACE WEATHER.

       (a) In General.--Subtitle VI of title 51, United States 
     Code, is amended by adding after chapter 605 the following:

                      ``CHAPTER 607--SPACE WEATHER

``60701. Space weather.
``60702. Observations and forecasting.
``60703. Research and technology.
``60704. Space weather data.

     ``Sec. 60701. Space weather

       ``(a) Findings.--Congress makes the following findings:
       ``(1) Space weather events pose a significant threat to 
     humans working in the space environment and to modern 
     technological systems.
       ``(2) The effects of severe space weather events on the 
     electric power grid, satellites and satellite communications 
     and information, airline operations, astronauts living and 
     working in space, and space-based position, navigation, and 
     timing systems could have significant societal, economic, 
     national security, and health impacts.
       ``(3) Earth and space observations provide crucial data 
     necessary to predict and warn about space weather events.
       ``(4) Clear roles and accountability of Federal departments 
     and agencies are critical for an efficient and effective 
     response to threats posed by space weather.
       ``(5) In October 2015, the National Science and Technology 
     Council published a National Space Weather Strategy and a 
     National Space Weather Action Plan seeking to integrate 
     national space weather efforts and add new capabilities to 
     meet increasing demand for space weather information.
       ``(b) Federal Agency Roles.--
       ``(1) Findings.--Congress finds that--
       ``(A) the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 
     provides operational space weather forecasting and monitoring 
     for civil applications, maintains ground and space-based 
     assets to provide observations needed for forecasting, 
     prediction, and warnings, and develops requirements for space 
     weather forecasting technologies and science;
       ``(B) the Department of Defense provides operational space 
     weather forecasting, monitoring, and research for the 
     department's unique missions and applications;
       ``(C) the National Aeronautics and Space Administration 
     provides increased understanding of the fundamental physics 
     of the Sun-Earth system through space-based observations and 
     modeling, develops new space-based technologies and missions, 
     and monitors space weather for NASA's space missions;
       ``(D) the National Science Foundation provides increased 
     understanding of the Sun-Earth system through ground-based 
     measurements, technologies, and modeling;
       ``(E) the Department of the Interior collects, distributes, 
     and archives operational ground-based magnetometer data in 
     the United States and its territories, and works with the 
     international community to improve global geophysical 
     monitoring and develops crustal conductivity models to assess 
     and mitigate risk from space weather induced electric ground 
     currents; and
       ``(F) the Federal Aviation Administration provides 
     operational requirements for space weather services in 
     support of aviation and for coordination of these 
     requirements with the International Civil Aviation 
     Organization, integrates space weather data and products into 
     the Next Generation Air Transportation System, and conducts 
     real-time monitoring of the charged particle radiation 
     environment to protect the health and safety of crew and 
     passengers during space weather events.
       ``(2) Office of science and technology policy.--The 
     Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy 
     shall--
       ``(A) coordinate the development and implementation of 
     Federal Government activities to improve the Nation's ability 
     to prepare, avoid, mitigate, respond to, and recover from 
     potentially devastating impacts of space weather events; and
       ``(B) coordinate the activities of the space weather 
     interagency working group established under subsection (c).
       ``(c) Space Weather Interagency Working Group.--In order to 
     continue coordination of executive branch efforts to 
     understand, prepare, coordinate, and plan for space weather, 
     the National Science and Technology Council shall establish 
     an interagency working group on space weather.
       ``(d) Membership.--In order to understand and respond to 
     the adverse effects of space weather, the interagency working 
     group established under subsection (c) shall leverage 
     capabilities across participating Federal agencies, 
     including--
       ``(1) the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration;
       ``(2) the National Aeronautics and Space Administration;
       ``(3) the National Science Foundation;
       ``(4) the Department of Defense;
       ``(5) the Department of the Interior;
       ``(6) the Department of Homeland Security;
       ``(7) the Department of Energy;
       ``(8) the Department of Transportation, including the 
     Federal Aviation Administration; and
       ``(9) the Department of State.
       ``(e) Interagency Agreements.--
       ``(1) Sense of congress.--It is the sense of Congress that 
     the interagency collaboration between the National 
     Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Oceanic 
     and Atmospheric Administration on terrestrial weather 
     observations provides--

[[Page S2673]]

       ``(A) an effective mechanism for improving weather and 
     climate data collection while avoiding unnecessary 
     duplication of capabilities across Federal agencies; and
       ``(B) an agency collaboration model that could benefit 
     space weather observations.
       ``(2) Interagency agreements.--The Administrator of the 
     National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the 
     Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
     Administration shall enter into one or more interagency 
     agreements providing for cooperation and collaboration in the 
     development of space weather spacecraft, instruments, and 
     technologies in accordance with this chapter.

     ``Sec. 60702. Observations and forecasting

       ``(a) Policy.--It is the policy of the United States to 
     establish and sustain a baseline capability for space weather 
     observations.
       ``(b) Integrated Strategy.--
       ``(1) In general.--The Director of the Office of Science 
     and Technology Policy, in coordination with the Administrator 
     of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the 
     Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space 
     Administration, the Director of the National Science 
     Foundation, and the Secretary of Defense, and in consultation 
     with the academic and commercial communities, shall develop 
     an integrated strategy for solar and solar wind observations 
     beyond the lifetime of current assets, that considers--
       ``(A) the provision of solar wind measurements and other 
     measurements essential to space weather forecasting; and
       ``(B) the provision of solar and space weather measurements 
     important for scientific purposes.
       ``(2) Considerations.--In developing the strategy under 
     paragraph (1), the Director of the Office of Science and 
     Technology Policy shall consider small satellite options, 
     hosted payloads, commercial options, international options, 
     and prize authority.
       ``(c) Critical Observations.--In order to sustain current 
     space-based observational capabilities, the Administrator of 
     the National Aeronautics and Space Administration shall--
       ``(1) in cooperation with the European Space Agency, 
     maintain operations of the Solar and Heliospheric 
     Observatory/Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronagraph 
     (referred to in this section as `SOHO/LASCO') for as long as 
     the satellite continues to deliver quality observations; and
       ``(2) prioritize the reception of LASCO data.
       ``(d) Additional Capability for Solar Imaging.--
       ``(1) In general.--The Administrator of the National 
     Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shall secure reliable 
     secondary capability for near real-time coronal mass ejection 
     imagery.
       ``(2) Options.--The Administrator of the National Oceanic 
     and Atmospheric Administration, in coordination with the 
     Secretary of Defense and the Administrator of the National 
     Aeronautics and Space Administration, shall develop options 
     to build and deploy one or more instruments for near real-
     time coronal mass ejection imagery.
       ``(3) Considerations.--In developing options under 
     paragraph (2), the Administrator of the National Oceanic and 
     Atmospheric Administration shall consider commercial 
     solutions, prize authority, academic and international 
     partnerships, microsatellites, ground-based instruments, and 
     opportunities to deploy the instrument or instruments as a 
     secondary payload on an upcoming planned launch.
       ``(4) Costs.--In implementing paragraph (1), the 
     Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
     Administration shall prioritize a cost-effective solution.
       ``(5) Operational planning.--The Administrator of the 
     National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shall develop 
     an operational contingency plan to provide continuous space 
     weather forecasting in the event of a SOHO/LASCO failure.
       ``(6) Briefing.--Not later than 120 days after the date of 
     enactment of the Space Weather Research and Forecasting Act, 
     the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
     Administration shall provide a briefing to the Committee on 
     Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the 
     Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House of 
     Representatives on the options for building and deploying the 
     instrument or instruments described in paragraph (2) and the 
     operational contingency plan developed under paragraph (5).
       ``(e) Follow-On Space-Based Observations.--The 
     Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
     Administration, in coordination with the Secretary of 
     Defense, shall develop requirements and a plan for follow-on 
     space-based observations for operational purposes, in 
     accordance with the integrated strategy developed under 
     subsection (b).
       ``(f) Report.--Not later than 180 days after the date of 
     enactment of the Space Weather Research and Forecasting Act, 
     the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy 
     shall submit to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
     Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Science, 
     Space, and Technology of the House of Representatives a 
     report on the integrated strategy under subsection (b), 
     including the plans for follow-on space-based observations 
     under subsection (e).
       ``(g) Ground-Based Observations.--The National Science 
     Foundation, the Air Force, and where practicable in support 
     of the Air Force, the Navy shall each--
       ``(1) maintain and improve, as necessary and advisable, 
     ground-based observations of the Sun in order to help meet 
     the priorities identified in section 60703(a); and
       ``(2) provide space weather data by means of its set of 
     ground-based facilities, including radars, lidars, 
     magnetometers, radio receivers, aurora and airglow imagers, 
     spectrometers, interferometers, and solar observatories.
       ``(h) Ground-Based Observations Data.--The National Science 
     Foundation shall--
       ``(1) provide key data streams from the platforms described 
     in subsection (g) for research and to support space weather 
     model development;
       ``(2) develop experimental models for scientific purposes; 
     and
       ``(3) support the transition of the experimental models to 
     operations where appropriate.

     ``Sec. 60703. Research and technology

       ``(a) User Needs.--
       ``(1) In general.--The Administrator of the National 
     Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Secretary of the 
     Air Force, and where practicable in support of the Air Force, 
     the Secretary of the Navy, in conjunction with the heads of 
     other relevant Federal agencies, shall conduct a 
     comprehensive survey to identify and prioritize the needs of 
     space weather forecast users, including space weather data 
     and space weather forecast data needed to improve services 
     and inform research priorities and technology needs.
       ``(2) Contents.--In conducting the comprehensive survey 
     under paragraph (1), the Administrator of the National 
     Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Secretary of the 
     Air Force, and where practicable in support of the Air Force, 
     the Secretary of the Navy, at a minimum, shall--
       ``(A) consider the goals for forecast lead time, accuracy, 
     coverage, timeliness, data rate, and data quality for space 
     weather observations;
       ``(B) identify opportunities to address the needs 
     identified under paragraph (1) through collaborations with 
     academia, the private sector, and the international 
     community;
       ``(C) identify opportunities for new technologies and 
     instrumentation to address the needs identified under 
     paragraph (1); and
       ``(D) publish a report on the findings under subparagraphs 
     (A) through (C).
       ``(3) Publication.--Not later than 1 year after the date of 
     enactment of the Space Weather Research and Forecasting Act, 
     the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
     Administration, the Secretary of the Air Force, and where 
     practicable in support of the Air Force, the Secretary of the 
     Navy, shall--
       ``(A) make the results of the comprehensive survey publicly 
     available; and
       ``(B) notify the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
     Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Science, 
     Space, and Technology of the House of Representatives of the 
     publication under subparagraph (A).
       ``(b) Research Activities.--
       ``(1) Basic research.--The Director of the National Science 
     Foundation, Administrator of the National Aeronautics and 
     Space Administration, and Secretary of Defense shall continue 
     to carry out basic research activities on heliophysics, 
     geospace science, and space weather and support competitive, 
     merit-based, peer-reviewed proposals for research, modeling, 
     and monitoring of space weather and its impacts, including 
     science goals outlined in Solar and Space Physics Decadal 
     surveys conducted by the National Academy of Sciences.
       ``(2) Multidisciplinary research.--
       ``(A) Findings.--Congress finds that the multidisciplinary 
     nature of solar and space physics creates funding challenges 
     that require coordination across scientific disciplines and 
     Federal agencies.
       ``(B) Multidisciplinary research.--The Director of the 
     National Science Foundation, the Administrator of the 
     National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the 
     Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space 
     Administration shall pursue multidisciplinary research in 
     subjects that further our understanding of solar physics, 
     space physics, and space weather.
       ``(C) Sense of congress.--It is the sense of Congress that 
     the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space 
     Administration and Director of the National Science 
     Foundation should support competitively awarded Heliophysics 
     Science Centers.
       ``(c) Science Missions.--The Administrator of the National 
     Aeronautics and Space Administration shall seek to implement 
     missions that meet the science objectives identified in Solar 
     and Space Physics Decadal surveys conducted by the National 
     Academy of Sciences.
       ``(d) Research to Operations.--
       ``(1) In general.--The Administrator of the National 
     Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Director of the 
     National Science Foundation, the Administrator of the 
     National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the 
     Secretary of the Air Force, and where practicable in support 
     of the Air Force, the Secretary of the Navy, shall--
       ``(A) develop a formal mechanism to transition National 
     Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Science 
     Foundation, Air Force, and Navy research findings, models, 
     and capabilities, as appropriate, to National Oceanic and 
     Atmospheric Administration and Department of Defense space 
     weather operational forecasting centers; and
       ``(B) enhance coordination between research modeling 
     centers and forecasting centers.
       ``(2) Operational needs.--The Administrator of the National 
     Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Secretary of 
     Defense, in coordination with the Administrator of the 
     National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the 
     Director of the National Science Foundation, shall develop a 
     formal mechanism to communicate the operational needs of 
     space weather forecasters to the research community.
       ``(e) Technology Development.--
       ``(1) Findings.--Congress finds that observations and 
     measurements closer to the Sun and advanced instrumentation 
     would provide for

[[Page S2674]]

     more advanced warning of space weather disturbances (as 
     defined in section 3 of the Space Weather Research and 
     Forecasting Act).
       ``(2) Technology and instrumentation development.--The 
     Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space 
     Administration and the Director of the National Science 
     Foundation shall support the development of technologies and 
     instrumentation to improve space weather forecasting lead-
     time and accuracy to meet the needs identified by the 
     Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
     Administration.

     ``Sec. 60704. Space weather data

       ``(a) In General.--The Administrator of the National 
     Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Director of the 
     National Science Foundation shall--
       ``(1) make space weather related data obtained for 
     scientific research purposes available to space weather 
     forecasters and operations centers; and
       ``(2) support model development and model applications to 
     space weather forecasting.
       ``(b) Research.--The Administrator of the National Oceanic 
     and Atmospheric Administration shall make space weather 
     related data obtained from operational forecasting available 
     for scientific research.''.
       (b) Technical and Conforming Amendments.--
       (1) Repeal of section 809.--Section 809 of the National 
     Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 
     2010 (42 U.S.C. 18388) and the item relating to that section 
     in the table of contents under section 1(b) of that Act (124 
     Stat. 2806) are repealed.
       (2) Table of chapters.--The table of chapters of title 51, 
     United States Code, is amended by adding after the item 
     relating to chapter 605 the following:

``607. Space weather.......................................60701''.....

     SEC. 3. SPACE WEATHER METRICS.

       (a) Definitions.--In this section:
       (1) Space weather disturbance.--The term ``space weather 
     disturbance'' includes geo-electric fields, ionizing 
     radiation, ionospheric disturbances, solar radio bursts, and 
     upper atmospheric expansion.
       (2) Space weather benchmark.--The term ``space weather 
     benchmark'' means the physical characteristics and conditions 
     describing the nature, frequency, and intensity of space 
     weather disturbances.
       (b) Benchmarks.--
       (1) Preliminary.--Not later than 90 days after the date of 
     enactment of this Act, the Space Weather Interagency Working 
     Group, established under section 60701 of title 51, United 
     States Code, in consultation with academic and commercial 
     experts, shall--
       (A) assess existing data, the historical record, models, 
     and peer-reviewed studies on space weather; and
       (B) develop preliminary benchmarks, based on current 
     scientific understanding and the historical record, for 
     measuring solar disturbances.
       (2) Final.--Not later than 18 months after the date the 
     preliminary benchmarks are developed under paragraph (1), the 
     Space Weather Interagency Working Group shall publish final 
     benchmarks.
       (3) Review.--The Administrator of the National Aeronautics 
     and Space Administration shall contract with the National 
     Academy of Sciences to review the benchmarks established 
     under paragraph (2).
       (4) Revisions.--The Space Weather Interagency Working Group 
     shall update and revise the final benchmarks under paragraph 
     (2), as necessary, based on--
       (A) the results of the review under paragraph (3);
       (B) any significant new data or advances in scientific 
     understanding that become available; or
       (C) the evolving needs of entities impacted by solar 
     disturbances.

     SEC. 4. PROTECTION OF CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE.

       (a) In General.--The Administrator of the National Oceanic 
     and Atmospheric Administration, in consultation with the 
     heads of other relevant Federal agencies, shall provide 
     information about space weather hazards to the Secretary of 
     Homeland Security for purposes of this section.
       (b) Critical Infrastructure.--The Secretary of Homeland 
     Security, in consultation with sector-specific agencies, the 
     Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
     Administration, and the heads of other relevant agencies, 
     shall--
       (1) include, in meeting national critical infrastructure 
     reporting requirements, an assessment of the vulnerability of 
     critical infrastructure to space weather events, as described 
     by the space weather benchmarks under section 3; and
       (2) support critical infrastructure providers in managing 
     the risks and impacts associated with space weather.
       (c) Prohibition on New Regulatory Authority.--Nothing in 
     subsection (b) may be construed to grant the Secretary of 
     Homeland Security any authority to promulgate regulations 
     that was not in effect on the day before the date of 
     enactment of this Act.
       (d) Definition of Sector-Specific Agency.--In this section, 
     the term ``sector-specific agency'' has the meaning given the 
     term in Presidential Policy Directive-21 of February 12, 2013 
     (Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience), or any 
     successor.

     SEC. 5. PROTECTION OF NATIONAL SECURITY ASSETS.

       (a) In General.--The National Security Council, in 
     consultation with the Office of the Director of National 
     Intelligence, the Secretary of Defense, and the heads of 
     other relevant Federal agencies, shall--
       (1) assess the vulnerability of the national security 
     community to space weather events, as described by the space 
     weather benchmarks under section 3; and
       (2) develop national security mechanisms to protection 
     national security assets from space weather threats.
       (b) Cooperation.--The Secretary of Defense, in consultation 
     with the heads of other relevant Federal agencies, shall 
     provide information about space weather hazards to the 
     National Security Council, Director of National Intelligence, 
     and heads of Defense Agencies for purposes of this section.

     SEC. 6. ENSURING THE SAFETY OF CIVIL AVIATION.

       (a) In General.--The Administrator of the Federal Aviation 
     Administration, in consultation with the heads of other 
     relevant Federal agencies, shall--
       (1) assess the safety implications and vulnerability of the 
     national airspace system by space weather events, as 
     described by the space weather benchmarks under section 3;
       (2) assess methods to mitigate the safety implications and 
     effects of space weather on aviation communication systems, 
     aircraft navigation systems, satellite and ground-based 
     navigation systems, and potential health effects of radiation 
     exposure; and
       (3) assess options for incorporating space weather into 
     operational training for pilots, cabin crew, dispatchers, air 
     traffic controllers, meteorologists, and engineers.
       (b) Space Weather Communication.--The Administrator of the 
     Federal Aviation Administration, in consultation with the 
     heads of other relevant Federal agencies, shall develop 
     methods to increase the interaction between the aviation 
     community and the space weather research and service provider 
     community.

  Mr. PETERS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
committee-reported substitute amendment be considered and agreed to; 
that the bill, as amended, be considered read a third time and passed; 
and that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the 
table.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The committee-reported amendment in the nature of a substitute was 
agreed to.
  The bill (S. 141), as amended, was ordered to be engrossed for a 
third reading, was read the third time, and passed.
  Mr. PETERS. Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Strange). The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. ALEXANDER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Johnson). Without objection, it is so 
ordered.

                          ____________________