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114th Congress   }                                        {      Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session     }                                        {     114-126

======================================================================



 
        WEATHER RESEARCH AND FORECASTING INNOVATION ACT OF 2015

                                _______
                                

  May 19, 2015.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

     Mr. Smith of Texas, from the Committee on Science, Space, and 
                  Technology, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 1561]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, to whom 
was referred the bill (H.R. 1561) to improve the National 
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's weather research 
through a focused program of investment on affordable and 
attainable advances in observational, computing, and modeling 
capabilities to support substantial improvement in weather 
forecasting and prediction of high impact weather events, to 
expand commercial opportunities for the provision of weather 
data, and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
report favorably thereon with an amendment and recommend that 
the bill as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Committee Statement and Views....................................     8
Section-by-Section...............................................    14
Explanation of Amendments........................................    17
Committee Consideration..........................................    17
Application of Law to the Legislative Branch.....................    17
Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the 
  Committee......................................................    17
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............    17
Duplication of Federal Programs..................................    17
Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings..............................    18
Federal Advisory Committee Act...................................    18
Unfunded Mandate Statement.......................................    18
Earmark Identification...........................................    18
Committee Estimate...............................................    18
Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate...    18
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill as Reported.............    20

    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:


SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Weather Research and Forecasting 
Innovation Act of 2015''.

SEC. 2. PUBLIC SAFETY PRIORITY.

  In accordance with NOAA's critical mission to provide science, 
service, and stewardship, the Under Secretary shall prioritize weather 
research, across all weather programs, to improve weather data, 
forecasts, and warnings for the protection of life and property and the 
enhancement of the national economy.

SEC. 3. WEATHER RESEARCH AND FORECASTING INNOVATION.

  (a) Program.--The Assistant Administrator for OAR shall conduct a 
program to develop improved understanding of and forecast capabilities 
for atmospheric events and their impacts, placing priority on 
developing more accurate, timely, and effective warnings and fore-casts 
of high impact weather events that endanger life and property.
  (b) Program Elements.--The program described in subsection (a) shall 
focus on the following activities:
          (1) Improving the fundamental understanding of weather 
        consistent with section 2, including the boundary layer and 
        other atmospheric processes affecting high impact weather 
        events.
          (2) Improving the understanding of how the public receives, 
        interprets, and responds to warnings and forecasts of high 
        impact weather events that endanger life and property.
          (3) Research and development, and transfer of knowledge, 
        technologies, and applications to the NWS and other appropriate 
        agencies and entities, including the American weather industry 
        and academic partners, related to--
                  (A) advanced radar, radar networking technologies, 
                and other ground-based technologies, including those 
                emphasizing rapid, fine-scale sensing of the boundary 
                layer and lower troposphere, and the use of innovative, 
                dual-polarization, phased array technologies;
                  (B) aerial weather observing systems;
                  (C) high performance computing and information 
                technology and wireless communication networks;
                  (D) advanced numerical weather prediction systems and 
                forecasting tools and techniques that improve the 
                forecasting of timing, track, intensity, and severity 
                of high impact weather, including through--
                          (i) the development of more effective 
                        mesoscale models;
                          (ii) more effective use of existing, and the 
                        development of new, regional and national 
                        cloud-resolving models;
                          (iii) enhanced global weather models; and
                          (iv) integrated assessment models;
                  (E) quantitative assessment tools for measuring the 
                impact and value of data and observing systems, 
                including OSSEs (as described in section 8), OSEs, and 
                AOAs;
                  (F) atmospheric chemistry and interactions essential 
                to accurately characterizing atmospheric composition 
                and predicting meteorological processes, including 
                cloud microphysical, precipitation, and atmospheric 
                electrification processes, to more effectively 
                understand their role in severe weather; and
                  (G) additional sources of weather data and 
                information, including commercial observing systems.
          (4) A technology transfer initiative, carried out jointly and 
        in coordination with the Assistant Administrator for NWS, and 
        in cooperation with the American weather industry and academic 
        partners, to ensure continuous development and transition of 
        the latest scientific and technological advances into NWS 
        operations and to establish a process to sunset outdated and 
        expensive operational methods and tools to enable cost-
        effective transfer of new methods and tools into operations.
  (c) Extramural Research.--
          (1) In general.--In carrying out the program under this 
        section, the Assistant Administrator for OAR shall collaborate 
        with and support the non-Federal weather research community, 
        which includes institutions of higher education, private 
        entities, and nongovernmental organizations, by making funds 
        available through competitive grants, contracts, and 
        cooperative agreements.
          (2) Sense of congress.--It is the sense of Congress that not 
        less than 30 percent of the funds for weather research and 
        development at OAR should be made available for the purpose 
        described in paragraph (1).
  (d) Report.--The Under Secretary shall transmit to Congress annually, 
concurrently with NOAA's budget request, a description of current and 
planned activities under this section.

SEC. 4. TORNADO WARNING IMPROVEMENT AND EXTENSION PROGRAM.

  (a) In General.--The Under Secretary, in collaboration with the 
American weather industry and academic partners, shall establish a 
tornado warning improvement and extension program.
  (b) Goal.--The goal of such program shall be to reduce the loss of 
life and economic losses from tornadoes through the development and 
extension of accurate, effective, and timely tornado forecasts, 
predictions, and warnings, including the prediction of tornadoes beyond 
one hour in advance.
  (c) Program Plan.--Not later than 6 months after the date of 
enactment of this Act, the Assistant Administrator for OAR, in 
coordination with the Assistant Administrator for NWS, shall develop a 
program plan that details the specific research, development, and 
technology transfer activities, as well as corresponding resources and 
timelines, necessary to achieve the program goal.
  (d) Budget for Plan.--Following completion of the plan, the Assistant 
Administrator for OAR, in coordination with the Assistant Administrator 
for NWS, shall transmit annually to Congress a proposed budget 
corresponding to the activities identified in the plan.

SEC. 5. HURRICANE FORECAST IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM.

  (a) In General.--The Under Secretary, in collaboration with the 
American weather industry and academic partners, shall maintain the 
Hurricane Forecast Improvement Program (HFIP).
  (b) Goal.--The goal of such program shall be to develop and extend 
accurate hurricane forecasts and warnings in order to reduce loss of 
life, injury, and damage to the economy.
  (c) Program Plan.--Not later than 6 months after the date of 
enactment of this Act, the Assistant Administrator for OAR, in 
consultation with the Assistant Administrator for NWS, shall develop a 
program plan that details the specific research, development, and 
technology transfer activities, as well as corresponding resources and 
timelines, necessary to achieve the program goal.
  (d) Budget for Plan.--Following completion of the plan, the Assistant 
Administrator for OAR, in consultation with the Assistant Administrator 
for NWS, shall transmit annually to Congress a proposed budget 
corresponding to the activities identified in the plan.

SEC. 6. WEATHER RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT PLANNING.

  Not later than 6 months after the date of enactment of this Act, and 
annually thereafter, the Assistant Administrator for OAR, in 
coordination with the Assistant Administrators for NWS and NESDIS, 
shall issue a research and development and research to operations plan 
to restore and maintain United States leadership in numerical weather 
prediction and forecasting that--
          (1) describes the forecasting skill and technology goals, 
        objectives, and progress of NOAA in carrying out the program 
        conducted under section 3;
          (2) identifies and prioritizes specific research and 
        development activities, and performance metrics, weighted to 
        meet the operational weather mission of NWS to achieve a 
        weather-ready Nation;
          (3) describes how the program will collaborate with 
        stakeholders, including the American weather industry and 
        academic partners; and
          (4) identifies, through consultation with the National 
        Science Foundation, American weather industry, and academic 
        partners, research necessary to enhance the integration of 
        social science knowledge into weather forecast and warning 
        processes, including to improve the communication of threat 
        information necessary to enable improved severe weather 
        planning and decisionmaking on the part of individuals and 
        communities.

SEC. 7. OBSERVING SYSTEM PLANNING.

  The Under Secretary shall--
          (1) develop and maintain a prioritized list of observation 
        data requirements necessary to ensure weather forecasting 
        capabilities to protect life and property to the maximum extent 
        practicable;
          (2) undertake, using OSSEs, OSEs, AOAs, and other appropriate 
        assessment tools, ongoing systematic evaluations of the 
        combination of observing systems, data, and information needed 
        to meet the requirements listed under paragraph (1), assessing 
        various options to maximize observational capabilities and 
        their cost-effectiveness;
          (3) identify current and potential future data gaps in 
        observing capabilities related to the requirements listed under 
        paragraph (1); and
          (4) determine a range of options to address gaps identified 
        under paragraph (3).

SEC. 8. OBSERVING SYSTEM SIMULATION EXPERIMENTS.

  (a) In General.--In support of the requirements of section 7, the 
Assistant Administrator for OAR shall undertake OSSEs to quantitatively 
assess the relative value and benefits of observing capabilities and 
systems. Technical and scientific OSSE evaluations--
          (1) may include assessments of the impact of observing 
        capabilities on--
                  (A) global weather prediction;
                  (B) hurricane track and intensity forecasting;
                  (C) tornado warning lead times and accuracy;
                  (D) prediction of mid-latitude severe local storm 
                outbreaks; and
                  (E) prediction of storms that have the potential to 
                cause extreme precipitation and flooding lasting from 6 
                hours to 1 week; and
          (2) shall be conducted in cooperation with other appropriate 
        entities within NOAA, other Federal agencies, the American 
        weather industry, and academic partners to ensure the technical 
        and scientific merit of OSSE results.
  (b) Requirements.--OSSEs shall quantitatively--
          (1) determine the potential impact of proposed space-based, 
        suborbital, and in situ observing systems on analyses and 
        forecasts, including potential impacts on extreme weather 
        events across all parts of the Nation;
          (2) evaluate and compare observing system design options; and
          (3) assess the relative capabilities and costs of various 
        observing systems and combinations of observing systems in 
        providing data necessary to protect life and property.
  (c) Implementation.--OSSEs--
          (1) shall be conducted prior to the acquisition of major 
        Government-owned or Government-leased operational observing 
        systems, including polar-orbiting and geostationary satellite 
        systems, with a lifecycle cost of more than $500,000,000; and
          (2) shall be conducted prior to the purchase of any major new 
        commercially provided data with a lifecycle cost of more than 
        $500,000,000.
  (d) Priority OSSEs.--
          (1) Global navigation satellite system radio occultation.--
        Not later than December 31, 2015, the Assistant Administrator 
        for OAR shall complete an OSSE to assess the value of data from 
        Global Navigation Satellite System Radio Occultation.
          (2) Geostationary hyperspectral sounder global 
        constellation.--Not later than December 31, 2016, the Assistant 
        Administrator for OAR shall complete an OSSE to assess the 
        value of data from a geostationary hyperspectral sounder global 
        constellation.
  (e) Results.--Upon completion of all OSSEs, results shall be publicly 
released and accompanied by an assessment of related private and public 
sector weather data sourcing options, including their availability, 
affordability, and cost effectiveness. Such assessments shall be 
developed in accordance with section 50503 of title 51, United States 
Code.

SEC. 9. COMPUTING RESOURCES PRIORITIZATION REPORT.

  Not later than 12 months after the date of enactment of this Act, and 
annually thereafter, the NOAA Chief Information Officer, in 
coordination with the Assistant Administrator for OAR and the Assistant 
Administrator for NWS, shall produce and make publicly available a 
report that explains how NOAA intends to--
          (1) continually support upgrades to pursue the fastest, most 
        powerful, and cost effective high performance computing 
        technologies in support of its weather prediction mission;
          (2) ensure a balance between the research to operations 
        requirements to develop the next generation of regional and 
        global models as well as highly reliable operational models;
          (3) take advantage of advanced development concepts to, as 
        appropriate, make next generation weather prediction models 
        available in beta-test mode to operational forecasters, the 
        American weather industry, and partners in academic and 
        government research; and
          (4) use existing computing resources to improve advanced 
        research and operational weather prediction.

SEC. 10. COMMERCIAL WEATHER DATA.

  (a) Amendment.--Section 60161 of title 51, United States Code, is 
amended by adding at the end the following: ``This prohibition shall 
not extend to--
          ``(1) the purchase of weather data through contracts with 
        commercial providers; or
          ``(2) the placement of weather satellite instruments on 
        cohosted government or private payloads.''.
  (b) Strategy.--
          (1) In general.--Not later than 6 months after the date of 
        enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Commerce, in 
        consultation with the Under Secretary, shall transmit to the 
        Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House of 
        Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
        Transportation of the Senate a strategy to enable the 
        procurement of quality commercial weather data. The strategy 
        shall assess the range of commercial opportunities, including 
        public-private partnerships, for obtaining surface-based, 
        aviation-based, and space-based weather observations. The 
        strategy shall include the expected cost effectiveness of these 
        opportunities as well as provide a plan for procuring data, 
        including an expected implementation timeline, from these 
        nongovernmental sources, as appropriate.
          (2) Requirements.--The strategy shall include--
                  (A) an analysis of financial or other benefits to, 
                and risks associated with, acquiring commercial weather 
                data or services, including through multiyear 
                acquisition approaches;
                  (B) an identification of methods to address planning, 
                programming, budgeting, and execution challenges to 
                such approaches, including--
                          (i) how standards will be set to ensure that 
                        data is reliable and effective;
                          (ii) how data may be acquired through 
                        commercial experimental or innovative 
                        techniques and then evaluated for integration 
                        into operational use;
                          (iii) how to guarantee public access to all 
                        forecast-critical data to ensure that the 
                        American weather industry and the public 
                        continue to have access to information critical 
                        to their work; and
                          (iv) in accordance with section 50503 of 
                        title 51, United States Code, methods to 
                        address potential termination liability or 
                        cancellation costs associated with weather data 
                        or service contracts; and
                  (C) an identification of any changes needed in the 
                requirements development and approval processes of the 
                Department of Commerce to facilitate effective and 
                efficient implementation of such strategy.
          (3) Authority for agreements.--The Assistant Administrator 
        for NESDIS may enter into multiyear agreements necessary to 
        carry out the strategy developed under this subsection.
  (c) Pilot Program.--
          (1) Criteria.--Not later than December 31, 2015, NOAA shall 
        publish data standards and specifications for space-based 
        commercial weather data.
          (2) Pilot contract.--
                  (A) Contract.--Not later than October 1, 2016, NOAA 
                shall, through an open competition, enter into at least 
                one pilot contract with a private sector entity capable 
                of providing data that meet the standards and 
                specifications set by NOAA to provide commercial 
                weather data in a manner that allows NOAA to calibrate 
                and evaluate the data.
                  (B) Assessment of data viability.--Not later than 
                October 1, 2019, NOAA shall transmit to Congress the 
                results of a determination of the extent to which data 
                provided under the contract entered into under 
                subparagraph (A) meet the criteria published under 
                paragraph (1).
          (3) Obtaining future data.--NOAA shall, to the extent 
        feasible, obtain commercial weather data from private sector 
        providers.
          (4) Authorization of appropriations.--There are authorized to 
        be appropriated out of funds made available for procurement, 
        acquisition, and construction at NESDIS, $9,000,000 for 
        carrying out this subsection.

SEC. 11. ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION SERVICES WORKING GROUP.

  (a) Establishment.--The NOAA Science Advisory Board shall continue to 
maintain a standing working group named the Environmental Information 
Services Working Group (in this section referred to as the ``Working 
Group'') to--
          (1) provide advice for prioritizing weather research 
        initiatives at NOAA to produce real improvement in weather 
        forecasting;
          (2) provide advice on existing or emerging technologies or 
        techniques that can be found in private industry or the 
        research community that could be incorporated into forecasting 
        at NWS to improve forecasting skill;
          (3) identify opportunities to improve communications between 
        weather forecasters, Federal, State, local, and tribal 
        emergency management personnel, and the public; and to improve 
        communications and partnerships among NOAA and the private and 
        academic sectors; and
          (4) address such other matters as the Science Advisory Board 
        requests of the Working Group.
  (b) Composition.--
          (1) In general.--The Working Group shall be composed of 
        leading experts and innovators from all relevant fields of 
        science and engineering including atmospheric chemistry, 
        atmospheric physics, meteorology, hydrology, social science, 
        risk communications, electrical engineering, and computer 
        sciences. In carrying out this section, the Working Group may 
        organize into subpanels.
          (2) Number.--The Working Group shall be composed of no fewer 
        than 15 members. Nominees for the Working Group may be 
        forwarded by the Working Group for approval by the Science 
        Advisory Board. Members of the Working Group may choose a chair 
        (or co-chairs) from among their number with approval by the 
        Science Advisory Board.
  (c) Annual Report.--The Working Group shall transmit annually to the 
Science Advisory Board for submission to the Under Secretary a report 
on progress made by NOAA in adopting the Working Group's 
recommendations. The Science Advisory Board shall transmit this report 
to the Under Secretary. Within 30 days of receipt of such report, the 
Under Secretary shall transmit it to the Committee on Science, Space, 
and Technology of the House of Representatives and the Committee on 
Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate.

SEC. 12. INTERAGENCY WEATHER RESEARCH AND INNOVATION COORDINATION.

  (a) Establishment.--The Director of the Office of Science and 
Technology Policy shall establish an Inter-agency Committee for 
Advancing Weather Services to improve coordination of relevant weather 
research and forecast innovation activities across the Federal 
Government. The Interagency Committee shall--
          (1) include participation by the National Aeronautics and 
        Space Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration, NOAA 
        and its constituent elements, the National Science Foundation, 
        and such other agencies involved in weather forecasting 
        research as the President determines are appropriate;
          (2) identify and prioritize top forecast needs and coordinate 
        those needs against budget requests and program initiatives 
        across participating offices and agencies; and
          (3) share information regarding operational needs and 
        forecasting improvements across relevant agencies.
  (b) Co-chair.--The Federal Coordinator for Meteorology shall serve as 
a co-chair of this panel.
  (c) Further Coordination.--The Director shall take such other steps 
as are necessary to coordinate the activities of the Federal Government 
with those of the American weather industry, State governments, 
emergency managers, and academic researchers.

SEC. 13. OAR AND NWS EXCHANGE PROGRAM.

  (a) In General.--The Assistant Administrator for OAR and the 
Assistant Administrator for NWS may establish a program to detail OAR 
personnel to the NWS and NWS personnel to OAR.
  (b) Goal.--The goal of this program is to enhance forecasting 
innovation through regular, direct interaction between OAR's world-
class scientists and NWS's operational staff.
  (c) Elements.--The program shall allow up to 10 OAR staff and NWS 
staff to spend up to 1 year on detail. Candidates shall be jointly 
selected by the Assistant Administrator for OAR and the Assistant 
Administrator for NWS.
  (d) Report.--The Under Secretary shall report annually to the 
Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House of 
Representatives and to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
Transportation of the Senate on participation in such program and shall 
highlight any innovations that come from this interaction.

SEC. 14. VISITING FELLOWS AT NWS.

  (a) In General.--The Assistant Administrator for NWS may establish a 
program to host postdoctoral fellows and academic researchers at any of 
the National Centers for Environmental Prediction.
  (b) Goal.--This program shall be designed to provide direct 
interaction between forecasters and talented academic and private 
sector researchers in an effort to bring innovation to forecasting 
tools and techniques available to the NWS.
  (c) Selection and Appointment.--Such fellows shall be competitively 
selected and appointed for a term not to exceed 1 year.

SEC. 15. NOAA WEATHER RADIO ALL HAZARDS ``MARK TRAIL'' AWARD PROGRAM.

  (a) Program.--The Assistant Administrator for NWS is authorized to 
establish the NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards ``Mark Trail'' Award 
Program. This award program shall provide annual awards to honor 
individuals or organizations that use or provide NOAA Weather Radio All 
Hazards receivers or transmitters to save lives and protect property. 
Individuals or organizations that utilize other early warning tools or 
applications also qualify for this award.
  (b) Goal.--This award program draws attention to the life-saving work 
of the NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards program, as well as emerging 
tools and applications, that provide real-time warning to individuals 
and communities of severe weather or other hazardous conditions.
  (c) Program Elements.--
          (1) Nominations.--Nominations for this award shall be made 
        annually by the Weather Field Offices to the Assistant 
        Administrator for NWS. Broadcast meteorologists, weather radio 
        manufacturers and weather warning tool and application 
        developers, emergency managers and public safety officials may 
        nominate individuals and/or organizations to their local 
        Weather Field Offices, but the final list of award nominees 
        must come from the Weather Field Offices.
          (2) Selection of awardees.--Annually, the Assistant 
        Administrator for NWS shall choose winners of this award whose 
        timely actions, based on NOAA weather radio all hazards 
        receivers or transmitters or other early warning tools and 
        applications, saved lives and/or property or demonstrated 
        public service in support of weather or all hazard warnings.
          (3) Award ceremony.--The Assistant Administrator for NWS 
        shall establish a means of making these awards to provide 
        maximum public awareness of the important Weather Radio All 
        Hazards program, and such other warning tools and applications 
        as are represented in the awards.

SEC. 16. DEFINITIONS.

  In this Act:
          (1) AOA.--The term ``AOA'' means an Analysis of Alternatives.
          (2) NESDIS.--The term ``NESDIS'' means the National 
        Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service.
          (3) NOAA.--The term ``NOAA'' means the National Oceanic and 
        Atmospheric Administration.
          (4) NWS.--The term ``NWS'' means the National Weather 
        Service.
          (5) OAR.--The term ``OAR'' means the Office of Oceanic and 
        Atmospheric Research.
          (6) OSE.--The term ``OSE'' means an Observing System 
        Experiment.
          (7) OSSE.--The term ``OSSE'' means an Observing System 
        Simulation Experiment.
          (8) Under secretary.--The term ``Under Secretary'' means the 
        Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere.

SEC. 17. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

  (a) Fiscal Year 2015.--There are authorized to be appropriated for 
fiscal year 2015--
          (1) $90,800,000 to OAR to carry out this Act, of which--
                  (A) $70,000,000 is authorized for weather 
                laboratories and cooperative institutes; and
                  (B) $20,800,000 is authorized for weather and air 
                chemistry research programs; and
          (2) out of funds made available for research and development 
        at NOAA, an additional amount of $16,000,000 for OAR to carry 
        out the joint technology transfer initiative described in 
        section 3(b)(4).
  (b) Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017.--For each of fiscal years 2016 and 
2017, there are authorized to be appropriated to OAR--
          (1) $100,000,000 to carry out this Act, of which--
                  (A) $80,000,000 is authorized for weather 
                laboratories and cooperative institutes; and
                  (B) $20,000,000 is authorized for weather and air 
                chemistry research programs; and
          (2) an additional amount of $20,000,000 for the joint 
        technology transfer initiative described in section 3(b)(4).
  (c) Limitation.--No additional funds are authorized to carry out this 
Act, and the amendments made by this Act.

                     Committee Statement and Views


                          PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    The purpose of H.R. 2413 is to improve the National Oceanic 
and Atmospheric Administration's weather research through a 
focused program of investment on affordable and attainable 
advances in observational, computing, and modeling capabilities 
to support substantial improvement in weather forecasting and 
prediction of high impact weather events, and to expand 
commercial opportunities for the provision of weather data.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    Weather impacts American lives, and extreme weather poses 
significant risks to important parts of the U.S. economy. NOAA 
has traced a rise in weather disasters costing the economy up 
to $1 billion in damage per weather event, and a recent 
analysis found that substantial parts of the economy are 
sensitive to weather variability, representing more than three 
percent of Gross Domestic Product and nearly $500 billion a 
year.\1\
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    \1\http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/2011BAMS2928.1
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    Recent severe weather events in the United States have 
underscored the need for timely, accurate, and reliable weather 
forecasts. Within NOAA, the National Weather Service (NWS), the 
Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), and the 
National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service 
(NESDIS) play important roles in developing and deploying U.S. 
weather forecasting capabilities.\2\ NOAA is joined in this 
effort by an ever-evolving private sector weather enterprise. 
The National Academy of Sciences emphasized the importance of 
this partnership, noting that ``[p]rivate sector and other 
organizations provide sensor data, weather forecasts, and end-
user services to a broad set of customers.''\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\For more information on these responsibilities, see: ``To 
Observe and Protect: How NOAA Procures Data for Weather Forecasting,'' 
March 28, 2012, http://science.house.gov/hearing/subcommittee-energy-
and-environment-hearing-how-noaa-procures-data-weather-forecasting.
    \3\http://dels.nas.edu/resources/static-assets/materials-based-on-
reports/reports-in-brief/Weather-Services-Report-Brief.pdf.
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    Rapid technological advances in computing and other areas 
such as remote sensing and advanced radar hold great promise to 
improve severe weather prediction, but have yet to be fully 
exploited. This promise was detailed in NOAA's most recent 20 
Year Research Vision, which asserted that emphasis on weather 
research and technological development will result in 
significant benefits to public safety:

          Severe storm and event warnings will save more lives 
        and property. The enhanced information delivery systems 
        of the future will be well coordinated and able to 
        quickly disseminate severe storm and event warnings. 
        The warnings themselves will see dramatic improvements. 
        For example, tornado warning lead times will be on the 
        order of one hour, rather than minutes. Technology like 
        phased array radar, significant improvements in our 
        understanding of meso-scale weather processes, and the 
        development of models that embody this understanding 
        will enable this accomplishment. Improvements in storm 
        surge forecasting and increased tsunami monitoring/
        warning capacity will also greatly minimize loss of 
        life and property damage from these hazards.\4\
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    \4\http://nrc.noaa.gov/sites/nrc/Documents/
Reduced%20file%20size_20%20yr%20Research
%20Vision.pdf.

    Citing ongoing concerns about potential data gaps for 
NOAA's polar-orbiting and geostationary satellite programs, the 
Government Accountability Office added NOAA's satellite 
programs to its High Risk List in 2013. This potential gap in 
weather satellite coverage and management problems with NOAA's 
satellites have been the subject of several Science, Space, and 
Technology Committee hearings over many years. The GAO 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
emphasized the potential effects of a gap:

          According to program officials from the Department of 
        Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
        Administration (NOAA), a satellite data gap would 
        result in less accurate and timely weather forecasts 
        and warnings of extreme events--such as hurricanes, 
        storm surges and floods. Such degradation in forecasts 
        and warnings would place lives, property, and our 
        nation's critical infrastructures in danger. Given the 
        criticality of satellite data to weather forecasts, the 
        likelihood of significant gaps, and the potential 
        impact of such gaps on the health and safety of the 
        U.S. population and economy, we concluded that the 
        potential gap in weather satellite data is a high-risk 
        area and added it to the High Risk List in 2013.\5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \5\http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/668415.pdf.

    In addition, independent reviews of NOAA's weather research 
portfolio have also recommended a stronger emphasis on moving 
research-to-operations within NOAA's weather portfolio. In 
2010, the National Academy of Public Administration stated that 
OAR ``provides particularly important institutional glue to 
support innovation across NOAA.''\6\ In April 2013, NOAA's 
Science Advisory Board stated that ``unless . . . science is 
transitioned into operations . . . NOAA will fail in its 
mission. NOAA must make certain that the intended end use of 
the scientific information is understood from the start by its 
researchers working on scientific questions and, ensure that 
internal as well as external end-user needs are incorporated 
explicitly into the problem formulation.''\7\
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Report_NOAA-Climate-Service-Study_September-20101.pdf.
    \7\http://www.sab.noaa.gov/Reports/2013/
SAB%20R&D;%20Portfolio%20Review%20Report
%20to%20NOAA 20FINAL.pdf.
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                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    On March 25, 2015, the Committee on Science, Space, and 
Technology passed H.R. 1561, the Weather Research and 
Forecasting Innovation Act of 2015 by voice vote. H.R. 1561 is 
substantially similar to last year's H.R. 2413, the Weather 
Forecasting Improvement Act of 2014, which passed the U.S. 
House of Representatives on April 1, 2014 by voice vote.
    Informing this legislation, the Environment Subcommittee 
held a hearing on May 23, 2013 entitled ``Restoring U.S. 
Leadership in Weather Forecasting.'' The purpose of the hearing 
was to examine ways to improve NOAA weather forecasting, and to 
receive testimony on draft legislation to prioritize weather-
related research. The Committee received testimony from: Mr. 
Barry Myers, Chief Executive Officer of AccuWeather, Inc. and 
Mr. Jon Kirchner, President of GeoOptics, Inc. Witnesses 
discussed the current weather forecasting systems in the U.S. 
and highlighted opportunities to improve weather forecasting 
through new technologies.
    The Environment Subcommittee also held a hearing on June 
26, 2013 entitled ``Restoring U.S. Leadership in Weather 
Forecasting Part 2,'' with the purpose of continuing the 
discussion of improving NOAA's weather forecasting. The 
Subcommittee received testimony from: The Honorable Kathryn 
Sullivan, Acting Administrator at the National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration; Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier, Vice 
President for Research, Regents' Professor for Meteorology, 
Weathernews Chair Emeritus, University of Oklahoma; Dr. William 
Gail, Chief Technology Officer, Global Weather Corporation, 
President-Elect, American Meteorological Society; and Dr. Shuyi 
Chen, Professor, Meteorology and Physical Oceanography, 
Rosentiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, University 
of Miami.

                            COMMITTEE VIEWS

    H.R. 1561, the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation 
Act of 2015, aims to enhance NOAA's protection of lives and 
property through a focused program of investment on affordable 
and attainable advances in observational, computing, and 
modeling capabilities to support substantial improvement in 
weather forecasting and prediction of high impact weather 
events.
    The bill codifies ongoing research and development 
activities and builds upon funds provided by Congress following 
Superstorm Sandy. The core principle that informs this bill is 
a firm commitment to restore America's leadership in numerical 
weather prediction, forecasting and, risk communication. As Dr. 
Tom Bogdan, President of the University Corporation for 
Atmospheric Research, wrote to the Committee when passing this 
bill in 2013: ``By key measures, U.S. weather forecasting 
capabilities have slipped behind those of a number of 
international competitors, including the European Union, United 
Kingdom, and Japan.''
    Through prioritization and greater collaboration with the 
American weather industry and academic partners, H.R. 1561 will 
result in better prediction of high impact weather events. The 
Committee is aware of a long series of reports, including from 
the National Research Council, the National Academy of Public 
Administration, and the NOAA Science Advisory Board which 
demonstrate that the Federal weather effort at NOAA has ample 
room for improvement. A recurring theme of these reports is 
that efforts to integrate research into the operational needs 
of the weather service could be much stronger, and that the 
overall effort at NOAA to consider new ideas and techniques 
from outside the agency needs to be more vigorous.
    Throughout H.R. 1561, the Committee gives responsibility to 
different line offices within NOAA, but requires coordination 
between these offices. The Committee fully expects that the 
coordination will be real and meaningful, with the goal of 
improving research-to-operations in a way that improves public 
safety and efficiency in government. The bill directs the Under 
Secretary of NOAA to prioritize weather-related activities 
across all weather programs, especially those that protect 
American lives and property and enhance our national economy, 
in all relevant line offices, including NWS, OAR, and NESDIS. 
This provision highlights that improved forecasting is of 
central importance to NOAA's public safety mission.
    Section 3 codifies and clarifies a NOAA program, led by the 
Assistant Administrator for OAR, for weather research and 
forecasting innovation. This program includes a number of 
elements, including accelerated research, development, and 
deployment of critical technologies like next-generation radar 
and aerial observation systems, new global and national models, 
advanced high performance computing using graphic processing 
information technology networks, and quantitative assessment 
tools for measuring the value of data and specific observing 
systems, as well as a technology transfer initiative between 
relevant NOAA line offices and in collaboration with external 
partners. In enumerating the elements of the program in 
subsection (b), the Committee relied upon the expert advice of 
the weather enterprise--particularly suggestions from 
university and not-for-profit research center scientists--to 
try to capture specific research issues. However, it is not our 
intent to exclude from consideration other areas of research 
and development. The Committee's expectation is that the 
Assistant Administrator for OAR will develop a program that 
reflects the full range of pertinent research challenges.
    The technology transfer initiative prescribed in subsection 
(b) should be consistent with NOAA's Weather Ready Nation 
program, build upon the successes of NOAA's weather-related 
test beds, include the necessary advanced research data 
handling and processing, and help to ensure that dedicated 
resources to support research-to-operations are not diverted. 
In subsection (3)(b)(4), the Committee directs that the 
Assistant Administrator for Oceanic and Atmospheric Research 
establish a technology transfer program designed to move the 
innovations of OAR into the operational work of NWS. In 
carrying out this subsection, the Assistant Administrator 
should consult closely with the Assistant Administrator for 
Weather Services regarding the value of the science and 
technology to be transitioned, integrated, and implemented into 
an operational environment. Section 3 further encourages 
extramural research collaboration and establishes the sense of 
Congress that NOAA should provide competitive grants, 
contracts, and cooperative agreements consistent with historic 
levels. Subsection (c) directs the Assistant Administrator of 
OAR to collaborate with and support the non-Federal weather 
research community. The bill requires the Under Secretary to 
transmit, as part of the budget process, a report that 
identifies the activities carried out under this section.
    Building upon the successes of NOAA's Hurricane Forecast 
Improvement Program, H.R. 1561 directs the creation of a 
tornado warning improvement program. Following several deadly 
tornado outbreaks in 2013, including in Moore, Oklahoma, the 
tornado program will focus on extending accurate forecasts and 
warnings to beyond one hour. The bill also adds language to 
maintain the Hurricane Forecast Improvement Program. Previous 
language in the bill regarding the hurricane program indicated 
it would be substantially similar to the ongoing Hurricane 
Forecast Improvement Program. The Committee has addressed this 
issue by editing language to insist that the original HFIP 
program will be maintained without duplication by other program 
efforts.
    The bill encourages NOAA to address the loss of U.S. 
competitiveness in weather forecasting by requiring the annual 
development of a plan to restore and maintain leadership in 
numerical weather prediction and forecasting. Section 6 goes on 
to specify that one of the elements of the plan will be that it 
``identifies and prioritizes specific research and development 
activities, and performance metrics, weighted to meet the 
operational weather mission of NWS.'' This ensures that the 
Assistant Administrator for Weather Services will have 
meaningful input into R&D; planning because the plan must 
reflect, to some degree, initiatives that are tied directly to 
operational needs. This section also includes a requirement 
that the agency pay special attention to the social science 
knowledge necessary to turn improved weather forecasting skills 
into communications that will help the public take effective 
steps to be safe.
    In order to address observing system needs and potential 
data gaps, H.R. 1561 also requires NOAA to conduct 
comprehensive observing system planning. In support of this 
planning, the Assistant Administrator for OAR shall conduct 
OSSEs prior to major observing system acquisitions or 
commercial data purchases. The bill codifies NOAA's commitment 
to complete OSSEs on GNSS Radio Occultation and a geostationary 
hyperspectral sounder global constellation using funds made 
available in the Superstorm Sandy Supplemental. NOAA has 
informed the Committee that these OSSE studies are underway and 
directs the reports be shared with the Committee. The bill 
directs NOAA to complete the GNSS Radio Occultation OSSE by 
December 31, 2015, and the geostationary hyperspectral sounder 
OSSE by December 31, 2016. The bill provides flexibilities 
within NOAA's assessment of observing systems, and the OSSE 
provisions are consistent with NOAA Administrators' 
characterization of these experiments as a ``powerful tool'' to 
``inform our strategies for investing in observation networks'' 
and ``to help determine what new data or technologies will 
yield the best improvement in forecast accuracy.'' These 
activities should be carried out collaboratively with the Joint 
Center for Satellite Data Assimilation and other relevant 
bodies.
    Section 10 makes clear that NOAA is not prohibited from 
purchasing weather data through contracts with commercial 
providers or the placement of weather satellite instruments on 
government or private payloads. The Committee views NOAA's 
unwillingness to seriously consider all sources of cost-
effective, critical weather data, including from commercial 
providers, as short-sighted and with the potential to compound 
future data gaps. To help rectify this resistance to non-NOAA 
sources of observing data, H.R. 1561 directs the Secretary of 
Commerce to develop and transmit a strategy to enable the 
procurement of quality commercial weather data, including 
commercial opportunities for surface-, aviation-, and space-
based observations. The purchase of data from commercial 
satellite vendors could lead to the best pricing for quality 
weather data. In assessing the range of commercial 
opportunities and developing the strategy of quality commercial 
weather data, the full range of commercial options must be 
considered, including FAR and non-FAR opportunities, public-
private partnerships, commercial service agreements, anchor 
tenancy agreements, and pay on delivery contracts. NASA has 
provided a model for many of these options, including data 
purchases and NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services 
for working with commercial companies cost-effectively to build 
confidence in commercial capabilities. If the Department of 
Commerce requires revised authority in order to implement one 
or more of these options, the strategy should clearly note this 
but it should not be a primary criterion in negatively 
assessing an option.
    Section 10 also establishes a pilot program to enable NOAA 
to purchase and test space-based data from private sector 
companies. The program first directs NOAA to publish data 
standards and specifications for commercial weather data. It 
also directs NOAA to enter into at least one contract with a 
private sector entity capable of providing data that meets the 
standards and specifications outlined by NOAA. The Committee is 
aware of various space-based weather technologies that can 
augment and improve NOAAs existing observing systems. Namely, 
GNSS Radio Occultation and geostationary hyperspectral sounders 
are key technologies that could provide substantial upgrades to 
our forecasting capabilities. The Committee has been informed 
by numerous sources on the advancements of these technologies 
and understands that GNSS Radio Occultation is the most mature 
at this time. The bill provides $9 million to carry out the 
contract(s). This money is authorized out of funds made 
available from the procurement, acquisition, and construction 
account at NESDIS.
    H.R. 1561 authorizes funding to allow NOAA to carry out a 
balanced portfolio of research and development related to 
weather forecasting and other areas. Authorization of funds for 
the joint technology transfer initiative enabled by OAR's 
Global Systems Division advanced data facility indicates the 
Committee's desire to ensure that dedicated research-to-
operations be preserved in order to promote active partnerships 
between NOAA line offices. The FY 2013 Disaster Relief 
Appropriations Act ``kick-started'' important weather 
forecasting improvement initiatives by providing initial 
program funding and making possible the procurement of critical 
enabling hardware such as a Global Hawk for the OAR unmanned 
aircraft system research and development program and graphic 
processing unit supercomputing infrastructure for revolutionary 
new model development. The funding authorized by this bill will 
follow through on these initiatives by making possible robust 
operational base technology development programs for new aerial 
weather observing systems to provide better meteorological 
data, higher performance research computing, accelerated 
development of next generation global and national/regional 
weather models, and an institutionalized OSSE process 
capability. Dedicated OAR funding for the direct transfer of 
new knowledge, technologies, and applications to the NWS and 
other agencies and entities under a ``real-time research'' 
approach completes this vision. The bill authorizes 
appropriations to be made out of the overall funding for 
operations, research, and facilities at OAR.

                           Section-by-Section


Section 1. Short title

    This section established the short title as the ``Weather 
Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2015''.

Section 2. Public safety priority

    This section directs the Under Secretary of the National 
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA Administrator) to 
prioritize weather research across all weather programs, 
including weather data, forecasts, and warnings for the 
protection of lives and property.

Section 3. Weather research and forecasting innovation

    Section 3 directs the Assistant Administrator of the Office 
of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), in consultation with 
the Assistant Administrator of the Weather Service, to 
undertake a weather research program and directs the Assistant 
Administrator to place priority on developing more accurate, 
timely, and effective warnings and forecasts of high impact 
weather events that endanger life and property. Section 3 
further defines the specific program elements to include 
advanced radar, aerial systems, computing/modeling, and 
Observing System Stimulation Experiments (OSSE) and codifies a 
longstanding joint OAR-National Weather Service (NWS) tech 
transfer program, moving its funding from NWS. Finally, this 
section also directs NOAA to support weather research through 
competitive grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements.

Section 4. Tornado Warning Improvement and Extension Program

    This section establishes a Tornado Warning Improvement and 
Extension Program focused on developing and extending accurate 
tornado forecasts and warnings beyond one hour in order to 
reduce loss of life, injury, and damage to the economy.

Section 5. Hurricane Forecast Improvement Program

    Section 5 maintains the Hurricane Forecast Improvement 
Program focused on extending accurate hurricane forecasts and 
warnings in order to reduce loss of life, injury, and damage to 
the economy.

Section 6. Weather research and development planning

    Section 6 requires NOAA to develop a prioritized weather 
research plan to guide activities authorized under the Act and 
restore U.S. leadership in weather modeling, prediction, and 
forecasting. The section requires the plan to also identify, 
through consultation with the National Science Foundation, the 
research necessary to integrate social science knowledge into 
weather forecast and warning processes.

Section 7. Observing system planning

    Section 7 directs NOAA to maintain a list of observation 
data requirements and systematically evaluate the combination 
of systems necessary to meet such requirements. This section 
further directs NOAA to identify current and potential future 
data gaps in observing capabilities and develop a range of 
options to address any identified gaps.

Section 8. Observing system simulation experiments

    This section directs NOAA to undertake Observing System 
Simulation Experiments (OSSEs) to quantitatively assess the 
relative value and benefits of observing capabilities and 
systems. This section identifies specific instances when an 
OSSE must be performed. Section 8 specifies that OSSEs shall be 
conducted prior to acquisition of government owned or leased 
operational observing systems.

Section 9. Computing resources prioritization report

    Section 9 directs NOAA to issue a plan that explains how it 
intends to: (1) aggressively pursues the fastest, most 
powerful, and cost effective high performance computing 
technologies in support of its weather prediction mission; (2) 
ensure a balance between the research to operations 
requirements; (3) take advantage of advanced development 
concepts; and (4) use existing computing resources to improve 
advanced research and operational weather prediction.

Section 10. Commercial weather data

    This section clarifies restrictions in existing law 
prohibiting the sale of weather satellite systems to the 
private sector do not extend to the purchase of weather data 
through contracts with commercial providers or the placement of 
instruments on private payloads. This section requires the 
Secretary of Commerce to transmit a strategy that assesses the 
range of commercial opportunities for obtaining both surface-
based and space-based weather observations. The strategy shall 
include an analysis of financial or other benefits, methods to 
address planning and budgeting, and identification of the 
changes needed to facilitate effective implementation of such 
strategy. This section also establishes a pilot program for 
providing commercial weather data. The program directs NOAA to 
enter into a contract or contracts with private sector entities 
to provide data under criteria determined by NOAA. The Pilot 
Project authorizes, out of funds made available to NOAA's 
Satellite Office, $9,000,000 to carry out the contract or 
contracts entered into for providing commercial weather data.

Section 11. The Environmental Information Services Working Group

    Section 11 tasks NOAA's already-established Environmental 
Information Services Working Group to provide advice for 
prioritizing weather research initiatives at NOAA and identify 
emerging technologies. The Working Group shall be composed of 
leading experts and innovators from all relevant fields of 
science and engineering. The Working Group will transmit an 
annual report to the Undersecretary. The Undersecretary will 
relay such reports to the Committee.

Section 12. Interagency weather research and innovation coordination

    This section requires the Director of the Office of Science 
and Technology Policy to establish an Interagency Committee for 
Advancing Weather Services. The Committee will improve 
coordination of relevant weather research and forecast 
innovation activities across the federal government.

Section 13. Visiting OAR Researchers Program

    Section 13 grants the Assistant Administrator for OAR the 
authority to establish a program to detail OAR researchers to 
NWS. If OAR establishes the program, it allows between five and 
fifteen OAR staff to spend up to one year on detail to the NWS 
to allow for productive interaction to improve forecasting 
capabilities. The Undersecretary shall submit an annual report 
to the Science Committee detailing the program participation 
and highlighting any innovations that come from this 
interaction.

Section 14. Visiting fellows at NWS

    This section allows the Assistant Administrator for NWS to 
establish a program to host post-doctoral fellows and academic 
researchers at any of the National Centers for Environmental 
Prediction.

Section 15. NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards ``Mark Trail'' Award Program

    Section 15 reinstates a previously established program that 
honors individuals or organizations that use or provide NOAA 
Weather Radio All Hazards receivers or transmitters. The 
nominations for this honor shall be made by the Weather 
Services' field offices. The Assistant Administrator for the 
Weather Service shall choose the winners, and make the public 
aware of the honors. This program costs no money to carry out.

Section 16. Definitions

    This section provides definitions for terms in the bill.

Section 17. Authorization of appropriations

    Section 17 authorizes $90.8 million for Fiscal Year 2015 to 
carry out the weather research program established under 
section 3. It further specifies that out of the $90.8 million 
provided in this section, $70.0 million is authorized for 
weather laboratories and cooperative institutes and $20.8 
million is authorized for weather and air chemistry research 
programs. It also authorizes for FY 2015, $16 million to carry 
out the joint technology transfer initiative described in 
section 3.
    For FY2016 and FY2017, the section authorizes $100 million 
to carry out the weather research program established under 
section 3. It further specifies that out of the $100 million 
provided in this section, $80 million is authorized for weather 
laboratories and cooperative institutes and $20 million is 
authorized for weather and air chemistry research programs. 
Finally, this section also authorizes $20 million annually to 
carry out the joint technology transfer initiative described in 
section 3. No additional funds are authorized to carry out this 
Act, and the amendments made by this Act.

                       Explanation of Amendments

    An amendment offered by Mr. Beyer to add ``Federal, State, 
local, and tribal'' to the emergency management personnel that 
the Environmental Information Services Working Group seeks to 
have better communication with, in addition to weather 
forecasters and the public was adopted.
    An amendment offered by Mr. Grayson: to strike ``Warning'' 
and insert ``Forecast'' into the section 5 title was adopted. 
This language helps clarify that the program does not duplicate 
current hurricane research efforts at NOAA.

                        Committee Consideration

    On March 25, 2015, the Committee met in open session and 
ordered reported favorably the bill, H.R. 1561, as amended, by 
voice vote, a quorum being present.

              Application of Law to the Legislative Branch

    Section 102(b)(3) of Public Law 104-1 requires a 
description of the application of this bill to the legislative 
branch where the bill relates to the terms and conditions of 
employment or access to public services and accommodations. 
This bill improves the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration's weather research through a focused program of 
investment on affordable and attainable advances in 
observational, computing, and modeling capabilities to support 
substantial improvement in weather forecasting and prediction 
of high impact weather events, and to expand commercial 
opportunities for the provision of weather data. As such this 
bill does not relate to employment or access to public services 
and accommodations.

  Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the Committee

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII and clause 
(2)(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives, the Committee's oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the descriptive portions of 
this report.

         Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives

    H.R. 1561 would direct the Under Secretary of the National 
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA Administrator) to 
prioritize weather research across all weather programs, 
including weather data, forecasts, and warnings for the 
protection of lives and property.

                    Duplication of Federal Programs

    No provision of H.R. 1561 establishes or reauthorizes a 
program of the Federal Government known to be duplicative of 
another Federal program, a program that was included in any 
report from the Government Accountability Office to Congress 
pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139, or a program 
related to a program identified in the most recent Catalog of 
Federal Domestic Assistance.

                  Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings

    The Committee estimates that enacting H.R. 1561 does not 
direct the completion of any specific rule makings within the 
meaning of 5 U.S.C. 551.

                     Federal Advisory Committee Act

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not establish 
or authorize the establishment of an advisory committee within 
the definition of 5 U.S.C. App., Section 5(b).

                       Unfunded Mandate Statement

    Section 423 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment 
Control Act (as amended by Section 101(a)(2) of the Unfunded 
Mandate Reform Act, P.L. 104-4) requires a statement as to 
whether the provisions of the reported include unfunded 
mandates. In compliance with this requirement the Committee has 
received a letter from the Congressional Budget Office included 
herein.

                         Earmark Identification

    H.R. 1561 does not include any congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in 
clause 9 of rule XXI.

                           Committee Estimate

    Clause 3(d)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires an estimate and a comparison by the 
Committee of the costs that would be incurred in carrying out 
H.R. 1561. However, clause 3(d)(3)(B) of that rule provides 
that this requirement does not apply when the Committee has 
included in its report a timely submitted cost estimate of the 
bill prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act.

     Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 and with respect 
to requirements of clause (3)(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives and section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has received 
the following cost estimate for H.R. 1561 from the Director of 
Congressional Budget Office:

                                                      May 12, 2015.
Hon. Lamar Smith,
Chairman, Committee on Science, Space, and Technology,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 1561, the Weather 
Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2015.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Jeff LaFave.
            Sincerely,
                                                        Keith Hall.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 1561--Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2015

    Summary: H.R. 1561 would authorize the appropriation of 
$120 million for each of fiscal years 2016 and 2017 for the 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to 
improve forecasting of severe weather events. The bill also 
would authorize NOAA to carry out various other activities 
related to weather forecasting and research.
    Assuming appropriation of the authorized amounts, CBO 
estimates that implementing the legislation would cost $240 
million over the 2016-2020 period. Enacting H.R. 1561 would not 
affect direct spending or revenues, therefore, pay-as-you-go 
procedures do not apply.
    H.R. 1561 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) 
and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal 
governments. Public entities, such as weather and emergency 
response agencies and public universities, would benefit from 
cooperative arrangements and federal grants authorized in the 
bill for research and weather-related activities.
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary impact of H.R. 1561 is shown in the following table. 
The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 300 
(natural resources and environment).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                 By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                         -------------------------------------------------------
                                                            2016     2017     2018     2019     2020   2016-2020
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
 
Authorization Level.....................................      120      120        0        0        0       240
Estimated Outlays.......................................       78      102       38       18        4       240
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that the 
legislation will be enacted near the end of 2015 and that the 
authorized amounts will be appropriated for each fiscal year. 
Estimated outlays are based on historical spending patterns for 
NOAA programs. Although funds have probably been appropriated 
in fiscal year 2015 to conduct certain activities authorized 
under the bill, CBO cannot identify those amounts because NOAA 
has not provided information regarding the amounts of 
appropriated funds allocated to those activities.
    H.R. 1561 would authorize the appropriation of $120 million 
a year over the 2016-2017 period for NOAA to develop a program 
to improve forecasting of severe weather events. Under the 
bill, NOAA would use those funds to purchase equipment and 
conduct research to improve the agency's forecasting 
capabilities and warning systems and enter into a contract with 
at least one private-sector entity to provide commercial 
weather data. Assuming appropriation of the authorized amounts, 
CBO estimates that implementing the program would cost $240 
million over the 2016-2020 period.
    Pay-As-You-Go considerations: None.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: H.R. 1561 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA and would impose no costs on state, local, or 
tribal governments. Public entities, such as weather and 
emergency response agencies and public universities, would 
benefit from cooperative arrangements and federal grants 
authorized in the bill for research and weather-related 
activities.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal costs: Jeff LaFave; Impact on 
state, local, and tribal governments: Jon Sperl; Impact on the 
private sector: Amy Petz.
    Estimate approved by: Theresa Gullo, Assistant Director for 
Budget Analysis.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (new matter is 
printed in italic and existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

TITLE 51, UNITED STATES CODE

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



Subtitle VI--Earth Observations

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 601--LAND REMOTE SENSING POLICY

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



Subchapter VI--Prohibition of Commercialization of Weather Satellites

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 60161. Prohibition

  Neither the President nor any other official of the 
Government shall make any effort to lease, sell, or transfer to 
the private sector, or commercialize, any portion of the 
weather satellite systems operated by the Department of 
Commerce or any successor agency. This prohibition shall not 
extend to--
          (1) the purchase of weather data through contracts 
        with commercial providers; or
          (2) the placement of weather satellite instruments on 
        cohosted government or private payloads.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                                  [all]