Weather Service Modernization

Despite Progress, Significant Problems and Risks Remain Gao ID: T-AIMD-95-87 February 21, 1995

The National Weather Service's (NWS) modernization program, at a cost of about $4.5 billion, is one of the larger systems modernization efforts in the federal government. GAO believes that the modernization, if properly executed, should improve the quality of the agency's products and services, while also streamlining and downsizing operations. Moreover, despite some setbacks along the way, the modernization can boast of some successes. The Next Generation Weather Radars, for example, represent a "quantum leap" in capability over the radars they are replacing. The modernization, however, is far from over and the challenges that remain are formidable. If the modernization is to achieve its full potential, known systems problems, such as those plaguing the Automated Surface Observing System, must be overcome, and future system development risks, such as those facing the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System, must be effectively managed. Further, the modernization's many interrelated and interdependent systems must be developed and evolved according to a detailed blueprint, such as that offered by a systems architecture.

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