Last Tuesday, President Trump released the details of his budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2018. While the proposed cuts are certainly alarming and would have catastrophic consequences if enacted, recall what I said when the president’s “skinny budget” came out – we are at the beginning of a long budgetary process, and Congress ultimately makes these decisions. Many in Congress, both Republican and Democrat alike, have reminded their constituents that the legislative branch holds the “power of the purse” and will ultimately determine funding levels for the coming fiscal year. As appropriations subcommittees writing these bills are receiving input and feedback, now is the time to make your voice heard. Reach out to both legislators and the public at large about the critical importance of these programs and the devastating consequences that would occur should they be fully or significantly cut. You can read details of how the president’s budget request would impact the ocean and geoscience communities here, and my statement to the press can be found here.
I had the opportunity to escape to the north of D.C. and spend time with three of our member institutions, as well as Mystic Aquarium, where I spent a little “up close” time with a beluga whale named Juno (thus the photo this week). Juno takes his role as an ambassador for his species and the ocean seriously (even playing hide-and-seek with young visitors). If he could speak, I like to think that he would convey to those he encounters on a daily basis his concern over the state of the ocean (especially the Arctic) and the importance of his role in inspiring wonder and excitement. Getting to observe and even make eye contact with him made me realize he is indeed an excellent ambassador for his species and his habitat – and he even gets to participate in important research.
I was encouraged by the exceptional research and education I saw first hand at Rutgers University, Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, and the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography. I could write a book on what I learned during my brief visits to these institutions, and I certainly will use this knowledge to advance the message of ocean science in D.C. We are fortunate to have so many people devoting their lives to understanding our ocean, from the coastal surface to the deepest ocean sediment deposits, from pole to pole, around the globe. As understanding the detailed biological, geological, chemical, and physical characteristics of our ocean is the foundation for our continued reliance on the sea for our nation’s economic prosperity, national and homeland security, and human health, we must do everything possible to ensure the resources to support this work are available and abundant. My thanks to everyone who spent your precious time with me last week (and during the weeks before and the weeks to come). I steadfastly believe that you are making a profound difference in our future – our ocean’s future.
RADM Jonathan W. White, USN (ret.)
President and CEO
Consortium for Ocean Leadership
New Research Vessel to Impact Marine Research Across Florida
With the crack of two bottles of champagne and the blessing from a local priest, Florida’s newest research vessel, the R/V W.T. Hogarth, was christened and launched for the first-time Tuesday May 23, 2017. The 78-foot vessel, named after William T. Hogarth, Ph.D, the Florida Institute of Oceanography’s former director and the former dean of the University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science, will be used to support research efforts by USF, as well as more than two dozen institutions and agencies across Florida.