(Washington, D.C.) – In response to the release of the president’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2019, Rear Admiral (Ret.) Jonathan White, president and CEO of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, released the following statement.
“I am deeply disturbed by the proposed cuts to ocean and Earth sciences and technology in the president’s budget request. While this document is what it says it is – a request – the policy priorities evident through the elimination of and reductions to key programs throughout the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Department of Defense (DOD) indicate a disregard for funding the programs that ensure the ‘safety, prosperity, and security of the American people.’
As our nation mourns those lost and works to rebuild and recover from some of the most damaging and costliest hurricane and wildfire seasons on record, as we deal with the threat of decimated global fisheries through overfishing and ecosystem mismanagement, and as other countries come ever closer to overtaking our global science and technology primacy, it is increasingly important that we invest in programs that secure our nation and our future. Ocean science and technology play a critical role in that, underpinning our national, homeland, economic, and food security, as well as our human health.
Decreasing NOAA’s budget by over $1 billion (including the elimination of $273 million in grant programs at NOAA), altering support for the construction of two new regional class research vessels, slashing extramural research and grant programs across federal science agencies, halving undersea and ocean national security basic and applied research, cancelling five Earth science missions at NASA, and eliminating Offices of Education at NOAA and NASA will have wide-ranging deleterious effects felt around the nation.
Last week Congress and the president agreed to increase discretionary spending by $148 billion in Fiscal Year 2019. However, the administration is not requesting non-defense funding up to the new cap as they do ‘not believe these non-defense spending levels comport with its vision for the proper role and size of the Federal Government.’ I am relying on Congress, in the Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations process, to ensure ocean and Earth sciences are fully funded at the levels required for the ‘safety, prosperity, and security of the American people.’ And so is the nation.”