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U.S. Antarctic Program Blue Ribbon Panel Final Report

In October 2011, the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Science Foundation initiated a major review of the U.S. Antarctic Program to examine U.S. logistical capabilities likely to be needed in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean during the next two decades and to seek ways to enhance logistical efficiency to support world-class science.  The Panel conducted an independent review of the current U.S. Antarctic Program to identify and characterize a range of options for supporting and implementing the required national scientific endeavors, international collaborations, and strong U.S. presence in Antarctica.

The 12-member panel met in the Washington, D.C., a total of six days, heard over 100 briefings, read reports, and traveled to McMurdo, Palmer, and South Pole stations.  They visited various logistics centers, including Christchurch, New Zealand; Punta Arenas, Chile; the Antarctic Support Contract headquarters in Colorado, cargo facility in Port Hueneme, California, and the 109th New York Air National Guard in New York.  The Panel’s members also went aboard the U.S. Antarctic Research and Supply Vessel Laurence M. Gould and Research Vessel Icebreaker Nathaniel B. Palmer and witnessed the offloading of the chartered supply ship Green Wave on the U.S. West Coast. During its deliberations, the Panel held Town Hall Meetings at the three U.S. stations in Antarctica and established a website to receive comments and suggestions. The members also visited Chilean and New Zealand stations in Antarctica and met with the New Zealand air and port authorities and the managers of the New Zealand Antarctic Programme in Christchurch.

The results of this review and the panel’s recommendation are published in the report More and Better Science in Antarctica through Increased Logistical Effectiveness.  Links to the reports are at the following URLs: 

Partially submerged iceberg illustration

The U.S. Antarctic Program Blue Ribbon Panel final report More and Better Science in Antarctica through Increased Logistical Effectiveness (Cover art by Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation.)