AMS values and prides itself on our connections and contributions to government in service to the weather, water, and climate enterprise, the public sector being one of the three legs of the AMS’ “three-legged stool.” One of AMS’ critical competencies is understanding how to strategically inform and improve government decision-making in a way that advances our enterprise and mission. This underscores the importance to AMS of following and understanding the issues and dynamics at play at the federal science agencies, in Congress, and the Executive Office of the President, as well as in the scientific community; how AMS and the U.S. weather, water, and climate enterprise are being perceived across government and the rest of the public sector; and strategies for bringing about effective policy change for the benefit of the enterprise and toward AMS’ mission to advance the atmospheric and related sciences, technologies, applications, and services for the benefit of society.
This is the gist of the core competency that, in serving AMS, I would like to help you develop and hone. It’s the value of thoughtful engagement with the federal government and other public decisionmakers on matters of Earth science, weather, climate, and environmental policy, and in strategic government relations for the enterprise. It is working to arm national leaders and other decisionmakers with the best available science-based information, taking initiative to help government and other decisionmakers better use that scientific information in the formulation of laws and policies, and especially in leading the nation as the fiercest defender of scientific integrity, the scientific method, and evidence-based scientific knowledge in our field at a time when all these are being undermined and marginalized at the highest levels of government.
Before coming to NASA two years ago, I had already devoted over a decade of my career to these causes: helping U.S. Senator Ben Cardin advance proposals before the Committee on Environment and Public Works for addressing climate change; managing UCAR/NCAR’ government relations in Boulder and later opening the UCAR Washington Office; and building AIP’s FYI bulletin into a leading science policy news service and resource center. Now I support< and advise the leadership of NASA’s Earth Science Division, Heliophysics Division, and Joint Agency Satellite Division, which oversees the procurement and development of NOAA’s weather satellite systems, on policy matters. Even as the private sector of the enterprise now surpasses the government’s by some metrics, the federal government remains a foundational and indispensable stakeholder and leader of the enterprise, a prominent leg of the three-legged stool, and it also remains the primary source of funds for the enterprise’s major observational, research, modeling, and operational programs and facilities. I stand ready to help AMS Council better understand and navigate government, in all its frustrating complexities and bureaucracies, and better position the AMS community to be a fierce advocate for the atmospheric and related sciences and our broader mission.
Michael (Mike) Henry is a a dedicated science policy & government relations professional, with over 15 years experience working for or adjacent to organizations central to the U.S. weather, water, and climate enterprise, including UCAR, AIP, NASA, and U.S. Senator Ben Cardin. Currently serving on a 4-yr appointment at NASA HQ supporting/advising the leadership of the Science Mission Directorate, the Earth Science Division, Heliophysics Division, and Joint Agency Satellite Division, which manages NOAA’s reimbursable satellite work. 2 years Capitol Hill experience working on environment, energy, and science & technology policy. University of Colorado at Boulder graduate education in S&T policy and environmental studies. Experience includes managing and editing a 4-person science policy news service and resource center; management of policy and independent review teams, studies, and projects; strategic planning; and advising and developing and maintaining relationships with and between scientists and federal stakeholders. Expertise includes S&T policy; climate change science and policy; environmental and energy policy; the federal budget process; and policy analysis, implementation, and communication.