I. Introduction

This NCAR strategic plan outlines seven institutional imperatives that describe our fundamental ongoing responsibilities as a national center. Each imperative is followed by a prioritized set of supporting actions that NCAR will undertake. Our plan also lays out a set of frontiers-areas where NCAR intends to build out from and across existing programs and research activities-listed in order of priority. Together, the imperatives and frontiers explain our highest-priority ongoing efforts and our aspirations for program development and enhancement. This is a five-year plan, but it often focuses on the next two to three years and also includes some activities that extend beyond the five-year horizon.

This plan is not a comprehensive overview of the many valued activities conducted within NCAR and in partnership with our community. Rather, it is intended as a concise, high-level explanation of institutional direction and priorities for growth. More detailed descriptions of the full sweep of NCAR activities can be found in the NCAR Annual Report and the plans of NCAR's laboratories, divisions, and institutes.

Many stakeholders, including members of the university science community and program officers of the U.S. National Science Foundation and other federal agencies, contributed to this document's development. Wide involvement in NCAR planning is essential because NCAR's work is collaborative; the activities described herein will be carried out in conjunction with numerous partners in the broader university and scientific community.

The NCAR Mission

To understand the behavior of the atmosphere and related physical, biological, and social systems

To support, enhance. and extend the capabilities of the university community and the broader scientific community, nationally and internationally

To foster the transfer of knowledge and technology for the betterment of life on Earth