CEOS Self-Study. Patricia JacobbergerJellison NASA firstname.lastname@example.org. CEOS Self-Study. Objectives: To identify and evaluate CEOS successes and strengths in achieving real coordination in space-based Earth observations for societal benefit.
Five Key Recommendations
FINDING: CEOS’s objectives have grown, not evolved.
CEOS’s original strategic objectives should be reviewed and updated.
FINDING: CEOS has many significant successes; sustaining successful relationships & activities is where the challenge is.
CEOS needs a Strategic Plan to help set priorities, with work plans to ensure implementation. The plan should address primary CEOS goals and those of WGs, VCs and SBAs, not just GEO Work Plan goals.
FINDING: CEOS has many activities, and there is no clear process for selecting or approving new activities or tasks. Each new proposal is handled ad hoc, endangering success by placing excessive stress on groups and resources.
CEOS must meet the commitments that have already been made and ensure that current activities have sufficient guidance and autonomy to succeed.
CEOS must develop and implement a process for selecting new activities and tasks, including adjudication among multiple good ideas, and how decisions will be taken.
FINDING: Respondents repeatedly highlighted hazards and disaster monitoring and response as a topic of great societal importance for consideration as a new CEOS initiative.
Using the decision-making process that CEOS will develop and implement, CEOS should consider the topic of hazards and disaster monitoring & response as a potential new CEOS initiative for increased focus.
FINDING: The current organizational structure, responsibilities and term durations are acceptable to the majority; the current voluntary approach is acceptable. The CEO and SEO roles are positive contributions to CEOS. A better balance between routine administrative work and handling of strategic issues is needed.
Update Terms of Reference for the CEO and other positions to achieve better balance between strategic issues and administrative functions. Increase the term of the CEO etc. to 2 or 3 years to help maintain continuity of operations.
FINDING: There is confusion within CEOS regarding the complex leadership structure, and a lack of clarity regarding the roles, responsibilities and authorities of the CEOS Chair, SIT Chair, CEO, DCEO, SEO, and Executive Secretariat. The overall structure of CEOS has become cumbersome and difficult to navigate, with connections that are not clearly defined or managed.
CEOS should examine, simplify, and communicate the leadership structure, roles and responsibilities, and connections among organizational elements as needed to properly support its work.
FINDING: CEOS does not always adequately record or update its Terms of Reference, decisions and accomplishments, and does not have an explicit administrative focal point for such tasks other than the rotating best-efforts of CEOS Chair staff.
CEOS should evaluate what documentation of decisions, actions, and progress it genuinely needs (commensurate with resources). It should establish internal processes and designate responsible parties to sustain that documentation effort.
FINDING: Working Groups, SBAs and Virtual Constellations are not laterally well-coordinated, though they carry on important CEOS work. Current task loads are not commensurate with existing personnel and other resources.
Strengthen working relationships among WGs, SBAs, and VCs to support common CEOS objectives and synergies. Encourage leadership attendance at working meetings to help communicate CEOS priorities. Rebalance the task load.
Articulate CEOS goals and objectives for SBA Coordinators and formalize roles and responsibilities via Terms of Reference. Consider greater emphasis on the physical results of coordination.
FINDING: Participation in CEOS meetings by associate members has declined, and while there is anecdotal evidence that attributes this to participation in GEO, there is a paucity of evidence to confirm this assertion.
As a follow-on to the Self Study, CEOS should reach out to non-active Associate Members and non-active full members to understand their reasons for no longer participating in CEOS.
FINDING: As a volunteer organization, it is critical that CEOS maintain an active membership to achieve its goals. There must be a clear method for accepting new members and assessing the participation of current members and associates, and for ensuring that all members are empowered to participate.
New CEOS members and associates should have a trial period prior to acceptance as full members or associates, during which time every effort should be made to engage and facilitate inclusion of new members in CEOS activities.
FINDING: Insufficient participation by members and the resultant inability to do succession planning hampers the ability of Working Groups, Virtual Constellations, and SBAs to accomplish their tasks, and places an excessive burden upon the agencies and individuals who do participate.
WGs, VCs, and SBAs should provide lists of strongly desired members to the CEOS SIT, so that CEOS Principals can be made aware. If participation continues to be too low to sustain necessary activities, CEOS leadership should work with Co-chairs to identify and address the reasons.
FINDING: There is frustration that CEOS meetings are repetitive and dominated by reporting and review of routine task progress at the expense of discussion, coordination, and decision-making.
Consider developing a unified meeting plan, in which the scope, format, and purpose of major meetings for the entire year are developed. Revise the format of meetings to reduce repetition and reporting, to ensure engaged participation, and to facilitate discussion and decision-making.
FINDING: External agencies recognize that CEOS Working Groups and Constellations are the primary forums to address Earth observation needs, and often request CEOS group support. These requests result in a large number of tasks within each group with no process to evaluate relevance and priority.
The CEOS Plenary and/or SIT meetings should provide sufficient time for consideration of Working Group, Virtual Constellation, and SBA Team priorities and recommendations together with strategic discussion and direction to these groups on their annual work.
09 November – Presentation of findings & recommendations at CEOS Plenary
10 November – Implementation begins.