1. Purpose. On January 18, 1991, a policy statement on the weather service/private sector roles entitled: "The National Weather Service (NWS) and the Private Weather Industry: A Public-Private Partnership" was published in the Federal Register. The purpose of this policy statement is to define the relationship and respective roles of the NWS and private sector to ensure that Federal resources are focused on providing essential core functions and to encourage the private sector to provide those services which it is ideally suited to provide. The goal is a partnership which enhances total service to the American public, government and industry. The policy statement which follows was never intended to, nor could it draw an exact line between public and private sector responsibilities. Its primary purpose is to strengthen the foundation of a public/private partnership that has evolved over the past 50 years. This policy statement applies only to the NWS and should not be interpreted to apply to any other component of NOAA.
The guidelines that follow (sections 4 and 5) are intended to give flexibility to continue our tradition of service, while minimizing confusion in the field in complying with the policy. This chapter does not attempt to design a national template to fit each and every situation and recognizes that the policy implementation must be handled at the field manager level. It is not intended to diminish the NWS's long-standing tradition of service or to sacrifice its traditional roles of responding to public requests. The guidelines are an attempt to outline a sensible and moderate approach in dealing with inquiries, whether from the public, the media, government entities, or business and industry as well as in providing weather briefings and other related services in support of special events. In the final analysis, responding to requests for service must be left to the good judgment of our field managers as well as each employee.