US AON Task Methodology

In order to make strategic improvement to the complex of Arctic observations in support of broadly-shared benefit, decision-makers require a comprehensive evidence base that systematically identifies gaps and opportunities for optimized investment. These analyses must recognize the interconnected nature of Arctic observations and their connection to delivering public value across a diverse range of decision makers. Value Tree Analysis (VTA) is a multi-criteria decision support methodology that supports the objectives (OSTP, 2018; IDA, 2017) of US AON Tasks. Through expert elicitation, VTA systematically links observational inputs (i.e. raw satellite data or in situ measurements) to the value-added data product and application outputs that they support, weighting the relative impact of each input (Fig. 1). The desired outcomes in the value tree are specified by a benefit framework. The International Arctic Observing Assessment Framework (IAOAF) was developed by international partners to support VTA specifically for AON (IDA, 2017), but other frameworks that link diverse and related societal outcomes (e.g. UN Sustainable Development Goals or ICC-AK Food Security Framework) also provide comprehensive means to measure outcomes.

VTA example

Fig 1. Value Tree Analysis (VTA) provides a systematic framework for linking observing system inputs, through intermediate products and applications to the societal benefit areas they are meant to support.

Through VTA, benefit frameworks serve to weigh the relative impact of individual observing systems, while revealing up and downstream dependencies across the system. They also reveal areas where societal benefit is underserved by AON, where the value of some observations terminates due to technical hurdles, like prolonged latencies in the delivery of a parameter. By generating a cohesive view of these issues, VTA provides funders and policymakers with an evidence base to strategically fill observing gaps and remove impediments to value delivery.


How do US AON Tasks Proceed?
US AON Tasks can be initiated by a Federal agency or non-Federal US AON partner, provided they have the authorities and/or resources to guide the needed effort. US AON Tasks take facilitation (provided by US AON Executive Director and Program Analyst), scoping and advising (Task Champions recruited from Fed agencies and non-Federal partners) and Subject Matter Experts (SME’s, also recruited from Fed agencies and non-Federal partners). Non-federal champions and SME’s may be eligible for compensation for their efforts.

Tasks proceed in 3 phases:

  1. Mission Analysis
    Assess mission-alignment/support across partners and engage with key Champions;
    Identify Task objectives and SMEs;
    Assess Task audience;
    Scope the value tree analysis;
  2. Expert Elicitation
    Complete VTA and gaps assessment.
  3. Findings Consolidation & Reporting
    Consolidate findings;
    Report findings to key audiences.

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