Transition periods are always marked with anxieties, and there is no exception in the imminent transfer of magnetic observatories from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Department of Commerce to the Geological Survey of the Department of Interior. The transfer comes at a time when science and technology are on the defensive in a climate for dramatic national change and as new political-economic constraints intensify competing pressures on the orientation of budgetary priorities and allocation of resources. Goals must be more vigorously defended and defined with respect to relevance and importance to society. Clearly, the time has come for the geophysical community to state its case for a national commitment to sustain and improve observatories. In this way the geophysicists can supply needed information to the administrators responsible for the difficult decisions in selecting programs given imposed restrictions.