President Ronald Reagan has decided that the United States should maintain an ‘active and influential presence’ in Antarctica to support the nation's interests. Following a review of a study by the Antarctica Policy Group, Reagan issued a memorandum, dated February 5, to the heads of 14 government agencies, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the Office of Management and Budget.
The U.S. presence in Antarctica ‘shall include the conduct of scientific activities in major disciplines; year-round occupation of the South Pole and two coastal stations; and availability of related necessary logistics support,’ wrote the President. In addition, NSF should continue to budget for the entire U.S. program in Antarctica. Short-term programs by other agencies require the recommendation of the Antarctica Policy Group and should be coordinated within the framework of NSF logistics support.