With the start of the 1987 fiscal year (FY) on October 1, 1986, the National Science Foundation (NSF) officially began conducting—with the explicit blessings of Congress—the United States' first large-scale funded program for multidisciplinary cooperative global studies, an effort NSF calls “Global Geosciences.” The agency's budget commits about $35 million to global geosciences, which is the full amount that NSF originally requested from Congress in February 1986 (Eos, February 25, 1986, p.95). The $35 million represents an impressive increase of $18 million over the $17 million in the FY 1986 budget that NSF considers itself to have spent for global studies. “To propose an increase for global geosciences within an environment of shrinking budgets illustrates the level of commitment NSF attaches to this effort,” the agency's director, Erich Bloch, said earlier this year.