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A series of record-setting weather-related disasters has brought the issue of modernizing the U.S. National Weather System (NWS) once again to the fore. The modernization, which includes implementing 160 Doppler weather surveillance radars, or the Next Generation of Weather Radar (NEXRAD), hundreds of Automated Surface Observing Systems, next generation Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites, and supercomputers, has proceeded more slowly than planned. To date, about half of the NEXRAD units have been installed, and only 12 of these 80 are operational. Concern remains about local limitations of the system, especially now that the Defense Department and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will be sharing facilities under a new administration initiative. At a recent space subcommittee hearing, Rep. Bud Cramer (D-Ala.) said he plans to introduce legislation to allow geographic areas, such as northern Alabama and the Tenessee Valley, that fall between the range of the new radars to request a scientific evaluation as to whether the NWS plan will meet the community's needs.