The National Science Foundation is proud to play a leading role in partnership with the U.S. oceanographic community in the operation and management of the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP). We are equally proud of the cooperation and commitment of our international partners, who contribute both financial and intellectual resources required to maintain the high quality of this unique program. The Ocean Drilling Program, like its predecessor, the Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP), is a model for the organization and planning of research to address global scientific problems that are of high priority internationally and of long-term interest to the scientific community and general public.

Major scientific themes guiding the development of specific drilling cruises range from determining the causes and effects of oceanic and climatic variability to understanding the circulation of fluids in the ocean crust and the resultant formation of mineral deposits. Although such studies are at the forefront of basic scientific inquiry into the processes that control and modify the global environment, they are equally important in providing the background for assessing man's impact on the global environment or for projecting resource availability for future generations.

The transition from the DSDP to the ODP was marked by a number of changes. The 471-foot JOIDES Resolution, which replaced the Glomar Challenger, has allowed larger scientific parties and the participation of more graduate students, a larger laboratory and technical capability, and operations in more hostile ocean regions. The JOIDES Resolution has drilled in all of the world's oceans, from the marginal ice regions of the Arctic to within sight of the Antarctic continent. Over 1,200 scientists and students from 26 nations have participated on project cruises. Cores recovered from the cruises and stored in ODP repositories in the United States and Europe have provided samples to an additional 1,000 scientists for longer term post-cruise research investigations. The downhole geochemical and geophysical logging program, unsurpassed in either academia or industry, is providing remarkable new data with which to study the Earth.

In 1994, NSF and our international partners renewed our commitment to the program for its final phase. Of the 20 countries that supported ODP initially, only one, Russia, has been unable to continue for financial reasons. As the reputation and scientific impact of the program continue to grow internationally, we hope to add additional members and new scientific constituencies. This global scientific participation continues to assure the program's scientific excellence by focusing and integrating the combined scientific knowledge and capabilities of its member nations.

We wish the program smooth sailing and good drilling!

Neal Lane

National Science Foundation
Arlington, Virginia