Your editorial [“Forecasting Trouble for GOES,” Nov. 5, page 18] touched on several important aspects of developing satellite systems.

For an operational agency like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), our first obligation is to maintain current capabilities. The American people need to know that vital weather forecasts and warnings will continue uninterrupted and without degradation. GOES-R will do this.

Once this primary mission is met, we then look to new capabilities and opportunities. Unfortunately, technical challenges increased the risk of operational success, and I made the hard choice to remove the Hyperspectral Environmental Suite

. I still believe strongly that NOAA and NASA must continue to improve efforts to transition research to operations.

GOES-R remains in the planning stage. Through this process, we welcome vigorous oversight to ensure the best possible satellite program. We have a strong management team and acquisition process in place. We are using an independent review team. And we will continue to work with Congress to develop an oversight program that helps us achieve our ultimate mission.

U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher

Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere,

NOAA Administrator