The leaders and authors of the Third US National Climate Assessment (NCA3) developed new modes of engaging academia, the private sector, government agencies and civil society to support their needs for usable, rigorous, and timely information and better connect science and decision-making. A strategic vision for assessment activities into the future was built during the NCA3 process, including recommendations on how to establish a sustained assessment process that would integrate evolving scientific understanding into decision making to manage the risks of climate change over time. This vision includes a collaborative assessment process that involves partnerships across a diverse and widely distributed set of non-governmental and governmental entities. The new approach to assessments would produce timely, scientifically sound climate information products and processes, rather than focusing on the production of single quadrennial synthesis reports. If properly implemented, a sustained assessment would be more efficient and cost-effective, avoiding the painful and time-consuming process of beginning the assessment process anew every 4 years. This ongoing assessment would also encourage scientific and social innovations and explore new insights and opportunities, building the capacity to advance the development and delivery of climate information to meet societal requirements and benefit from scientific opportunities.