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book coverScientific Assessment of High-Power Free-Electron Laser Technology   (BPA)
Released 2009-03-06

This book presents a scientific assessment of free-electron-laser technology for naval applications. The charge from the Office of Naval Research was to assess whether the desired performance capabilities are achievable or whether fundamental limitations will prevent them from being realized. The present study identifies the highest-priority scientific and technical issues that must be resolved along the development path to achieve a megawatt-class free-electron laser. In accordance with the charge, the committee considered (and briefly describes) trade-offs between free-electron lasers and other types of lasers and weapon systems to show the advantages free-electron lasers offer over other types of systems for naval applications as well as their drawbacks. The primary advantages of free-electron lasers are associated with their energy delivery at the speed of light, selectable wavelength, and all-electric nature, while the trade-offs for free-electron lasers are their size, complexity, and relative robustness. Also, Despite the significant technical progress made in the development of high-average-power free-electron lasers, difficult technical challenges remain to be addressed in order to advance from present capability to megawatt-class power levels.

book coverEvaluation of Quantification of Margins and Uncertainties Methodology for Assessing and Certifying the Reliability of the Nuclear Stockpile  
Released 2009-03-02

Maintaining the capabilities of the nuclear weapons stockpile and performing the annual assessment for the stockpile's certification involves a wide range of processes, technologies, and expertise. An important and valuable framework helping to link those components is the quantification of margins and uncertainties (QMU) methodology. In this book, the National Research Council evalutes: how the national security labs were using QMU, including any significant differences among the three labs its use in the annual assessment whether the applications of QMU to assess the proposed reliable replacement warhead (RRW) could reduce the likelhood of resuming underground nuclear testing This book presents and assessment of each of these issues and includes findings and recommendations to help guide l aboratory and NNSA implementation and development of the QMU framework. It also serves as a guide for congressional oversight of those activities.

book coverReview of Secondary Waste Disposal Planning for the Blue Grass and Pueblo Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plants   (BAST)
Released 2008-11-14

The U.S. Army is disposing of the nation's stockpile of chemical weapons in compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention. Two of the disposal facilities--Pueblo, CO and Blue Grass, KY--are in the design and early construction phase. When completed, these facilities will produce secondary wastes during the processing of the chemical weapons that are also considered hazardous. At the request of the U.S. Army, the NRC carried out an examination of environmental, regulatory, and permit requirements for secondary waste management at the two sites to assist the Army's review of management options. This report provides an introduction to the Army's task, a description of the two disposal processes including secondary waste generation, an assessment of applicable regulatory requirements, the status of planning for secondary waste management, a review of public participation issues, and an analysis of alternative offsite management options.

book coverReview of Directed Energy Technology for Countering Rockets, Artillery, and Mortars (RAM)Abbreviated Version   (BAST)
Released 2008-09-22

The spread of indiscriminate rocket, artillery, and mortar attacks on civilian, urban populations has dramatically increased the importance of finding effective technologies to destroy these projectiles in flight. To address this threat, the U.S. Army is currently developing laser counter-RAM systems that could be used in fixed installations. A particularly attractive candidate is the solid-state laser because of recent technical and operational advances. To help explore this option, the Army asked the NRC to assess the quality and complementarities of the Army’s space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command’s program to develop and demonstrate a high-energy, solid-state laser weapon system. The NRC considered a broad range of technical issues in carrying out this assessment. Because of the sensitive nature of this research, distribution is limited because of export control restrictions. The report summary is available to the public.

book coverMaritime Security Partnerships   (NSB)
Released 2008-12-16

The expanding array of maritime security concerns—piracy, smuggling, drug trading, trade disruption, and so forth—has stimulated thinking by the U.S. Navy about new ways to structure naval forces. In particular, the Chief of Naval Operations has adopted a vision for the peacetime Navy to combat such threats called “the 1000-ship Navy.” To help develop this concept, the CNO asked the NRC to examine the technical and operational implications of this vision. Because these threats necessitate a global response requiring sharing maritime information and coordinated action, the study committee chose to call this concept “maritime security partnerships” (MSP). This report provides a discussion of the context for creating MSPs in the 21st century, an examination of cooperation modes and models for maritime security, an analysis of information sharing as a key enabler of MSP, and recommendations for an MSP implementation strategy.

book coverU.S. Conventional Prompt Global StrikeIssues for 2008 and Beyond   (NSB)
Released 2008-12-08

Conventional prompt global strike (CPGS) is a military option under consideration by the U.S. Department of Defense. This book, the final report from the National Research Council's Committee on Conventional Prompt Global Strike Capability, analyzes proposed CPGS systems and evaluates the potential role CPGS could play in U.S. defense. U.S. Conventional Prompt Global Strike provides near-, mid-, and long-term recommendations for possible CPGS development, addressing the following questions: Does the United States need CPGS capabilities? What are the alternative CPGS systems, and how effective are they likely to be if proposed capabilities are achieved? What would be the implications of alternative CPGS systems for stability, doctrine, decision making, and operations? What nuclear ambiguity concerns arise from CPGS, and how might they be mitigated? What arms control issues arise with CPGS systems, and how might they be resolved? Should the United States proceed with research, development, testing, and evaluation (RDT&E) of the Conventional Trident Modification (CTM) program5 and, ultimately, with CTM production and deployment? Should the United States proceed with the development and testing of alternative CPGS systems beyond CTM?

book coverEmerging Cognitive Neuroscience and Related Technologies   (AFSB ,BBCSS)
Released 2008-11-06

Emerging Cognitive Neuroscience and Related Technologies, from the National Research Council, identifies and explores several specific research areas that have implications for U.S. national security, and should therefore be monitored consistently by the intelligence community. These areas include: neurophysiological advances in detecting and measuring indicators of psychological states and intentions of individuals the development of drugs or technologies that can alter human physical or cognitive abilities advances in real-time brain imaging breakthroughs in high-performance computing and neuronal modeling that could allow researchers to develop systems which mimic functions of the human brain, particularly the ability to organize disparate forms of data. As these fields continue to grow, it will be imperative that the intelligence community be able to identify scientific advances relevant to national security when they occur. To do so will require adequate funding, intelligence analysts with advanced training in science and technology, and increased collaboration with the scientific community, particularly academia. A key tool for the intelligence community, this book will also be a useful resource for the health industry, the military, and others with a vested interest in technologies such as brain imaging and cognitive or physical enhancers.

book coverPreliminary Observations on DoD Software Research Needs and PrioritiesA Letter Report   (CSTB)
Released 2008-05-22

The nation’s defense systems depend critically on advanced software, a dependency that will grow in both extent and complexity. Yet the Department of Defense is increasingly concerned for a number of reasons about its ability to meet these growing software needs. The help address these concerns, DoD asked the NRC to assess the nature of the national investment in software research and consider ways to revitalize the knowledge and human resource base needed to assure the needed software-intensive systems. To provide preliminary feedback on DoD software research needs and priorities and suggestions for a research agenda, DoD asked the NRC for an interim letter report. The letter report addresses three key technology areas: the management of engineering risk; software quality assurance; and the reduction of requirements-related risk without excessive sacrifice in systems capability. These and other areas will be discussed in greater detail in the final report.

book coverIntegrated Computational Materials EngineeringA Transformational Discipline for Improved Competitiveness and National Security   (NMAB)
Released 2008-09-24

Integrated computational materials engineering (ICME) is an emerging discipline that can accelerate materials development and unify design and manufacturing. Developing ICME is a grand challenge that could provide significant economic benefit. To help develop a strategy for development of this new technology area, DOE and DoD asked the NRC to explore its benefits and promises, including the benefits of a comprehensive ICME capability; to establish a strategy for development and maintenance of an ICME infrastructure, and to make recommendations about how best to meet these opportunities. This book provides a vision for ICME, a review of case studies and lessons learned, an analysis of technological barriers, and an evaluation of ways to overcome cultural and organizational challenges to develop the discipline.