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Aligning the Governance Structure of the NNSA Laboratories to Meet 21st Century National Security Challenges   (LAB)
Released 2015-01-23 Forthcoming/Prepublication

Aligning the Governance Structure of the NNSA Laboratories to Meet 21st Century National Security Challenges is an independent assessment regarding the transition of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) laboratories - Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories - to multiagency, federally funded research and development centers with direct sustainment and sponsorship by multiple national security agencies. This report makes recommendations for the governance of NNSA laboratories to better align with the evolving national security landscape and the laboratories' increasing engagement with the other national security agencies, while simultaneously encouraging the best technical solutions to national problems from the entire range of national security establishments. According to this report, the Department of Energy should remain the sole sponsor of the NNSA laboratories as federally funded research and development centers. The NNSA laboratories will remain a critically important resource to meet U.S. national security needs for many decades to come. The recommendations of Aligning the Governance Structure of the NNSA Laboratories to Meet 21st Century National Security Challenges will improve the governance of the laboratories and strengthen their strategic relationship with the non-DOE national security agencies.

Training Students to Extract Value from Big Data: Summary of a Workshop   (BMSA)
Released 2015-01-16

As the availability of high-throughput data-collection technologies, such as information-sensing mobile devices, remote sensing, internet log records, and wireless sensor networks has grown, science, engineering, and business have rapidly transitioned from striving to develop information from scant data to a situation in which the challenge is now that the amount of information exceeds a human's ability to examine, let alone absorb, it. Data sets are increasingly complex, and this potentially increases the problems associated with such concerns as missing information and other quality concerns, data heterogeneity, and differing data formats. The nation's ability to make use of data depends heavily on the availability of a workforce that is properly trained and ready to tackle high-need areas. Training students to be capable in exploiting big data requires experience with statistical analysis, machine learning, and computational infrastructure that permits the real problems associated with massive data to be revealed and, ultimately, addressed. Analysis of big data requires cross-disciplinary skills, including the ability to make modeling decisions while balancing trade-offs between optimization and approximation, all while being attentive to useful metrics and system robustness. To develop those skills in students, it is important to identify whom to teach, that is, the educational background, experience, and characteristics of a prospective data-science student; what to teach, that is, the technical and practical content that should be taught to the student; and how to teach, that is, the structure and organization of a data-science program. Training Students to Extract Value from Big Data summarizes a workshop convened in April 2014 by the National Research Council's Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics to explore how best to train students to use big data. The workshop explored the need for training and curricula and coursework that should be included. One impetus for the workshop was the current fragmented view of what is meant by analysis of big data, data analytics, or data science. New graduate programs are introduced regularly, and they have their own notions of what is meant by those terms and, most important, of what students need to know to be proficient in data-intensive work. This report provides a variety of perspectives about those elements and about their integration into courses and curricula.

Bulk Collection of Signals Intelligence: Technical Options   (CSTB)
Released 2015-01-15 Forthcoming/Prepublication

The Bulk Collection of Signals Intelligence: Technical Options study is a result of an activity called for in Presidential Policy Directive 28, issued by President Obama in January 2014, to evaluate U.S. signals intelligence practices. The directive instructed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to produce a report within one year "assessing the feasibility of creating software that would allow the intelligence community more easily to conduct targeted information acquisition rather than bulk collection." ODNI asked the National Research Council (NRC) -- the operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering -- to conduct a study, which began in June 2014, to assist in preparing a response to the President. Over the ensuing months, a committee of experts appointed by the Research Council produced the report.

An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Engineering Laboratory: Fiscal Year 2014   (LAB)
Released 2015-01-15

The mission of the Engineering Laboratory of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness through measurement science and standards for technology-intensive manufacturing, construction, and cyberphysical systems in ways that enhance economic prosperity and improve the quality of life. To support this mission, the Engineering Laboratory has developed thrusts in smart manufacturing, construction, and cyberphysical systems; in sustainable and energy-efficient manufacturing materials and infrastructure; and in disaster-resilient buildings, infrastructure, and communities. The technical work of the Engineering Laboratory is performed in five divisions: Intelligent Systems; Materials and Structural Systems; Energy and Environment; Systems Integration; and Fire Research; and two offices: Applied Economics Office and Smart Grid Program Office. An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Engineering Laboratory Fiscal Year 2014 assesses the scientific and technical work performed by the NIST Engineering Laboratory. This report evaluates the organization's technical programs, portfolio of scientific expertise within the organization, adequacy of the organization's facilities, equipment, and human resources, and the effectiveness by which the organization disseminates its program outputs.

An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Material Measurement Laboratory: Fiscal Year 2014   (LAB)
Released 2015-01-15

The National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST's) Material Measurement Laboratory (MML) is our nation's reference laboratory for measurements in the chemical, biological, and materials sciences and engineering. Staff of the MML develop state-of-the-art measurement techniques and conduct fundamental research related to measuring the composition, structure, and properties of substances. Tools that include reference materials, data, and measurement services are developed to support industries that range from transportation to biotechnology and to address problems such as climate change, environmental sciences, renewable energy, health care, infrastructure, food safety and nutrition, and forensics. This report assesses the scientific and technical work performed by NIST's Material Measurement Laboratory. In particular, the report assesses the organization's technical programs, the portfolio of scientific expertise within the organization, the adequacy of the organization\'s facilities, equipment, and human resources, and the effectiveness by which the organization disseminates its program outputs.

U.S. Air Force Strategic Deterrence Analytic Capabilities: An Assessment of Tools, Methods, and Approaches for the 21st Century Security Environment   (AFSB)
Released 2015-01-02

Since the early 1960s, the U.S. strategic nuclear posture has been composed of a triad of nuclear-certified long-range bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Since the early 1970s, U.S. nuclear forces have been subject to strategic arms control agreements. The large numbers and diversified nature of the U.S. nonstrategic (tactical) nuclear forces, which cannot be ignored as part of the overall nuclear deterrent, have decreased substantially since the Cold War. While there is domestic consensus today on the need to maintain an effective deterrent, there is no consensus on precisely what that requires, especially in a changing geopolitical environment and with continued reductions in nuclear arms. This places a premium on having the best possible analytic tools, methods, and approaches for understanding how nuclear deterrence and assurance work, how they might fail, and how failure can be averted by U.S. nuclear forces. U.S. Air Force Strategic Deterrence Analytic Capabilities identifies the broad analytic issues and factors that must be considered in seeking nuclear deterrence of adversaries and assurance of allies in the 21st century. This report describes and assesses tools, methods - including behavioral science-based methods - and approaches for improving the understanding of how nuclear deterrence and assurance work or may fail in the 21st century and the extent to which such failures might be averted or mitigated by the proper choice of nuclear systems, technological capabilities, postures, and concepts of operation of American nuclear forces. The report recommends criteria and a framework for validating the tools, methods, and approaches and for identifying those most promising for Air Force usage.