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DEPS Reports
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Assessment of Department of Defense Basic Research   (AFSB)
Released 2004-12-22

The Department of Defense (DOD) supports basic research to advance fundamental knowledge in fields important to national defense. Over the past six years, however, several groups have raised concern about whether the nature of DOD-funded basic research is changing. The concerns include these: Funds are being spent for research that does not fall under DOD's definition of basic research; reporting requirements have become cumbersome and onerous; and basic research is handled differently by the three services. To explore these concerns, the Congress directed DOD to request a study from the National Research Council (NRC) about the nature of basic research now being funded by the Department. Specifically the NRC was to determine if the programs in the DOD basic research portfolio are consistent with the DOD definition of basic research and with the characteristics associated with fundamental research.

Intelligent Sustainment and Renewal of Department of Energy Facilities and Infrastructure   (BICE)
Released 2004-12-16

The United States Department of Energy's (DOE) facilities stewardship is extremely important to the department's ability to achieve its mission of protecting national, energy, and economic security with advanced science and technology and ensuring environmental cleanup. Intelligent Sustainment and Renewal of Department of Energy Facilities and Infrastructure evaluates the steps the department is taking to improve its facilities and infrastructure management. This report develops best-practice techniques for DOE real property asset management and guidelines for deciding when to repair, renovate, or replace DOE buildings.

The Role of Experimentation in Building Future Naval Forces   (NSB)
Released 2004-12-08

The Department of Defense is in the process of transforming the nation’s armed forces to meet the military challenges of the 21st century. Currently, the opportunity exists to carry out experiments at individual and joint service levels to facilitate this transformation. Experimentation, which involves a spectrum of activities including analyses, war games, modeling and simulation, small focused experiments, and large field events among other things, provides the means to enhance naval and joint force development. To assist the Navy in this effort, the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) asked the National Research Council (NRC) to conduct a study to examine the role of experimentation in building future naval forces to operate in the joint environment. The NRC formed the Committee for the Role of Experimentation in Building Future Naval Forces to perform the study.

Understanding the Sun and Solar System PlasmasFuture Directions in Solar and Space Physics   (SSB)
Released 2004-12-08

Exploration of the Outer Heliosphere and the Local Interstellar MediumA Workshop Report   (SSB)
Released 2004-10-25

This report is the summary of a workshop held in May 2003 by the Space Studies Board's Committee on Solar and Space Physics to synthesize understanding of the physics of the outer heliosphere and the critical role played by the local interstellar medium (LISM) and to identify directions for the further exploration of this challenging environment.

Summary of a Workshop on Software Certification and Dependability   (CSTB)
Released 2004-10-20

Certification of critical software systems (e.g., for safety and security) is important to help ensure their dependability. Today, certification relies as much on evaluation of the software development process as it does on the system’s properties. While the latter are preferable, the complexity of these systems usually makes them extremely difficult to evaluate. To explore these and related issues, the National Coordination Office for Information technology Research and Development asked the NRC to undertake a study to assess the current state of certification in dependable systems. The study is in two phases: the first to frame the problem and the second to assess it. This report presents a summary of a workshop held as part of the first phase. The report presents a summary of workshop participants’ presentations and subsequent discussion. It covers, among other things, the strengths and limitations of process; new challenges and opportunities; experience to date; organization context; and cost-effectiveness of software engineering techniques. A consensus report will be issued upon completion of the second phase.

Letter Report from the Panel for the Review of Proposals for NASA's Intelligent Propulsion Systems Foundation Technology (PSFT) Program   (ASEB)
Released 2004-10-18

Accelerating Technology TransitionBridging the Valley of Death for Materials and Processes in Defense Systems   (NMAB,BMED)
Released 2004-10-15

Accelerating the transition of new technologies into systems and products will be crucial to the Department of Defenses development of a lighter, more flexible fighting force. Current long transition times-ten years or more is now typical-are attributed to the complexity of the process. To help meet these challenges, the Department of Defense asked the National Research Council to examine lessons learned from rapid technology applications by integrated design and manufacturing groups. This report presents the results of that study, which was based on a workshop held to explore these successful cases. Three key areas emerged: creating a culture for innovation and rapid technology transition; methodologies and approaches; and enabling tools and databases.

Solar and Space Physics and Its Role in Space Exploration   (SSB)
Released 2004-10-11

In February 2004, the President announced a new goal for NASA; to use humans and robots together to explore the Moon, Mars, and beyond. In response to this initiative, NASA has adopted new exploration goals that depend, in part, on solar physics research. These actions raised questions about how the research agenda recommended by the NRC in its 2002 report, The Sun to the Earth and Beyond, which did not reflect the new exploration goals, would be affected. As a result, NASA requested the NRC to review the role solar and space physics should play in support of the new goals. This report presents the results of that review. It considers solar and space physics both as aspects of scientific exploration and in support of enabling future exploration of the solar system. The report provides a series of recommendations about NASA's Sun-Earth Connections program to enable it to meet both of those goals.

Computer ScienceReflections on the Field, Reflections from the Field   (CSTB)
Released 2004-10-06

Statistical Analysis of Massive Data StreamsProceedings of a Workshop   (BMSTA,BMSA)
Released 2004-09-14

Massive data streams, large quantities of data that arrive continuously, are becoming increasingly commonplace in many areas of science and technology. Consequently development of analytical methods for such streams is of growing importance. To address this issue, the National Security Agency asked the NRC to hold a workshop to explore methods for analysis of streams of data so as to stimulate progress in the field. This report presents the results of that workshop. It provides presentations that focused on five different research areas where massive data streams are present: atmospheric and meteorological data; high-energy physics; integrated data systems; network traffic; and mining commercial data streams. The goals of the report are to improve communication among researchers in the field and to increase relevant statistical science activity.

Meeting the Energy Needs of Future Warriors   (BAST)
Released 2004-08-31

Retooling ManufacturingBridging Design, Materials, and Production   (BMED,NMAB)
Released 2004-08-30

As the Department of Defense continues development of the future warrior system, the difficulty of moving rapidly from design to manufacturing for complex technologies is becoming a major concern. In particular, there are communication gaps between design and manufacturing that hinder rapid development of new products important for these future military developments. To help address those concerns, DOD asked the NRC to develop a framework for “bridging” these gaps through data management, modeling, and simulation. This report presents the results of this study. It provides a framework for virtual design and manufacturing and an assessment of the necessary tools; an analysis of the economic dimensions; an examination of barriers to virtual design and manufacturing in the DOD acquisition process; and a series of recommendations and research needs.

Implementing Climate and Global Change ResearchA Review of the Final U.S. Climate Change Science Program Strategic Plan   (BECS)
Released 2004-08-16

Capturing the Full Power of Biomaterials for Military MedicineReport of a Workshop   (BMED,NMAB)
Released 2004-08-06

Recent results in biomaterials R&D suggest that there are exceptional opportunities for these emerging materials in military medicine. To facilitate this possibility, the National Research Council convened a workshop at the request of the Department of Defense to help create a technology development roadmap to enhance military R&D into biomaterials technology. The workshop focused primarily on identifying useful near- and mid-term applications of biomaterials including wound care, tissue engineering, drug delivery, and physiological sensors and diagnostics. This report presents a summary of the workshop. It provides a review of biomaterials and their importance to military medicine, the roadmap, and a discussion of ways to enable biomaterials development. Several important outcomes of successful capture of potential benefits of these materials are also discussed.

The Hydrogen EconomyOpportunities, Costs, Barriers, and R&D Needs   (BEES)
Released 2004-08-05

The announcement of a hydrogen fuel initiative in the President’s 2003 State of the Union speech substantially increased interest in the potential for hydrogen to play a major role in the nation’s long-term energy future. Prior to that event, DOE asked the National Research Council to examine key technical issues about the hydrogen economy to assist in the development of its hydrogen R&D program. Included in the assessment were the current state of technology; future cost estimates; CO2 emissions; distribution, storage, and end use considerations; and the DOE RD&D program. The report provides an assessment of hydrogen as a fuel in the nation’s future energy economy and describes a number of important challenges that must be overcome if it is to make a major energy contribution. Topics covered include the hydrogen end-use technologies, transportation, hydrogen production technologies, and transition issues for hydrogen in vehicles.

Naval Forces' Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats   (NSB)
Released 2004-08-03

Army Science and Technology for Homeland SecurityReport 2: C4ISR   (BAST)
Released 2004-08-03

Shortly after the events of September 11, 2001, the U.S. Army asked the National Research Council (NRC) for a series of reports on how science and technology could assist the Army meet its Homeland defense obligations. The first report, Science and Technology for Army Homeland Security—Report 1, presented a survey of a road range of technologies and recommended applying Future Force technologies to homeland security wherever possible. In particular, the report noted that the Army should play a major role in providing emergency command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) capabilities and that the technology and architecture needed for homeland security C4ISR was compatible with that of the Army’s Future Force. This second report focuses on C4ISR and how it can facilitate the Army’s efforts to assist the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and emergency responders meet a catastrophic event.

Assessment of Options for Extending the Life of the Hubble Space TelescopeLetter Report   (ASEB,SSB)
Released 2004-07-13

Lessons Learned from Workshop on Novel Approaches to Carbon ManagementLetter Report   (BEES,BESR)
Released 2004-07-08

Evaluation of the National Aerospace Initiative   (AFSTB)
Released 2004-06-16

The National Aerospace Initiative (NAI) was conceived as a joint effort between the Department of Defense (DOD) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to sustain the aerospace leadership of the United States through the acceleration of selected aerospace technologies: hypersonic flight, access to space, and space technologies. The Air Force became concerned about the NAI’s possible consequences on Air Force programs and budget if NAI program decisions differed from Air Force priorities. To examine this issue, it asked the NRC for an independent review of the NAI. This report presents the results of that assessment. It focuses on three questions asked by the Air Force: is NAI technically feasible in the time frame laid out; is it financially feasible over that period; and is it operationally relevant.

Setting Priorities for Large Research Facility Projects Supported by the National Science Foundation   (COSEMPUP,BPA)
Released 2004-06-15

In 1995, the National Science Foundation (NSF) created a special account to fund large (several tens of millions of dollars) research facilities. Over the years, these facilities have come to represent an increasingly prominent part of the nation’s R&D portfolio. Recently concern has intensified about the way NSF is selecting projects for this account. In 2003, six U.S. Senators including the chair and ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies Appropriations expressed these concerns in a letter to the NRC asking it to “review the current prioritization process and report to us on how it can be improved.” This report presents a series of recommendations on how NSF can improve its priority setting process for large research facilities. While noting that NSF has improved this process, the report states that further strengthening is needed if NSF is to meet future demands for such projects.

Summary of the Sensing and Positioning Technology Workshop of the Committee on Nanotechnology for the Intelligence CommunityInterim Report   (NMAB)
Released 2004-06-14

Letter Report to the FBI   (CSTB)
Released 2004-06-07

This letter report presents a review of actions taken by the FBI that address many of the concerns discussed in the NRC report, A Review of the FBI’s Trilogy Information Technology Modernization Program. That report was released in early May. After its release, the FBI noted that it had taken such steps and requested the NRC to review them in light of the recommendations and findings of the first report. In addition, Rep. Frank Wolf, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations, asked the NRC to undertake this follow-up study. The letter report presents the NRC assessment of those steps, noting where progress is apparent in addressing earlier concerns and where additional efforts are needed.

New Directions in ManufacturingReport of a Workshop   (BMED)
Released 2004-05-28

Stepping-Stones to the Future of Space ExplorationA Workshop Report   (ASEB)
Released 2004-05-27

Investments in Federal FacilitiesAsset Management Strategies for the 21st Century   (BICE)
Released 2004-05-24

Facilities now owned by the Federal Government are valued at over $300 billion. It also spends over $25 billion per year for acquisition, renovation, and upkeep. Despite the size of these sums, there is a growing litany of problems with federal facilities that continues to put a drain on the federal budget and compromise the effectiveness of federal services. To examine ways to address these problems, the sponsoring agencies of the Federal Facilities Council (FFC) asked the National Research Council (NRC) to develop guidelines for making improved decisions about investment in and renewal, maintenance, and replacement of federal facilities. This report provides the result of that assessment. It presents a review of both public and private practices used to support such decision making and identifies appropriate objectives, practices, and performance measures. The report presents a series of recommendations designed to assist federal agencies and departments improve management of and investment decision making for their facilities.

Opportunities to Improve Airport Passenger Screening with Mass Spectrometry   (NMAB)
Released 2004-05-12

Protection of the traveling public from terrorist threats involving explosives is a major goal of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). For 20 years, the TSA (and the Federal Aviation Administration before it) have been investing in technologies to meet that goal. To support that activity, the TSA has asked the NRC to assess a variety of technological opportunities for offering such protection. The NRC is approaching this assignment by issuing a series of reports on chosen technology applications. This is the first of that series and presents an assessment of mass spectrometry for enhanced trace detection (ETD) of chemicals contained in explosives. The report describes limitations of trace detection in general and the current technologies in particular. It then presents a discussion of the potential for mass spectrometry to improve EDT including challenges faced by such a system, recommendations for starting a program to take advantage of mass spectrometry, and recommendations for a phased implementation plan.

A Review of the FBI's Trilogy Information Technology Modernization Program   (CSTB)
Released 2004-05-10

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is in the process of developing a modern information technology (IT) system—the Trilogy program— that is designed to provide a high-speed network, modern workstations and software, and an application—the Virtual Case File (VCF)—to enhance the ability of agents to organize, access, and analyze information. Implementation of this system has encountered substantial difficulties, however, and has been the subject of much investigation and congressional concern. To help address these problems, the FBI asked the National Research Council (NRC) to undertake a quick review of the program and the progress that has been made to date. This report presents that review. The current status of four major aspects of the program—the enterprise architecture, system design, program management, and human resources—are discussed, and recommendations are presented to address the problems.

Plasma Physics of the Local Cosmos   (SSB)
Released 2004-05-06

Solar and space physics is the study of solar system phenomena that occur in the plasma state. Examples include sunspots, the solar wind, planetary magnetospheres, radiation belts, and the aurora. While each is a distinct phenomenon, there are commonalities among them. To help define and systematize these universal aspects of the field of space physics, the National Research Council was asked by NASA’s Office of Space Science to provide a scientific assessment and strategy for the study of magnetized plasmas in the solar system. This report presents that assessment. It covers a number of important research goals for solar and space physics. The report is complementary to the NRC report, The Sun to the Earth—and Beyond: A Decadal Research Strategy for Solar and Space Physics, which presents priorities and strategies for future program activities.

Steps to Facilitate Principal-Investigator-Led Earth Science Missions   (SSB)
Released 2004-04-21

Principal-investigator (PI) Earth science missions are small, focused science projects involving relatively small spacecraft. The selected PI is responsible for the scientific and programmatic success of the entire project. A particular objective of PI-led missions has been to help develop university-based research capacity. Such missions, however, pose significant challenges that are beyond the capabilities of most universities to manage. To help NASA’s Office of Earth Science determine how best to address these, the NRC carried out an assessment of key issues relevant to the success of university-based PI-led Earth observation missions. This report presents the result of that study. In particular, the report provides an analysis of opportunities to enhance such missions and recommendations about whether and, if so, how they should be used to build university-based research capabilities.

Burning PlasmaBringing a Star to Earth   (BPA)
Released 2004-04-01

Significant advances have been made in fusion science, and a point has been reached when we need to decide if the United States is ready to begin a burning plasma experiment. A burning plasma—in which at least 50 percent of the energy to drive the fusion reaction is generated internally—is an essential step to reach the goal of fusion power generation. The Burning Plasma Assessment Committee was formed to provide advice on this decision. The committee concluded that there is high confidence in the readiness to proceed with the burning plasma step. The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), with the United States as a significant partner, was the best choice. Once a commitment to ITER is made, fulfilling it should become the highest priority of the U.S. fusion research program. A funding trajectory is required that both captures the benefits of joining ITER and retains a strong scientific focus on the long-range goals of the program. Addition of the ITER project will require that the content, scope, and level of U.S. fusion activity be defined by program balancing through a priority-setting process initiated by the Office of Fusion Energy Science.

Progress in Improving Project Management at the Department of Energy2003 Assessment   (BICE)
Released 2004-03-30

In 1997, Congress, in the conference report, H.R. 105-271, to the FY1998 Energy and Water Development Appropriation Bill, directed the NRC to carry out a series of assessments of project management at the Department of Energy (DOE). This report, the 2003 Assessment, is the final one in that series. It presents an examination of DOE's progress in improving program management over the past three years including the Department's response to the recommendations of the previous assessments in this series. In addition to assessing DOE’s progress, the report also describes opportunities for further improvement and gives a prognosis for future developments.

Smaller FacilitiesLetter Report   (BPA)
Released 2004-03-26

The Committee on Smaller Facilities is review the current state of small and mid-sized facilities for materials research in the United States at the request of NSF and DOE. Such facilities play a major role in materials research, but they are widely considered to be less than optimally developed or used. To address this concern, the NRC was asked to assess these facilities to help determine ways to use them more effectively. This letter report presents key topics that the committee will explore in depth to carry out this assessment. In particular, the study will assess the characteristics of successful smaller facilities and challenges they face. Recommendations will be provided to enhance the effectiveness of such facilities in performing materials research.

2003 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research's Marine Corps Science and Technology Program   (NSB)
Released 2004-03-01

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) funds research across a broad range of scientific and engineering disciplines in support of the Navy and Marine Corps. To ensure that its investments are serving those ends and are of high quality, ONR requires each of its departments to undergo annual review. Since 1999, the Naval Expeditionary Warfare Department of ONR has requested that the NRC conduct these reviews. This report presents the results of the second review of the Marine Corps Science and Technology program. The first review was conducted in 2000. The 2003 assessment examines the overall Marine Corps S&T program, the littoral combat future naval capability, the core thrusts of the program, and basic research activities.

Opportunities in High Magnetic Field ScienceLetter Report   (BPA)
Released 2004-02-05

In recent years the field of high magnetic field science has become increasingly important to other disciplines, including biology. In 2002, the National Science Foundation concluded that there was a need for an assessment of the field in the United States to set the stage for future planning. Accordingly, it requested that the NRC assess the current state and future prospects for high-magnetic-field science and instrumentation in the United States. This letter report provides a status report of that study. The letter report offers a brief assessment of the current position of the United States in this field and lists a series of questions that will be addressed in the final report.

Issues and Opportunities Regarding the U.S. Space ProgramA Summary Report of a Workshop on National Space Policy   (SSB,ASEB)
Released 2004-02-02

Advanced Energetic Materials   (BMED)
Released 2004-01-30

Advanced energetic materials—explosive fill and propellants—are a critical technology for national security. While several new promising concepts and formulations have emerged in recent years, the Department of Defense is concerned about the nation’s ability to maintain and improve the knowledge base in this area. To assist in addressing these concerns, two offices within DOD asked the NRC to investigate and assess the scope and health of the U.S. R&D efforts in energetic materials. This report provides that assessment. It presents several findings about the current R&D effort and recommendations aimed at improving U.S. capabilities in developing new energetic materials technology. This study reviewed U.S. research and development in advanced energetics being conducted by DoD, the DoE national laboratories, industries, and academia, from a list provided by the sponsors. It also: (a) reviewed papers and technology assessments of non-U.S. work in advanced energetics, assessed important parameters, such as validity, viability, and the likelihood that each of these materials can be produced in quantity; (b) identified barriers to scale-up and production, and suggested technical approaches for addressing potential problems; and (c) suggested specific opportunities, strategies, and priorities for government sponsorship of technologies and manufacturing process development.

Effects of Degraded Agent and Munitions Anomalies on Chemical Stockpile Disposal Operations   (BAST)
Released 2004-01-29

The U.S. Army is in the process of destroying its entire stock of chemical weapons. To help with stockpile disposal, the Army’s Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program (CSDP), in 1987, asked the National Research Council (NRC) for scientific and technical advice. This report is one in a series of such prepared by the NRC over the last 16 years in response to that request. It presents an examination of the effect of leaking munitions (leakers) and other anomalies in the stored stockpile on the operation of the chemical agent disposal facilities. The report presents a discussion of potential causes of these anomalies, leaker tracking and analysis issues, risk implications of anomalies, and recommendations for monitoring and containing these anomalies during the remaining life of the stockpile.

Review of NASA's Aerospace Technology EnterpriseAn Assessment of NASA's Aeronautics Technology Programs   (ASEB)
Released 2004-01-20

The National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies was asked by NASA and the Office of Management and Budget to perform an assessment of NASA's Aerospace Technology Enterprise. The first such review, which began in early 2002, examined Pioneering Revolutionary Technology (now known as Mission and Science Measurement Technology). The assessment presented here, of the Aeronautics Technology Programs, began in early 2003 and is the second in the review series. The Aeronautics Technology Programs has three components: the Vehicle Systems Program, the Airspace Systems Program, and the Aviation Safety Program. To conduct this review, the NRC established three panels, one for each of the component programs. The NRC also established a parent committee, consisting of the chairman and a subset of members from each panel. The committee and panels comprised a cross-section of experts from industry, academia, and government and included senior-level managers and researchers in the aeronautics field. Biographical information on the committee and panel members is found in Appendix A. Review of NASA's Aerospace Technology Enterprise: An Assessment of NASA's Aeronautics Technology Programs contains the committee's assessment of the Aeronautics Technology Programs. Chapter 1 presents a top-level assessment, and Chapters 2 through 4 provide the assessments of the Vehicle Systems Program, the Airspace Systems Program, and the Aviation Safety Program, respectively.

Summary of the Power Systems Workshop on Nanotechnology for the Intelligence CommunityInterim Report   (NMAB)
Released 2004-01-20

Vehicle Systems Panel Report on the Status of NASA's Vehicles Systems ProgramLetter Report   (ASEB)
Released 2004-01-16

In November 2003, ASEB released a report, An Assessment of NASA’s Aeronautics Technology Programs. After the release, NASA requested the NRC to reconvene the Panel on Vehicle Systems Program, which had been established as part of the study infrastructure for the report. Specifically, NASA wanted an evaluation of the progress made by the Program in formulating and directing its activities over the past nine months (since March 2003). This letter report presents the findings of that review. In almost all cases, the recommendations contained in this letter report, amplify and reinforce those contained in the full report.