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Space Studies Board Annual Report 2006   (SSB)
Released 2007-12-28

Condensed-Matter and Materials PhysicsThe Science of the World Around Us   (BPA)
Released 2007-12-21

As part of the 2010 physics decadal survey project, DOE and NSF requested the NRC to assess opportunities, over roughly the next decade, in condensed matter and materials physics (CMMP). The study is to review recent accomplishments and new opportunities; identify potential future impact of CMMP; consider its contributions to national needs; assessing priorities for tools and facilities; analyze current research and funding; and make recommendations for realizing the full benefit of CMMP. This report presents a survey of the CMMP field during the last decade, including the state of federal and private support of CMMP within the United States, and looks ahead to the intellectual and technological challenges of the coming decade. This discussion is centered about six grand challenges concerning energy demand, the physics of life, information technology, nanotechnology, complex phenomena, and behavior far from equilibrium.

Plasma ScienceAdvancing Knowledge in the National Interest   (BPA)
Released 2007-12-20

As part of its current physics decadal survey, Physics 2010, the NRC was asked by the DOE, NSF, and NASA to carry out an assessment of and outlook for the broad field of plasma science and engineering over the next several years. The study was to focus on progress in plasma research, identify the most compelling new scientific opportunities, evaluate prospects for broader application of plasmas, and offer guidance to realize these opportunities. The study paid particular attention to these last two points. This “demand-side” perspective provided a clear look at what plasma research can do to help achieve national goals of fusion energy, economic competitiveness, and nuclear weapons stockpile stewardship. The report provides an examination of the broad themes that frame plasma research: low-temperature plasma science and engineering; plasma physics at high energy density; plasma science of magnetic fusion; space and astrophysical science; and basic plasma science. Within those themes, the report offers a bold vision for future developments in plasma science.

NASA's Beyond Einstein ProgramAn Architecture for Implementation   (SSB,BPA)
Released 2007-12-19

The Beyond Einstein (BE) program is a set of five space missions designed to address important questions about physics and astrophysics. In 2003, NASA prepared a research roadmap proposing these five missions in order to study dark energy, black holes, gravitational radiation, inflation of the early universe, and Einstein's theory of gravitation. In FY2007, congressional language prompted NASA and DOE to request the NRC to assess these missions and recommend which to develop and launch first using a funding wedge that will start in 2009. This report provides, for each mission, an analysis of its scientific impact, an examination of technical risk and a cost assessment, and a review of related policy and programmatic issues. The report concludes with recommendations to guide the programs development.

Proceedings of a Workshop on Statistics on Networks (CD-ROM)   (BMSTA,BMSA)
Released 2007-12-18

A large number of biological, physical, and social systems contain complex networks. Knowledge about how these networks operate is critical for advancing a more general understanding of network behavior. To this end, each of these disciplines has created different kinds of statistical theory for inference on network data. To help stimulate further progress in the field of statistical inference on network data, the NRC sponsored a workshop that brought together researchers who are dealing with network data in different contexts. This book - which is available on CD only - contains the text of the 18 workshop presentations. The presentations focused on five major areas of research: network models, dynamic networks, data and measurement on networks, robustness and fragility of networks, and visualization and scalability of networks.

New Directions for Understanding Systemic RiskA Report on a Conference Cosponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the National Academy of Sciences   (BMSTA,BMSA)
Released 2007-12-17

The stability of the financial system and the potential for systemic events to alter its function have long been critical issues for central bankers and researchers. Recent events suggest that older models of systemic shocks might no longer capture all of the possible paths of such disturbances or account for the increasing complexity of the financial system. To help assess these concerns, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the NRC cosponsored a conference that brought together engineers, scientists, economists, and financial market experts to promote better understanding of systemic risk in a variety of fields. The book presents an examination of tools used in ecology and engineering to study systemic collapse in those areas; a review of current trends in economic research on systemic risk, the payments system, and the market of interbank funds; and for context, descriptions of how systemic risk in the financial system affects trading activities.

Fusion of Security System Data to Improve Airport Security   (NMAB)
Released 2007-11-14

The security of the U.S. commercial aviation system has been a growing concern since the 1970's when the hijacking of aircraft became a serious problem. Over that period, federal aviation officials have been searching for more effective ways for non-invasive screening of passengers, luggage, and cargo to detect concealed explosives and weapons. To assist in this effort, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) asked the NRC for a study of emerging screening technologies. This book - the fourth of four - focuses on data fusion as a means to significantly improve the ability of the existing suite of airport detection systems and access control systems to detect and prevent attacks. The book presents a discussion of the data fusion, an analysis of current data fusion efforts, and an assessment of data fusion opportunities for various airport security activities.

The National Science Foundation's Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers ProgramLooking Back, Moving Forward   (BPA)
Released 2007-10-31

The Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers (MRSEC) Impact Assessment Committee was convened by the National Research Council in response to an informal request from the National Science Foundation. Charged to examine the impact of the MRSEC program and to provide guidance for the future, the committee included experts from across materials research as well as several from outside the field. The committee developed a general methodology to examine the MRSEC centers and after extensive research and analysis, came to the following conclusions. MRSEC center awards continue to be in great demand. The intense competition within the community for them indicates a strong perceived value. Using more quantitative measures, the committee examined the performance and impact of MRSEC activities over the past decade in the areas of research, facilities, education and outreach, and industrial collaboration and technology transfer. The MRSEC program has had important impacts of the same high standard of quality as those of other multi-investigator or individual-investigator programs. Although the committee was largely unable to attribute observed impacts uniquely to the MRSEC program, MRSECs generally mobilize efforts that would not have occurred otherwise. Because of an observed decline in the effectiveness of the centers, the committee recommended a restructuring the MRSEC program to allow more efficient use and leveraging of resources. The new program should fully invest in centers of excellence as well as in stand-alone teams of researchers to allow tighter focus on key strengths of the program. In its report, the committee outlines one potential vision for how this might be accomplished in a revenue-neutral fashion.

Toward a Safer and More Secure Cyberspace   (CSTB)
Released 2007-10-24

Given the growing importance of cyberspace to nearly all aspects of national life, a secure cyberspace is vitally important to the nation, but cyberspace is far from secure today. The United States faces the real risk that adversaries will exploit vulnerabilities in the nation’s critical information systems, thereby causing considerable suffering and damage. Online e-commerce business, government agency files, and identity records are all potential security targets. Toward a Safer and More Secure Cyberspace examines these Internet security vulnerabilities and offers a strategy for future research aimed at countering cyber attacks. It also explores the nature of online threats and some of the reasons why past research for improving cybersecurity has had less impact than anticipated, and considers the human resource base needed to advance the cybersecurity research agenda. This book will be an invaluable resource for Internet security professionals, information technologists, policy makers, data stewards, e-commerce providers, consumer protection advocates, and others interested in digital security and safety.

Opportunities for Coordination and Clarity to Advance the National Health Information AgendaA Brief Assessment of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology: A Letter Report   (HCS,CSTB)
Released 2007-10-15

2005-2006 Assessment of the Army Research Laboratory   (ARLTAB)
Released 2007-10-10

Reducing Construction CostsUses of Best Dispute Resolution Practices by Project Owners: Proceedings Report   (FFC,BICE)
Released 2007-10-09

The National Academy of Construction (NAC) has determined that disputes, and their accompanying inefficiencies and costs, constitute a significant problem for the industry. In 2002, the NAC assessed the industry's progress in attacking this problem and determined that although the tools, techniques, and processes for preventing and efficiently resolving disputes are already in place, they are not being widely used. In 2003, the NAC helped to persuade the Center for Construction Industry Studies (CCIS) at the University of Texas and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to finance and conduct empirical research to develop accurate information about the relative transaction costs of various forms of dispute resolution. In 2004 the NAC teamed with the Federal Facilities Council (FFC) of the National Research Council to sponsor the "Government/Industry Forum on Reducing Construction Costs: Uses of Best Dispute Resolution Practices by Project Owners." The forum was held on September 23, 2004, at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. Speakers and panelists at the forum addressed several topics. Reducing Construction Costs addresses topics such as the root causes of disputes and the impact of disputes on project costs and the economics of the construction industry. A second topic addressed was dispute resolution tools and techniques for preventing, managing, and resolving construction- related disputes. This report documents examples of successful uses of dispute resolution tools and techniques on some high-profile projects, and also provides ways to encourage greater use of dispute resolution tools throughout the industry. This report addresses steps that owners of construction projects (who have the greatest ability to influence how their projects are conducted) should take in order to make their projects more successful.

Earth Science and Applications from SpaceNational Imperatives for the Next Decade and Beyond   (SSB)
Released 2007-10-01

Natural and human-induced changes in Earth's interior, land surface, biosphere, atmosphere, and oceans affect all aspects of life. Understanding these changes requires a range of observations acquired from land-, sea-, air-, and space-based platforms. To assist NASA, NOAA, and USGS in developing these tools, the NRC was asked to carry out a "decadal strategy" survey of Earth science and applications from space that would develop the key scientific questions on which to focus Earth and environmental observations in the period 2005-2015 and beyond, and present a prioritized list of space programs, missions, and supporting activities to address these questions. This report presents a vision for the Earth science program; an analysis of the existing Earth Observing System and recommendations to help restore its capabilities; an assessment of and recommendations for new observations and missions for the next decade; an examination of and recommendations for effective application of those observations; and an analysis of how best to sustain that observation and applications system.

An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Chemical Science and Technology LaboratoryFiscal Year 2007   (LAB)
Released 2007-09-18

The report on the CSTL presents an assessment of the Lab’s five divisions, covering—where appropriate—how well each division addresses national priorities, its impact and level of innovation, its technical merit, and its infrastructure. The report notes that the CSTL is meeting its obligations and its priorities are appropriate and aligned with national priorities.

An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Center for Neutron ResearchFiscal Year 2007   (LAB)
Released 2007-09-18

The book on the NCNR presents a general assessment of the Lab, followed by assessments of its facilities and personnel, its role as a user facility, and its science and technology. The book notes that the NCNR provides a high flux of neutrons to an evolving suite of high-quality instruments, has a substantial and satisfied external user community, and its in-house science and technology is robust.

An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Electronics and Electrical Engineering LaboratoryFiscal Year 2007   (LAB)
Released 2007-09-18

The report on the EEEL presents an assessment of the Lab’s four divisions. The assessment is based on four criteria: alignment with national priorities, motivation of its programs, technical merit, and technical program quality. The report also provides a look at three additional concerns: staffing and funding, international issues, and the planning process.

An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Information Technology LaboratoryFiscal Year 2007   (LAB)
Released 2007-09-18

The report on the ITL presents a general assessment of the laboratory including a look at its research strategies, opportunities, planning for growth, research culture, and computing infrastructure; and provides assessments of the laboratory’s six divisions. The report notes that the work of the ITL generally ranks at or near the top of the work being done by peer institutions.

Social Security Administration Electronic Service ProvisionA Strategic Assessment   (CSTB)
Released 2007-09-06

Social Security Administration Electronic Service Provision examines the Social Security Administration's (SSA's) proposed e-government strategy and provides advice on how the SSA can best deliver services to its constituencies in the future. The assessment by the Committee on the Social Security Administration's E-Government Strategy and Planning for the Future was based on (1) its examination of the SSA's current e-government strategy, including technological assumptions, performance measures and targets, planned operational capabilities, strategic requirements, and future goals; (2) its consideration of strategies, assumptions, and technical and operational requirements in comparable public- and private-sector institutions; and (3) its consideration of the larger organizational, societal, and technological context in which the SSA operates.

Strategy for an Army Center for Network Science, Technology, and Experimentation   (BAST)
Released 2007-08-27

The U.S. military has committed to a strategy of network-centric warfare. As a result, the Army has become increasingly interested in the critical role of network science. To a significant extent, this interest was stimulated by an earlier NRC report, Network Science. To build on that book, the Army asked the NRC to conduct a study to define advanced operating models and architectures for future Army laboratories and centers focused on network science, technologies, and experimentation (NSTE). The challenges resulting from base realignment and closure (BRAC) relocations of Army research, development, and engineering resources--as they affected the NSTE program--were also to be a focus of the study. This book provides a discussion of what NSTE is needed by the Army; an examination of the NSTE currently carried out by the Army; an assessment of needed infrastructure resources for Army NSTE; and an analysis of goals, models, and alternatives for an NSTE center.

Strategic Management of Information and Communication TechnologyThe United States Air Force Experience with Y2K   (DSC,CSTB)
Released 2007-08-24

Although Y2K did not result in major disruptions, the event is a rich source of critical lessons for strategic management of information and communication technology (ICT), many of which apply to large organizations today. Using a case study approach, this report describes lessons learned from the response of the Air Force to Y2K and makes recommendations for managing ICT complexity, aligning organizational and ICT strategies, and minimizing risk.

Summary of a Workshop on Software-Intensive Systems and Uncertainty at Scale   (CSTB)
Released 2007-08-23

The growing scale and complexity of software-intensive systems are introducing fundamental new challenges of uncertainty and scale that are particularly demanding for defense systems. To assist in meeting these challenges, the Department of Defense asked the NRC to assess the nature of U.S. national investment in software research. As part of this study, a workshop was held to examine uncertainty at scale in current and future software-intensive systems. This report presents a summary of the workshop discussions that centered on process, architecture, and the grand scale; DoD software challenges for future systems; agility at scale; quality and assurance with scale and uncertainty; and enterprise scale and beyond. The report also offers a summary of key themes emerging from the workshop: architectural challenges in large-scale systems; the need for software engineering capability; and open questions and research opportunities.

Software for Dependable SystemsSufficient Evidence?   (CSTB)
Released 2007-08-14

The focus of Software for Dependable Systems is a set of fundamental principles that underlie software system dependability and that suggest a different approach to the development and assessment of dependable software. Unfortunately, it is difficult to assess the dependability of software. The field of software engineering suffers from a pervasive lack of evidence about the incidence and severity of software failures; about the dependability of existing software systems; about the efficacy of existing and proposed development methods; about the benefits of certification schemes; and so on. There are many anecdotal reports, which—although often useful for indicating areas of concern or highlighting promising avenues of research—do little to establish a sound and complete basis for making policy decisions regarding dependability. The committee regards claims of extraordinary dependability that are sometimes made on this basis for the most critical of systems as unsubstantiated, and perhaps irresponsible. This difficulty regarding the lack of evidence for system dependability leads to two conclusions: (1) that better evidence is needed, so that approaches aimed at improving the dependability of software can be objectively assessed, and (2) that, for now, the pursuit of dependability in software systems should focus on the construction and evaluation of evidence. The committee also recognized the importance of adopting the practices that are already known and used by the best developers; this report gives a sample of such practices. Some of these (such as systematic configuration management and automated regression testing) are relatively easy to adopt; others (such as constructing hazard analyses and threat models, exploiting formal notations when appropriate, and applying static analysis to code) will require new training for many developers. However valuable, though, these practices are in themselves no silver bullet, and new techniques and methods will be required in order to build future software systems to the level of dependability that will be required.

Assessment of Wingtip Modifications to Increase the Fuel Efficiency of Air Force Aircraft   (AFSB)
Released 2007-08-06

The high cost of aviation fuel has resulted in increased attention by Congress and the Air Force on improving military aircraft fuel efficiency. One action considered is modification of the aircraft’s wingtip by installing, for example, winglets to reduce drag. While common on commercial aircraft, such modifications have been less so on military aircraft. In an attempt to encourage greater Air Force use in this area, Congress, in H. Rept. 109-452, directed the Air Force to provide a report examining the feasibility of modifying its aircraft with winglets. To assist in this effort, the Air Force asked the NRC to evaluate its aircraft inventory and identify those aircraft that may be good candidates for winglet modifications. This report—which considers other wingtip modifications in addition to winglets—presents a review of wingtip modifications; an examination of previous analyses and experience with such modifications; and an assessment of wingtip modifications for various Air Force aircraft and potential investment strategies.

Improving the Efficiency of Engines for Large Nonfighter Aircraft   (AFSB)
Released 2007-07-30

Because of the important national defense contribution of large, non-fighter aircraft, rapidly increasing fuel costs and increasing dependence on imported oil have triggered significant interest in increased aircraft engine efficiency by the U.S. Air Force. To help address this need, the Air Force asked the National Research Council (NRC) to examine and assess technical options for improving engine efficiency of all large non-fighter aircraft under Air Force command. This report presents a review of current Air Force fuel consumption patterns; an analysis of previous programs designed to replace aircraft engines; an examination of proposed engine modifications; an assessment of the potential impact of alternative fuels and engine science and technology programs, and an analysis of costs and funding requirements.

A Path to the Next Generation of U.S. BanknotesKeeping Them Real   (BMED)
Released 2007-07-26

The rapid pace at which digital printing is advancing is posing a very serious challenge to the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Bureau of Printing (BEP). The BEP needs to stay ahead of the evolving counterfeiting threats to U.S. currency. To help meet that challenge, A Path to the Next Generation of U.S. Banknotes provides an assessment of technologies and methods to produce designs that enhance the security of U.S. Federal Reserve notes (FRNs). This book presents the results of a systematic investigation of the trends in digital imaging and printing and how they enable emerging counterfeiting threats. It also provides the identification and analysis of new features of FRNs that could provide effective countermeasures to these threats and an overview of a requirements-driven development process that could be adapted to develop an advanced-generation currency.

Prospective Evaluation of Applied Energy Research and Development at DOE (Phase Two)   (BEES)
Released 2007-07-17

Review of Chemical Agent Secondary Waste Disposal and Regulatory Requirements   (BAST)
Released 2007-07-13

Under the direction of the U.S. Army's Chemical Materials Agency (CMA) and mandated by Congress, the nation is destroying its chemical weapons stockpile. Large quantities of secondary waste are being generated in the process, and managing these wastes safely and effectively is a critical part of CMA's weapons disposal program. To assist, the CMA asked the NRC to examine the environmental and regulatory requirements that secondary waste treatment is subject to, and to assess best practices by industry in meeting such requirements for similar facilities. This book presents an overview of secondary wastes from chemical agent disposal facilities (CDF), a comparison of CDF and industry experience, site-specific analysis of major secondary waste issues, an examination of closure wastes, and findings and recommendations.

The Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon   (SSB)
Released 2007-07-03

Because of the Moon’s unique place in the evolution of rocky worlds, it is a prime focus of NASA’s space exploration vision. Currently NASA is defining and implementing a series of robotic orbital and landed missions to the Moon as the initial phase of this vision. To realize the benefits of this activity, NASA needs a comprehensive, well-validated, and prioritized set of scientific research objectives. To help establish those objectives, NASA asked the NRC to provide guidance on the scientific challenges and opportunities enabled by sustained robotic and human exploration of the Moon during the period 2008-2023 and beyond. This final report presents a review of the current understanding of the early earth and moon; the identification of key science concepts and goals for moon exploration; an assessment of implementation options; and a set of prioritized lunar science concepts, goals, and recommendations. An interim report was released in September 2006.

Proceedings of the Materials Forum 2007Corrosion Education for the 21st Century   (NMAB)
Released 2007-06-29

The U.S. industrial complex and its associated infrastructure are essential to the nation's quality of life, its industrial productivity, international competitiveness, and security. Each component of the infrastructure—such as highways, airports, water supply, waste treatment, energy supply, and power generation—represents a complex system requiring significant investment. Within that infrastructure both the private and government sectors have equipment and facilities that are subject to degradation by corrosion, which significantly reduces the lifetime, reliability, and functionality of structures and equipment, while also threatening human safety. The direct costs of corrosion to the U.S. economy represent 3.2 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), and the total costs to society can be twice that or greater. Opportunities for savings through improved corrosion control exist in every economic sector. The workshop, Corrosion Education for the 21st Century, brought together corrosion specialists, leaders in materials and engineering education, government officials, and other interested parties. The workshop was also attended by members of NRC's Committee on Assessing Corrosion Education, who are carrying out a study on this topic. The workshop panelists and speakers were asked to give their personal perspectives on whether corrosion abatement is adequately addressed in our nation's engineering curricula and, if not, what issues need to be addressed to develop a comprehensive corrosion curriculum in undergraduate engineering. This proceedings consists of extended abstracts from the workshop's speakers that reflect their personal views as presented to the meeting. Proceedings of the Materials Forum 2007: Corrosion Education for the 21st Century summarizes this form.

Engaging Privacy and Information Technology in a Digital Age   (CSTB)
Released 2007-06-28

Privacy is a growing concern in the United States and around the world. The spread of the Internet and the seemingly boundaryless options for collecting, saving, sharing, and comparing information trigger consumer worries. Online practices of business and government agencies may present new ways to compromise privacy, and e-commerce and technologies that make a wide range of personal information available to anyone with a Web browser only begin to hint at the possibilities for inappropriate or unwarranted intrusion into our personal lives. Engaging Privacy and Information Technology in a Digital Age presents a comprehensive and multidisciplinary examination of privacy in the information age. It explores such important concepts as how the threats to privacy evolving, how can privacy be protected and how society can balance the interests of individuals, businesses and government in ways that promote privacy reasonably and effectively? This book seeks to raise awareness of the web of connectedness among the actions one takes and the privacy policies that are enacted, and provides a variety of tools and concepts with which debates over privacy can be more fruitfully engaged. Engaging Privacy and Information Technology in a Digital Age focuses on three major components affecting notions, perceptions, and expectations of privacy: technological change, societal shifts, and circumstantial discontinuities. This book will be of special interest to anyone interested in understanding why privacy issues are often so intractable.

Countering the Threat of Improvised Explosive DevicesBasic Research Opportunities: Abbreviated Version   (BCST,NSB)
Released 2007-06-28

Attacks in London, Madrid, Bali, Oklahoma City and other places indicate that improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are among the weapons of choice of terrorists throughout the world. Scientists and engineers have developed various technologies that have been used to counter individual IED attacks, but events in Iraq and elsewhere indicate that the effectiveness of IEDs as weapons of asymmetric warfare remains. The Office of Naval Research has asked The National Research Council to examine the current state of knowledge and practice in the prevention, detection, and mitigation of the effects of IEDs and make recommendations for avenues of research toward the goal of making these devices an ineffective tool of asymmetric warfare. The book includes recommendations such as identifying the most important and most vulnerable elements in the chain of events leading up to an IED attack, determining how resources can be controlled in order to prevent the construction of IEDs, new analytical methods and data modeling to predict the ever-changing behavior of insurgents/terrorists, a deeper understanding of social divisions in societies, enhanced capabilities for persistent surveillance, and improved IED detection capabilities.

The Limits of Organic Life in Planetary Systems   (SSB,BLS)
Released 2007-06-26

The search for life in the solar system and beyond has to date been governed by a model based on what we know about life on Earth (terran life). Most of NASA's mission planning is focused on locations where liquid water is possible and emphasizes searches for structures that resemble cells in terran organisms. It is possible, however, that life exists that is based on chemical reactions that do not involve carbon compounds, that occurs in solvents other than water, or that involves oxidation-reduction reactions without oxygen gas. To assist NASA incorporate this possibility in its efforts to search for life, the NRC was asked to carry out a study to evaluate whether nonstandard biochemistry might support life in solar system and conceivable extrasolar environments, and to define areas to guide research in this area. This book presents an exploration of a limited set of hypothetical chemistries of life, a review of current knowledge concerning key questions or hypotheses about nonterran life, and suggestions for future research.

An Astrobiology Strategy for the Exploration of Mars   (SSB,BLS)
Released 2007-06-26

Three recent developments have greatly increased interest in the search for life on Mars. The first is new information about the Martian environment including evidence of a watery past and the possibility of atmospheric methane. The second is the possibility of microbial viability on Mars. Finally, the Vision for Space Exploration initiative included an explicit directive to search for the evidence of life on Mars. These scientific and political developments led NASA to request the NRC’s assistance in formulating an up-to-date integrated astrobiology strategy for Mars exploration. Among other topics, this report presents a review of current knowledge about possible life on Mars; an astrobiological assessment of current Mars missions; a review of Mars-mission planetary protection; and findings and recommendations. The report notes that the greatest increase in understanding of Mars will come from the collection and return to Earth of a well-chosen suite of Martian surface materials.

Building a Better NASA WorkforceMeeting the Workforce Needs for the National Vision for Space Exploration   (SSB,ASEB)
Released 2007-06-22

The Vision for Space Exploration (VSE) announced by President George W. Bush in 2004 sets NASA and the nation on a bold path to return to the Moon and one day put a human on Mars. The long-term endeavor represented by the VSE is, however, subject to the constraints imposed by annual funding. Given that the VSE may take tens of years to implement, a significant issue is whether NASA and the United States will have the workforce needed to achieve that vision. The issues range from short-term concerns about the current workforce's skills for overseeing the development of new spacecraft and launch vehicles for the VSE to long-term issues regarding the training, recruiting, and retaining of scientists and engineers in-house as well as in industry and academia. Asked to explore science and technology (S&T) workforce needs to achieve the nation's long-term space exploration, the Committee on Meeting the Workforce Needs for the National Vision for Space Exploration concluded that in the short term, NASA does not possess the requisite in-house personnel with the experience in human spaceflight systems development needed to implement the VSE. But the committee acknowledges that NASA is cognizant of this fact and has taken steps to correct it, primarily by seeking to recruit highly skilled personnel from outside NASA, including persons from industry and retirees. For the long term, NASA has to ask if it is attracting and developing the talent it will need to execute a mission to return to the Moon, and the agency must identify what it needs to do to attract and develop a world-class workforce to explore other worlds. A major challenge for NASA is reorienting its human spaceflight workforce from the operation of current vehicles to the development of new vehicles at least throughout the next decade, as well as starting operations with new rockets and new spacecraft. The committee emphasizes further that when evaluating its future workforce requirements, NASA has to consider not only programs for students, but also training opportunities for its current employees. NASA's training programs at the agency's various field centers, which are focused on NASA's civil service talent, require support to prevent the agency's internal skill base from withering. Furthermore, NASA faces the risk that, if it fails to nurture its own internal workforce, skilled personnel will be attracted to other government agencies and industry. Building a Better NASA Workforce: Meeting the Workforce Needs for the National Vision for Space Exploration explains the findings and recommendations of the committee.

The Role of Naval Forces in the Global War on TerrorAbbreviated Version   (NSB)
Released 2007-06-12

The growth of the terrorism threat to the nation’s security has created significant strategic challenges for U.S. armed forces in fighting this global war on terrorism (GWOT). For the Navy, the challenges have centered on developing maritime capabilities to prosecute the GWOT as far forward as possible. To assist the Navy’s planning in this area, the former Chief of Naval Operations requested the NRC to conduct an assessment of the adequacy of and prospects for improving the role of Naval Forces in the GWOT. The study developed a defense-in-depth framework as the organizing principle for the report. The report contains information as described in 5 U.S.C. 552(b) and therefore could not be released to the public in its entirety. The public version consists of an executive summary that presents an assessment of the transformation of naval forces for addressing the GWOT; a brief description of the defense-in-depth framework; and a list of findings and major recommendations.

Distributed Remote Sensing for Naval Undersea WarfareAbbreviated Version   (NSB)
Released 2007-06-12

The widespread availability of quiet, diesel electric submarines and inexpensive mines is posing a growing threat to global access by the U.S. Navy. In response, the Navy has expanded its undersea warfare efforts and put particular emphasis on the potential for new distributed remote sensing (DRS) approaches. To assist with this effort, the former Chief of Naval Operations requested the NRC to conduct an assessment of DRS for naval undersea warfare. This report provides a clear, near-term path by which useful DRS systems can be applied rapidly to pressing naval USW problems, and by which ongoing science and technology efforts can be directed toward the most useful options. The report contains information as described in 5 U.S.C. 552(b) and therefore could not be released to the public in its entirety. The public version consists of the front matter and executive summary.

Decadal Science Strategy SurveysReport of a Workshop   (SSB)
Released 2007-06-11

The Workshop on Decadal Science Strategy Surveys was held on November 14-16, 2006, to promote discussions of the use of National Research Council (NRC) decadal surveys for developing and implementing scientific priorities, to review lessons learned from the most recent surveys, and to identify potential approaches for future surveys that can enhance their realism, utility, and endurance. The workshop involved approximately 60 participants from academia, industry, government, and the NRC. This report summarizes the workshop presentations, panel discussions, and general discussions on the use of decadal surveys for developing and implementing scientific priorities in astronomy and astrophysics, planetary science, solar and space physics, and Earth science. Decadal Science Strategy Surveys: Report of a Workshop summarizes the evnts of the three day workshop.

Portals to the UniverseThe NASA Astronomy Science Centers   (SSB)
Released 2007-06-05

The astronomy science centers established by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to serve as the interfaces between astronomy missions and the community of scientists who utilize the data have been enormously successful in enabling space-based astronomy missions to achieve their scientific potential. These centers have transformed the conduct of much of astronomical research, established a new paradigm for the use of large astronomical facilities, and advanced the science far beyond what would have been possible without them. Portals to the Universe: The NASA Astronomy Science Centers explains in detail the findings of this report.

Review of Physical Science Proposals to the State of Ohio's 2005 Wright Centers of Innovation Award ProgramLetter Report   (ASEB)
Released 2007-05-25

Controlling the Quantum WorldThe Science of Atoms, Molecules, and Photons   (BPA)
Released 2007-05-21

As part of the Physics 2010 decadal survey project, the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation requested that the National Research Council assess the opportunities, over roughly the next decade, in atomic, molecular, and optical (AMO) science and technology. In particular, the National Research Council was asked to cover the state of AMO science, emphasizing recent accomplishments and identifying new and compelling scientific questions. Controlling the Quantum World, discusses both the roles and challenges for AMO science in instrumentation; scientific research near absolute zero; development of extremely intense x-ray and laser sources; exploration and control of molecular processes; photonics at the nanoscale level; and development of quantum information technology. This book also offers an assessment of and recommendations about critical issues concerning maintaining U.S. leadership in AMO science and technology.

A Performance Assessment of NASA's Astrophysics Program   (SSB,BPA)
Released 2007-05-21

While a number of remarkable discoveries in astronomy and astrophysics have taken place over the past 20 years, many important questions remain. Continued progress in these fields will require NASA’s leadership. To help determine if NASA can meet this challenge, Congress, in the 2005 NASA Authorization Act, directed the agency to have "[t]he performance of each division in the Science directorate...reviewed and assessed by the National Academy of Sciences at 5-year intervals." In early 2006, NASA asked the NRC to conduct such an assessment for the agency’s Astrophysics Division. This report presents an assessment of how well NASA’s current program addresses the strategies, goals, and priorities outlined in previous Academy reports. The report provides an analysis of progress toward realizing these strategies, goals, and priorities; and a discussion of actions that could be taken to optimize the scientific value of the program in the context of current and forecasted resources.

Conventional Prompt Global Strike CapabilityLetter Report   (NSB)
Released 2007-05-15

Improving Disaster ManagementThe Role of IT in Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery   (CSTB)
Released 2007-05-01

Information technology (IT) has the potential to play a critical role in managing natural and human-made disasters. Damage to communications infrastructure, along with other communications problems exacerbated the difficulties in carrying out response and recovery efforts following Hurricane Katrina. To assist government planning in this area, the Congress, in the E-government Act of 2002, directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to request the NRC to conduct a study on the application of IT to disaster management. This report characterizes disaster management providing a framework for considering the range and nature of information and communication needs; presents a vision of the potential for IT to improve disaster management; provides an analysis of structural, organizational, and other non-technical barriers to the acquisition, adoption, and effective use of IT in disaster; and offers an outline of a research program aimed at strengthening IT-enabled capabilities for disaster management.

River Science at the U.S. Geological Survey   (WSTB)
Released 2007-04-24

Rivers provide about 60 percent of the nation’s drinking water and irrigation water and 10 percent of the nation’s electric power needs. The multiple and sometimes incompatible services demanded of rivers often lead to policy and management conflicts that require the integration of science-based information. This report advises the U.S. Geological Survey on how it can best address river science challenges by effectively using its resources and coordinating its activities with other agencies. The report identifies the highest priority river science issues for the USGS, including environmental flows and river restoration, sediment transport and geomorphology, and groundwater surface-water interactions. It also recommends two cross-cutting science activities including surveying and mapping the nation’s river systems according to key physical and landscape features, and expanding work on predictive models, especially those that simulate interactions between physical-biological processes. The report identifies key variables to be monitored and data-managed. It proposes enhancements in streamflow, biological, and sediment monitoring; these include establishing multidisciplinary, integrated reach-scale monitoring sites and developing a comprehensive national sediment monitoring program. Finally, it encourages the USGS to be at the forefront of new technology application, including airborne lidar and embedded, networked, wireless sensors.

Assessment of the Results of External Independent Reviews for U.S. Department of Energy Projects   (BICE)
Released 2007-04-10

Peer review is an essential component of engineering practice and other scientific and technical undertakings. Peer reviews are conducted to ensure that activities are technically adequate, competently performed, and properly documented; to validate assumptions, calculations, and extrapolations; and to assess alternative interpretations, methodologies, acceptance criteria, and other aspects of the work products and the documentation that support them. Effective peer reviews are conducted in an environment of mutual respect, recognizing the contributions of all participants. Their primary objective is to help the project team achieve its goals. Reviews also contribute to quality assurance, risk management, and overall improvement of the management process. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) conducts different types of peer reviews at the different stages of a project, including reviews to assess risks and other factors related to design, safety, cost estimates, value engineering, and project management. Independent project reviews (IPRs) are conducted by federal staff not directly affiliated with the project or program and management and operations (M&O) contractors. External independent reviews (EIRs) are overseen by the Office of Engineering and Construction Management and conducted by contractors external to the department. EIRs are the primary focus of this report. However, the committee found that, in many cases, IPRs are explicitly used as preparation for or as preliminary reviews prior to EIRs. Thus, because IPRs are integral to the review process in DOE, they are also discussed because they might have an effect on EIRs. In October 2000, DOE issued Order 413.3, Program and Project Management for the Acquisition of Capital Assets (DOE, 2000). The order established a series of five critical decisions (CDs), or major milestones, that require senior management review and approval to ensure that a project satisfies applicable mission, design, security, and safety requirements: approve mission need, approve alternative selection and cost range, approve performance baseline, approve start of construction, and approve start of operations or project closeout. Assessment of the Results of External Independent Reviews for U. S. Department of Energy Projects summarizes the results.

Scientific Opportunities with a Rare-Isotope Facility in the United States   (BPA)
Released 2007-04-09

Over ten years ago, U.S. nuclear scientists proposed construction of a new rare isotope accelerator in the United States, which would enable experiments to elucidate the important questions in nuclear physics. To help assess this proposal, DOE and NSF asked the NRC to define the science agenda for a next-generation U.S. Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB). As the study began, DOE announced a substantial reduction in the scope of this facility and put off its initial operation date by several years. The study focused on an evaluation of the science that could be accomplished on a facility reduced in scope. This report provides a discussion of the key science drivers for a FRIB, an assessment of existing domestic and international rare isotope beams, an assessment of the current U.S. position about the FRIB, and a set of findings and conclusions about the scientific and policy context for such a facility.

Handbook of Frequency Allocations and Spectrum Protection for Scientific Uses   (BPA)
Released 2007-03-29

The electromagnetic spectrum is a vital part of our environment. Information encoded in the spectrum of radiation arriving at earth from the universe is the means by which we learn about its workings and origin. Radiation collected from the Earth's land, oceans, biosphere, and atmosphere provide us with much of the data needed to better understand this environment. Wise use of the spectrum is necessary if we are to continue these advances in scientific understanding. To help guide this effort, the NSF and NASA asked the NRC to develop a set of principles for fostering effective allocation and protection of spectral bands for scientific research. This handbook contains practical information in this connection including a description of regulatory bodies and issues, a discussion of the relevant scientific background, a list of science spectrum allocations in the United States, and an analysis of spectrum protection issues.

Assessment of Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Technology for Detection and Identification of Concealed Explosives and Weapons   (NMAB)
Released 2007-03-06

The security of the U.S. commercial aviation system has been a growing concern since the 1970's when the hijacking of aircraft became a serious problem. Over that period, federal aviation officials have been searching for more effective ways for non-invasive screening of passengers, luggage, and cargo to detect concealed explosives and weapons. To assist in this effort, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) asked the NRC for a study of emerging screening technologies. This report--the third of four--focuses on currently maturing millimeter-wavelength/terahertz imaging and spectroscopy technologies that offer promise in meeting aviation security requirements. The report provides a description of the basic operation of these imaging systems, an assessment of their component technologies, an analysis of various system concepts, and an implementation strategy for deployment of millimeter-wavelength/terahertz technology screening systems.

Exploring Organic Environments in the Solar System   (SSB,BCST)
Released 2007-02-09

The sources, distributions, and transformation of organic compounds in the solar system are active study areas as a means to provide information about the evolution of the solar system and the possibilities of life elsewhere in the universe. There are many organic synthesis processes, however, and ambiguity surrounds the relative effectiveness of these processes in explaining the distribution of organic compounds in the solar system. As a consequence, NASA directed the NRC to determine what processes account for the reduced carbon compounds found throughout the solar system and to examine how planetary exploration can advance understanding of this central issue. This report presents a discussion of the chemistry of carbon; an analysis of the formation, modification, and preservation of organic compounds in the solar system; and an assessment of research opportunities and strategies for enhancing our understanding of organic material in the solar system.

Assessment of the Continuing Operability of Chemical Agent Disposal Facilities and Equipment   (BAST)
Released 2007-02-08

The U.S. Army’s Chemical Materials Agency (CMA) currently oversees contracts for the operation of chemical agent stockpile incineration facilities at four disposal sites. Because the period of time required to dispose of these chemical agents has grown beyond that originally planned, the Army is becoming concerned about the possibility of growing operational problems as the processing equipment ages. To help address these concerns, the CMA requested the NRC to assess whether current policies and practices will be able to adequately anticipate and address facility obsolescence issues. This report presents a review of potential infrastructure and equipment weaknesses given that the facilities are being operated well beyond their original design lifetime; an assessment of the Army’s current and evolving obsolescence management programs; and offers recommendations about how the programs may be improved and strengthened to permit safe and expeditious completion of agent stockpile destruction and facility closure.

Interim Report on Methodological Improvements to the Department of Homeland Security's Biological Agent Risk Analysis   (BMSTA,BMSA)
Released 2007-02-05

In 2004, the President issued a homeland security directive focusing on defense against biological weapons. This directive, along with the National Strategy for Homeland Security published in 2002, mandated assessments of the biological weapons threat to the nation and assigned responsibility for those assessments to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). To assist in this project, DHS asked the NRC to carry out a study of the methodology used by the agency to prepare its first bioterrorism risk assessment. This interim report provides a preliminary examination of that methodology along with recommendations for near-term guidance and direction for the further development of its risk analysis models. A final report will address longer-term issues in the development of risk assessment capabilities for DHS.

Green SchoolsAttributes for Health and Learning   (BICE)
Released 2007-01-25

Evidence has accumulated that shows that the quality of indoor environments can affect the health and productivity of adults and children. One consequence is that a movement has emerged to promote the design of schools that have fewer adverse environmental effects. To examine the potential of such design for improving education, several private organizations asked the NRC to review and assess the health and productivity benefits of green schools. This report provides an analysis of the complexity of making such a determination; and an assessment of the potential human health and performance benefits of improvements in the building envelope, indoor air quality, lighting, and acoustical quality. The report also presents an assessment of the overall building condition and student achievement, and offers an analysis of and recommendations for planning and maintaining green schools including research considerations.

Review of the Space Communications Program of NASA's Space Operations Mission Directorate   (ASEB)
Released 2007-01-16

The Space Communications Office (SCO) at NASA has two primary roles. The first is to manage two of the communications networks that enable spaceflight operations and research, and the second is to integrate agency-wide telecommunications issues. In 2005, NASA asked the NRC to review the effectiveness of the SCO in carrying out its responsibilities by assessing the overall quality of the space communications program. This report presents a review of each of the program elements within the SCO—the space network, NASA’s integrated space network (NISN), spectrum management, standards management, search and rescue, communications and navigation architecture, technology, and operations integration. The review focuses on formulation of plans for each element, plan development methodology, connections with the broader community, and overall capabilities. Recommendations for improving SCO operations and organization are provided.

Letter Report: Review and Assessment of Industrial Hygiene Standards and Practices at Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility   (BAST)
Released 2007-01-08

As part of its continuing efforts to destroy the nation’s stockpile of chemical weapons, the U.S. Army Materiel Command conducted a Surety Management Review (SMR) that evaluated the Industrial Hygiene (IH) program at the Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (TOCDF). The IH program at TOCDF was given a rating of "Mission Capable with Limitations." In order to obtain an independent assessment, the Chemical Materials Agency requested the National Research Council (NRC) to review and assess the IH Standards and Practices at TOCDF as they relate to the SMR. This letter report presents an analysis of the SRM findings; an overview of the TOCDF IH Program; a comparison of the performance at TOCDF and specification standards; and recommendations for improving both the IH program and its review.