|Making Sense of Ballistic Missile DefenseAn Assessment of Concepts and Systems for U.S. Boost-Phase Missile Defense in Comparison to Other Alternatives
The Committee on an Assessment of Concepts and Systems for U.S. Boost-Phase Missile Defense in Comparison to Other Alternatives set forth to provide an assessment of the feasibility, practicality, and affordability of U.S. boost-phase missile defense compared with that of the U.S. non-boost missile defense when countering short-, medium-, and intermediate-range ballistic missile threats from rogue states to deployed forces of the United States and its allies and defending the territory of the United States against limited ballistic missile attack.
To provide a context for this analysis of present and proposed U.S. boost-phase and non-boost missile defense concepts and systems, the committee considered the following to be the missions for ballistic missile defense (BMD): protecting of the U.S. homeland against nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction (WMD); or conventional ballistic missile attacks; protection of U.S. forces, including military bases, logistics, command and control facilities, and deployed forces, including military bases, logistics, and command and control facilities. They also considered deployed forces themselves in theaters of operation against ballistic missile attacks armed with WMD or conventional munitions, and protection of U.S. allies, partners, and host nations against ballistic-missile-delivered WMD and conventional weapons.
Consistent with U.S. policy and the congressional tasking, the committee conducted its analysis on the basis that it is not a mission of U.S. BMD systems to defend against large-scale deliberate nuclear attacks by Russia or China. Making Sense of Ballistic Missile Defense: An Assessment of Concepts and Systems for U.S. Boost-Phase Missile Defense in Comparison to Other Alternatives suggests that great care should be taken by the U.S. in ensuring that negotiations on space agreements not adversely impact missile defense effectiveness. This report also explains in further detail the findings of the committee, makes recommendations, and sets guidelines for the future of ballistic missile defense research.
|Sustainable Development of Algal Biofuels in the United States
Biofuels made from algae are gaining attention as a domestic source of renewable fuel. However, with current technologies, scaling up production of algal biofuels to meet even 5 percent of U.S. transportation fuel needs could create unsustainable demands for energy, water, and nutrient resources. Continued research and development could yield innovations to address these challenges, but determining if algal biofuel is a viable fuel alternative will involve comparing the environmental, economic and social impacts of algal biofuel production and use to those associated with petroleum-based fuels and other fuel sources. Sustainable Development of Algal Biofuels was produced at the request of the U.S. Department of Energy.
|Aging and the MacroeconomyLong-Term Implications of an Older Population
The United States is in the midst of a major demographic shift. In the coming decades, people aged 65 and over will make up an increasingly large percentage of the population: The ratio of people aged 65+ to people aged 20-64 will rise by 80%. This shift is happening for two reasons: people are living longer, and many couples are choosing to have fewer children and to have those children somewhat later in life. The resulting demographic shift will present the nation with economic challenges, both to absorb the costs and to leverage the benefits of an aging population.
Aging and the Macroeconomy: Long-Term Implications of an Older Population presents the fundamental factors driving the aging of the U.S. population, as well as its societal implications and likely long-term macroeconomic effects in a global context. The report finds that, while population aging does not pose an insurmountable challenge to the nation, it is imperative that sensible policies are implemented soon to allow companies and households to respond. It offers four practical approaches for preparing resources to support the future consumption of households and for adapting to the new economic landscape.
|Reusable Booster SystemReview and Assessment
On June 15, 2011, the Air Force Space Command established a new vision, mission, and set of goals to ensure continued U.S. dominance in space and cyberspace mission areas. Subsequently, and in coordination with the Air Force Research Laboratory, the Space and Missile Systems Center, and the 14th and 24th Air Forces, the Air Force Space Command identified four long-term science and technology (S&T) challenges critical to meeting these goals. One of these challenges is to provide full-spectrum launch capability at dramatically lower cost, and a reusable booster system (RBS) has been proposed as an approach to meet this challenge.
The Air Force Space Command asked the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board of the National Research Council to conduct an independent review and assessment of the RBS concept prior to considering a continuation of RBS-related activities within the Air Force Research Laboratory portfolio and before initiating a more extensive RBS development program. The committee for the Reusable Booster System: Review and Assessment was formed in response to that request and charged with reviewing and assessing the criteria and assumptions used in the current RBS plans, the cost model methodologies used to fame [frame?] the RBS business case, and the technical maturity and development plans of key elements critical to RBS implementation.
The committee consisted of experts not connected with current RBS activities who have significant expertise in launch vehicle design and operation, research and technology development and implementation, space system operations, and cost analysis. The committee solicited and received input on the Air Force launch requirements, the baseline RBS concept, cost models and assessment, and technology readiness. The committee also received input from industry associated with RBS concept, industry independent of the RBS concept, and propulsion system providers which is summarized in Reusable Booster System: Review and Assessment.
|Human Performance ModificationReview of Worldwide Research with a View to the Future
The development of technologies to modify natural human physical and cognitive performance is one of increasing interest and concern, especially among military services that may be called on to defeat foreign powers with enhanced warfighter capabilities. Human performance modification (HPM) is a general term that can encompass actions ranging from the use of "natural" materials, such as caffeine or khat as a stimulant, to the application of nanotechnology as a drug delivery mechanism or in an invasive brain implant. Although the literature on HPM typically addresses methods that enhance performance, another possible focus is methods that degrade performance or negatively affect a military force's ability to fight.
Advances in medicine, biology, electronics, and computation have enabled an increasingly sophisticated ability to modify the human body, and such innovations will undoubtedly be adopted by military forces, with potential consequences for both sides of the battle lines. Although some innovations may be developed for purely military applications, they are increasingly unlikely to remain exclusively in that sphere because of the globalization and internationalization of the commercial research base.
Based on its review of the literature, the presentations it received and on its own expertise, the Committee on Assessing Foreign Technology Development in Human Performance Modification chose to focus on three general areas of HPM: human cognitive modification as a computational problem, human performance modification as a biological problem, and human performance modification as a function of the brain-computer interface. Human Performance Modification: Review of Worldwide Research with a View to the Future summarizes these findings.
|The Effects of Solar Variability on Earth's ClimateA Workshop Report
On September 8-9, 2011, experts in solar physics, climate models, paleoclimatology, and atmospheric science assembled at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado for a workshop to consider the Sun's variability over time and potential Sun-climate connections.While it does not provide findings, recommendations, or consensus on the current state of the science, The Effects of Solar Variability on Earth's Climate: A Workshop Report briefly introduces the primary topics discussed by presenters at the event. As context for these topics, the summary includes background information on the potential Sun-climate connection, the measurement record from space, and potential perturbations of climate due to long-term solar variability. This workshop report also summarizes some of the science questions explored by the participants as potential future research endeavors.
|Systems Integration for Project ConstellationLetter Report
With the announcement of the Vision for U.S. Space Exploration, NASA has formed a new Exploration Systems Enterprise charged with development of systems to be used in the exploration of the moon, Mars, and other destinations. A key component of that enterprise is Project Constellation which is responsible for all of the systems necessary for human exploration. It is essential that those systems be integrated effectively for the mission to succeed. To assist with this objective, NASA asked the NRC to assess the relative merits of seven approaches for systems integration. This letter report presents this assessment. It provides a list of 21 criteria for judging the capability of each of the approaches to succeed in this complex integration task, and ratings of how well each can fulfill those criteria
|Capability Planning and Analysis to Optimize Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Investments
Intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities have expanded situation awareness for U.S. forces, provided for more precise combat effects, and enabled better decision making both during conflicts and in peacetime, and reliance on ISR capabilities is expected to increase in the future. ISR capabilities are critical to 3 of the 12 Service Core Functions of the U.S. Air Force: namely, Global Integrated ISR (GIISR) and the ISR components of Cyberspace Superiority and Space Superiority, and contribute to all others.
In response to a request from the Air Force for ISR and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Science, Technology, and Engineering, the National Research Council formed the Committee on Examination of the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Capability Planning and Analysis (CP&A) Process. In this report, the committee reviews the current approach to the Air Force corporate planning and programming process for ISR capability generation; examines carious analytical methods, processes, and models for large-scale, complex domains like ISR; and identifies the best practices for the Air Force.
In Capability Planning and Analysis to Optimize Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Investments, the current approach is analyzed and the best practices for the Air Force corporate planning and programming processed for ISR are recommended. This report also recommends improvements and changes to existing analytical tools, methods, roles and responsibilities, and organization and management that would be required to ensure the Air Force corporate planning and programming process for ISR is successful in addressing all Joint, National, and Coalition partner's needs.
|Summary of a Workshop on the Future of Antennas
The Workshop on the Future of Antennas was the second of three workshops conducted by the National Research Council's Committee for Science and Technology Challenges to U.S. National Security Interests. The objectives of the workshop were to review trends in advanced antenna research and design, review trends in commercials and military use of advanced antennas that enable improved communication, data transfer, soldier health monitoring, and other overt and covert methods of standoff data collection.
The first day's sessions, consisting of five presentations and discussions on antennas and wireless communications and control, were open to committee members, staff, guests, and members of the public. The second day was a data-gathering session addressing vulnerabilities, indicators, and observables; presentations and discussions during this session included classified material and were not open to the public.
The committee's role was limited to planning and convening the workshop. This report is organized by topic in the order of presentation and discussion at the workshop. For Day 1 the topics were Future of Antennas, Commercial State of the Art of Wireless Communications and Control, Military State of the Art of Wireless Communications and Control, and Future Trends in Antenna Design and Wireless Communications and Control. For Day 2 the topics were Vulnerabilities of Ubiquitous Antennas, and Indicators and Observables, followed by a wrap-up discussion. Summary of a Workshop on the Future of Antennas describes what happened at the workshop.
|Big DataA Workshop Report
In 2012, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) approached the National Research Council's TIGER standing committee and asked it to develop a list of workshop topics to explore the impact of emerging science and technology. From the list of topics given to DIA, three were chosen to be developed by the Committee for Science and Technology Challenges to U.S. National Security Interests. The first in a series of three workshops was held on April 23-24, 2012. This report summarizes that first workshop which explored the phenomenon known as big data.
The objective for the first workshop is given in the statement of task, which explains that that workshop will review emerging capabilities in large computational data to include speed, data fusion, use, and commodification of data used in decision making. The workshop will also review the subsequent increase in vulnerabilities over the capabilities gained and the significance to national security. The committee devised an agenda that helped the committee, sponsors, and workshop attendees probe issues of national security related to so-called big data, as well as gain understanding of potential related vulnerabilities. The workshop was used to gather data that is described in this report, which presents views expressed by individual workshop participants.
Big Data: A Workshop Report is the first in a series of three workshops, held in early 2012 to further the ongoing engagement among the National Research Council's (NRC's) Technology Insight-Gauge, Evaluate, and Review (TIGER) Standing Committee, the scientific and technical intelligence (S&TI) community, and the consumers of S&TI products.
|Assuring the U.S. Department of Defense a Strong Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workforce
The ability of the nation's military to prevail during future conflicts, and to fulfill its humanitarian and other missions, depends on continued advances in the nation's technology base. A workforce with robust Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) capabilities is critical to sustaining U.S. preeminence. Today, however, the STEM activities of the Department of Defense (DOD) are a small and diminishing part of the nation's overall science and engineering enterprise.
Assuring the U.S. Department of Defense a Strong Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workforce presents five principal recommendations for attracting, retaining, and managing highly qualified STEM talent within the department based on an examination of the current STEM workforce of DOD and the defense industrial base. As outlined in the report, DOD should focus its investments to ensure that STEM competencies in all potentially critical, emerging topical areas are maintained at least at a basic level within the department and its industrial and university bases.
|Terrorism and the Electric Power Delivery System
The electric power delivery system that carries electricity from large central generators to customers could be severely damaged by a small number of well-informed attackers. The system is inherently vulnerable because transmission lines may span hundreds of miles, and many key facilities are unguarded. This vulnerability is exacerbated by the fact that the power grid, most of which was originally designed to meet the needs of individual vertically integrated utilities, is being used to move power between regions to support the needs of competitive markets for power generation. Primarily because of ambiguities introduced as a result of recent restricting the of the industry and cost pressures from consumers and regulators, investment to strengthen and upgrade the grid has lagged, with the result that many parts of the bulk high-voltage system are heavily stressed.
Electric systems are not designed to withstand or quickly recover from damage inflicted simultaneously on multiple components. Such an attack could be carried out by knowledgeable attackers with little risk of detection or interdiction. Further well-planned and coordinated attacks by terrorists could leave the electric power system in a large region of the country at least partially disabled for a very long time. Although there are many examples of terrorist and military attacks on power systems elsewhere in the world, at the time of this study international terrorists have shown limited interest in attacking the U.S. power grid. However, that should not be a basis for complacency. Because all parts of the economy, as well as human health and welfare, depend on electricity, the results could be devastating.
Terrorism and the Electric Power Delivery System focuses on measures that could make the power delivery system less vulnerable to attacks, restore power faster after an attack, and make critical services less vulnerable while the delivery of conventional electric power has been disrupted.
|Disposal Options for the Rocket Motors From Nerve Agent Rockets Stored at Blue Grass Army Depot
The Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP) is under construction near Richmond, Kentucky, two dispose of one of the two remaining stockpiles of chemical munitions in the United States. The stockpile that BGCAPP will dispose of is stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot (BGAD). BGCAPP is a tenant activity on BGAD.
The stockpile stored at BGAD consists of mustard agent loaded in projectiles, and the nerve agents GB and VX loaded into projectiles and M55 rockets. BGCAPP will process the rockets by cutting them, still in their shipping and firing tube (SFT), between the warhead and motor sections of the rocket. The warhead will be processed through BGCAPP. The separated rocket motors that have been monitored for chemical agent and cleared for transportation outside of BGCAPP, the subject of this report, will be disposed of outside of BGCAPP. Any motors found to be contaminated with chemical agent will be processed through BGCAPP and are not addressed in this report.
Disposal Options for the Rocket Motors From Nerve Agent Rockets Stored at Blue Grass Army Depot addresses safety in handling the separated rocket motors with special attention to the electrical ignition system, the need for adequate storage space for the motors in order to maintain the planned disposal rate at BGCAPP, thermal and chemical disposal technologies, and on-site and off-site disposal options. On-site is defined as disposal on BGAD, and off-site is defined as disposal by a commercial or government facility outside of BGAD.
|Best Practices in Assessment of Research and Development Organizations
Research and development (R&D) organizations are operated by government, business, academe, and independent institutes. The success of their parent organizations is closely tied to the success of these R&D organizations. In this report, organizations refers to an organization that performs research and/or development activities (often a laboratory), and parent refers to the superordinate organization of which the R&D organization is a part. When the organization under discussion is formally labeled a laboratory, it is referred to as such. The question arises: How does one know whether an organization and its programs are achieving excellence in the best interests of its parent? Does the organization have an appropriate research staff, facilities, and equipment? Is it doing the right things at high levels of quality, relevance, and timeliness? Does it lead to successful new concepts, products, or processes that support the interests of its parent?
This report offers assessment guidelines for senior management of organizations and of their parents. The report lists the major principles of assessment, noting that details will vary from one organization to another. It provides sufficient information to inform the design of assessments, but it does not prescribe precisely how to perform them, because different techniques are needed for different types of organizations.
Best Practices in Assessment of Research and Development Organizations covers three key factors that underpin the success of an R&D organization: (1) the mission of the organization and its alignment with that of the parents; (2) the relevance and impact of the organization's work; and (3) the resources provided to the organization, beginning with a high-quality staff and management.
|A Review of the Manufacturing-Related Programs at the National Institute of Standards and TechnologyFiscal Year 2012
The mission of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) enables NIST to provide broad support for the advancement of U.S. manufacturing. Research and services supporting manufacturing are intended to be an important component in all of the NIST laboratories. Moreover, since manufacturing is a major part of the U.S. economy, the growth or loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs is a very important issue. Clearly, the successful execution of NIST's programs supporting manufacturing will have a significant impact on manufacturing jobs in the United States. With the multidisciplinary, multisector, and crosscutting nature of manufacturing, the Director of NIST requested that the National Research Council (NRC) assess the manufacturing-related programs at NIST in 2012.
Accordingly, a panel of experts was convened by the National Research Council to perform the assessment. The Panel on review of the Manufacturing-Related Programs at the national Institute of Standards and Technology visited the NIST campus in Gaithersburg, Maryland, on March 26-28, 2012. A Review of the Manufacturing-related Programs at the National Institute of Standards and Technology: Fiscal Year 2012 contains the results of the panel's assessment.
The assessment considered manufacturing research at NIST broadly, with emphasis on the specific advanced manufacturing areas: Nanomanufacturing (including Flexible Electronics); Smart Manufacturing (including Robotics); and Next-Generation Materials Measurements, Modeling, and Simulation. The area of Biomanufacturing also reviewed as a subset of the Nanomanufacturing review. As is to be expected for programs covering such wide scope, the boundaries among these broad areas are not rigid and there is some overlap among them. On the basis of its assessment, the panel formed the observations and recommendations which are detailed in this report.
|Best Practices in Assessment of Research and Development OrganizationsSummary of a Workshop
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)--recognizing that information and insights gained through continual examination of practices for organizational assessment are useful for decision makers at organizations across the deferral, industrial, academic, and national laboratory sectors-recently requested that the National Research Council (NRC) organize a panel to review best practices in assessment of research and development (R&D) organizations. In response, the NRC established the Panel for Review of Best Practices in Assessment of Research and Development Organizations.
The panel was charged to consider means of assessing the following in a manner that satisfies the requirements of NIST to perform effective assessments but also identifies assessment methods that can be applied selectively to other R&D organizations. These methods include: technical merit and quality of the science and engineering work, the adequacy of the resources available to support high-quality work, the effectiveness of the agency's delivery of the services and products required to fulfill its goals, the degree to which the agency's current and planned R&D portfolio supports its mission, as well as the agency's flexibility to respond to changing economic, political, social and technological contexts.
As one means of data gathering, among others that the panel is performing toward development of a final report of its findings, the panel organized a planning committee for a workshop on best practices in assessment of R&D organizations. Best Practices in Assessment of Research and Development Organizations: Summary of a Workshop reviews the workshop conducted at the Keck Center of the National Academies in Washington, D.C., on March 19, 2012.
|Sustainability Considerations for Procurement Tools and CapabilitiesSummary of a Workshop
Federal laws, regulations, and executive orders have imposed requirements for federal agencies to move toward the sustainable acquisition of goods and services, including the incorporation of sustainable purchasing into federal agency decision making. Since the federal government is such a significant player in the market, its move to incorporate sustainable procurement practices could have a profound impact on the types of products being developed for the market as a whole.
The General Services Administration (GSA) has played a key role in furthering sustainable procurement practices throughout the federal government. GSA is responsible for formulating and maintaining government-wide policies covering a variety of administrative actions, including those related to procurement and management. GSA has several ongoing activities related to sustainable procurement to assess the feasibility of working with the federal supplier community - vendors and contractors that serve federal agencies to measure and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the supply chain while encouraging sustainable operations among suppliers. GSA has also been actively developing programs to assist federal agencies in making sustainable procurement decisions. As federal agencies cannot directly fund the development of sustainable procurement tools, they are particularly interested in understanding how to foster innovation and provide incentives for collaboration between developers and users of tools for sustainable purchasing throughout the supply chain. The training of procurement professionals is also a priority for these agencies.
To assist efforts to build sustainability considerations into the procurement process, the National Research Council appointed a committee to organize a two-day workshop that explored ways to better incorporate sustainability considerations into procurement tools and capabilities across the public and private sectors. The workshop was designed to help participants assess the current landscape of green purchasing tools, identify emerging needs for enhanced or new tools and opportunities to develop them, identify potential barriers to progress, and explore potential solutions. The workshop provided an opportunity for participants to discuss challenges related to sustainable purchasing and to developing new procurement tools. Sustainability Considerations for Procurement Tools and Capabilities reviews the presenters' recommendations and tools currently used in sustainable procurement, such as databases for ecolabels and standards, codes, or regulations and other nontechnological tools such as policies, frameworks, rating systems, and product indexes.
|Assessment of Agent Monitoring Strategies for the Blue Grass and Pueblo Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plants
January 2012 saw the completion of the U.S. Army's Chemical Materials Agency's (CMA's) task to destroy 90 percent of the nation's stockpile of chemical weapons. CMA completed destruction of the chemical agents and associated weapons deployed overseas, which were transported to Johnston Atoll, southwest of Hawaii, and demilitarized there. The remaining 10 percent of the nation's chemical weapons stockpile is stored at two continental U.S. depots, in Lexington, Kentucky, and Pueblo, Colorado. Their destruction has been assigned to a separate U.S. Army organization, the Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (ACWA) Element.
ACWA is currently constructing the last two chemical weapons disposal facilities, the Pueblo and Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plants (denoted PCAPP and BGCAPP), with weapons destruction activities scheduled to start in 2015 and 2020, respectively. ACWA is charged with destroying the mustard agent stockpile at Pueblo and the nerve and mustard agent stockpile at Blue Grass without using the multiple incinerators and furnaces used at the five CMA demilitarization plants that dealt with assembled chemical weapons - munitions containing both chemical agents and explosive/propulsive components. The two ACWA demilitarization facilities are congressionally mandated to employ noncombustion-based chemical neutralization processes to destroy chemical agents.
In order to safely operate its disposal plants, CMA developed methods and procedures to monitor chemical agent contamination of both secondary waste materials and plant structural components. ACWA currently plans to adopt these methods and procedures for use at these facilities. The Assessment of Agent Monitoring Strategies for the Blue Grass and Pueblo Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plants report also develops and describes a half-dozen scenarios involving prospective ACWA secondary waste characterization, process equipment maintenance and changeover activities, and closure agent decontamination challenges, where direct, real-time agent contamination measurements on surfaces or in porous bulk materials might allow more efficient and possibly safer operations if suitable analytical technology is available and affordable.
|Continuing Kepler's QuestAssessing Air Force Space Command's Astrodynamics Standards
In February 2009, the commercial communications satellite Iridium 33 collided with the Russian military communications satellite Cosmos 2251. The collision, which was not the first recorded between two satellites in orbit--but the most recent and alarming--produced thousands of pieces of debris, only a small percentage of which could be tracked by sensors located around the world. In early 2007, China tested a kinetic anti-satellite weapon against one of its own satellites, which also generated substantial amounts of space debris. These collisions highlighted the importance of maintaining accurate knowledge, and the associated uncertainty, of the orbit of each object in space. These data are needed to predict close approaches of space objects and to compute the probability of collision so that owners/operators can decide whether or not to make a collision avoidance maneuver by a spacecraft with such capability. The space object catalog currently contains more than 20,000 objects, and when the planned space fence radar becomes operational this number is expected to exceed 100,000.
A key task is to determine if objects might come closer to each other, an event known as "conjunction," and the probability that they might collide. The U.S. Air Force is the primary U.S. government organization tasked with maintaining the space object catalog and data on all space objects. This is a complicated task, involving collecting data from a multitude of different sensors-many of which were not specifically designed to track orbiting objects-and fusing the tracking data along with other data, such as data from atmospheric models, to provide predictions of where objects will be in the future.
The Committee for the Assessment of the U.S. Air Force's Astrodynamic Standards collected data and heard from numerous people involved in developing and maintaining the current astrodynamics standards for the Air Force Space Command (AFSPC), as well as representatives of the user community, such as NASA and commercial satellite owners and operators. Preventing collisions of space objects, regardless of their ownership, is in the national security interested of the United States. Continuing Kepler's Quest makes recommendations to the AFSPC in order for it to create and expand research programs, design and develop hardware and software, as well as determine which organizations to work with to achieve its goals.
|An Interim Report on Assuring DoD a Strong Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workforce
An Interim Report on Assuring DoD a Strong Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workforce is a report on the science, technology, mathematics, and engineering (STEM) workforce of the Department of Defense (DOD) and the U.S. defense industrial base is part of an 18-month study to assess the STEM capabilities that the DOD will need in order to meet its goals, objectives, and priorities. This study also assesses whether the current DOD workforce and strategy will meet those needs; and indentifies and evaluates options and recommends strategies that the department could use to help meet its future STEM needs. This study was undertaken by the National Academy of Engineering and the National Research Council.
This report was issued for the purpose of assisting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering with its fiscal year 2012 planning process and with laying the groundwork for future years. Earlier in the project, the Committee on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Workforce Needs for the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Defense Industrial Base convened a workshop on August 1 and 2, 2011, in Rosslyn, Virginia. This workshop met for the purpose of gathering a broad range of views from the public sector and the private sector. This includes major defense contractors, and from nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), all of which are stakeholders in the future STEM workforce. At the conclusion of this study, a final report will be released.
|Remediation of Buried Chemical Warfare Materiel
As the result of disposal practices from the early to mid-twentieth century, approximately 250 sites in 40 states, the District of Columbia, and 3 territories are known or suspected to have buried chemical warfare materiel (CWM). Much of this CWM is likely to occur in the form of small finds that necessitate the continuation of the Army's capability to transport treatment systems to disposal locations for destruction. Of greatest concern for the future are sites in residential areas and large sites on legacy military installations.
The Army mission regarding the remediation of recovered chemical warfare materiel (RCWM) is turning into a program much larger than the existing munition and hazardous substance cleanup programs. The Army asked the Nation Research Council (NRC) to examine this evolving mission in part because this change is significant and becoming even more prominent as the stockpile destruction is nearing completion. One focus in this report is the current and future status of the Non-Stockpile Chemical Material Project (NSCMP), which now plays a central role in the remediation of recovered chemical warfare materiel and which reports to the Chemical Materials Agency.
Remediation of Buried Chemical Warfare Materiel also reviews current supporting technologies for cleanup of CWM sites and surveys organizations involved with remediation of suspected CWM disposal sites to determine current practices and coordination. In this report, potential deficiencies in operational areas based on the review of current supporting technologies for cleanup of CWM sites and develop options for targeted research and development efforts to mitigate potential problem areas are identified.
|Earth Science and Applications from SpaceA Midterm Assessment of NASA's Implementation of the Decadal Survey
Understanding the effects of natural and human-induced changes on the global environment and their implications requires a foundation of integrated observations of land, sea, air and space, on which to build credible information products, forecast models, and other tools for making informed decisions.
The 2007 National Research Council report on decadal survey called for a renewal of the national commitment to a program of Earth observations in which attention to securing practical benefits for humankind plays an equal role with the quest to acquire new knowledge about the Earth system. NASA responded favorably and aggressively to this survey, embracing its overall recommendations for Earth observations, missions, technology investments, and priorities for the underlying science. As a result, the science and applications communities have made significant progress over the past 5 years.
However, the Committee on Assessment of NASA's Earth Science Program found that the survey vision is being realized at a far slower pace than was recommended, principally because the required budget was not achieved. Exacerbating the budget shortfalls, NASA Earth science programs experienced launch failures and delays and the cost of implementing missions increased substantially as a result of changes in mission scope, increases in launch vehicle costs and/or the lack of availability of a medium-class launch vehicle, under-estimation of costs by the decadal survey, and unfunded programmatic changes that were required by Congress and the Office of Management and Budget. In addition, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has made significant reductions in scope to its future Earth environmental observing satellites as it contends with budget shortfalls.
Earth Science and Applications from Space: A Midterm Assessment of NASA's Implementation of the Decadal Survey recommends a number of steps to better manage existing programs and to implement future programs that will be recommended by the next decadal survey. The report also highlights the urgent need for the Executive Branch to develop and implement an overarching multiagency national strategy for Earth observations from space, a key recommendation of the 2007 decadal survey that remains unfulfilled.
|Continuing Innovation in Information Technology
Information technology (IT) is widely understood to be the enabling technology of the 21st century. IT has transformed, and continues to transform, all aspects of our lives: commerce and finance, education, employment, energy, health care, manufacturing, government, national security, transportation, communications, entertainment, science, and engineering. IT and its impact on the U.S. economy-both directly (the IT sector itself) and indirectly (other sectors that are powered by advances in IT)--continue to grow in size and importance.
In 1995, the National Research Council's Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB) produced the report Evolving the High Performance Computing and Communications Initiative to Support the Nation's Information Infrastructure. A graphic in that report, often called the "tire tracks" diagram because of its appearance, produced an extraordinary response by clearly linking government investments in academic and industry research to the ultimate creation of new information technology industries with more than $1 billion in annual revenue.
Used in presentations to Congress and executive branch decision makers and discussed broadly in the research and innovation policy communities, the tire tracks figure dispelled the assumption that the commercially successful IT industry is self-sufficient, underscoring through long incubation periods of years and even decades. The figure was updated in 2002, 2003, and 2009 reports produced by the CSTB. With the support of the National Science Foundation, CSTB updated the tire tracks figure. Continuing Innovation in Information Technology includes the updated figure and a brief text based in large part on prior CSTB reports.
|Research for a Future in SpaceThe Role of Life and Physical Sciences
During its more than 50-year history, NASA's success in human space exploration has depended on the agency's ability to effectively address a wide range of biomedical, engineering, physical sciences, and related obstacles. This achievement is made possible by NASA's strong and productive commitments to life and physical sciences research for human space exploration, and by its use of human space exploration infrastructures for scientific discovery.
Research for a Future in Space: The Role of Life and Physical Sciences explains how unique characteristics of the space environment can be used to address complex problems in the life and physical sciences. This booklet also helps deliver both new knowledge and practical benefits for humankind as it embarks on a new era of space exploration.
Research for a Future in Space: The Role of Life and Physical Sciences is based on the in depth report, Recapturing a Future for Space Exploration: Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era. To learn more about the future of space exploration, visit our catalog page and download this report for free.
|Assessment of Planetary Protection Requirements for Spacecraft Missions to Icy Solar System Bodies
NASA's exploration of planets and satellites during the past 50 years has led to the discovery of traces of water ice throughout the solar system and prospects for large liquid water reservoirs beneath the frozen ICE shells of multiple satellites of the giant planets of the outer solar system. During the coming decades, NASA and other space agencies will send flybys, orbiters, subsurface probes, and, possibly, landers to these distant worlds in order to explore their geologic and chemical context. Because of their potential to harbor alien life, NASA will select missions that target the most habitable outer solar system objects. This strategy poses formidable challenges for mission planners who must balance the opportunity for exploration with the risk of contamination by Earth's microbes, which could confuse the interpretation of data obtained from these objects.
The 2000 NRC report Preventing the Forward Contamination of Europa provided a criterion that was adopted with prior recommendations from the Committee on Space Research of the International Council for Science. This current NRC report revisits and extends the findings and recommendations of the 2000 Europa report in light of recent advances in planetary and life sciences and, among other tasks, assesses the risk of contamination of icy bodies in the solar system.
|Improving the Decision Making Abilities of Small Unit Leaders
For the past decade, the U.S. Marine Corps and its sister services have been engaged in what has been termed "hybrid warfare," which ranges from active combat to civilian support. Hybrid warfare typically occurs in environments where all modes of war are employed, such as conventional weapons, irregular tactics, terrorism, disruptive technologies, and criminality to destabilize an existing order.
In August 2010, the National Research Council established the Committee on Improving the Decision Making Abilities of Small Unit Leaders to produce Improving the Decision Making Abilities of Small Unit Leaders. This report examines the operational environment, existing abilities, and gap to include data, technology, skill sets, training, and measures of effectiveness for small unit leaders in conducting enhanced company operations (ECOs) in hybrid engagement, complex environments. Improving the Decision Making Abilities of Small Unit Leaders also determines how to understand the decision making calculus and indicators of adversaries.
Improving the Decision Making Abilities of Small Unit Leaders recommends operational and technical approaches for improving the decision making abilities of small unit leaders, including any acquisition and experimentation efforts that can be undertaken by the Marine Corps and/or by other stakeholders aimed specifically at improving the decision making of small unit leaders. This report recommends ways to ease the burden on small unit leaders and to better prepare the small unit leader for success. Improving the Decision Making Abilities of Small Unit Leaders also indentifies a responsible organization to ensure that training and education programs are properly developed, staffed, operated, evaluated, and expanded.
|Computing Research for Sustainability
A broad and growing literature describes the deep and multidisciplinary nature of the sustainability challenges faced by the United States and the world. Despite the profound technical challenges involved, sustainability is not, at its root, a technical problem, nor will merely technical solutions be sufficient. Instead, deep economic, political, and cultural adjustments will ultimately be required, along with a major, long-term commitment in each sphere to deploy the requisite technical solutions at scale.
Nevertheless, technological advances and enablers have a clear role in supporting such change, and information technology (IT) is a natural bridge between technical and social solutions because it can offer improved communication and transparency for fostering the necessary economic, political, and cultural adjustments. Moreover, IT is at the heart of nearly every large-scale socioeconomic system-including systems for finance, manufacturing, and the generation and distribution of energy-and so sustainability-focused changes in those systems are inextricably linked with advances in IT.
The focus of Computing Research for Sustainability is "greening through IT," the application of computing to promote sustainability broadly. The aim of this report is twofold: to shine a spotlight on areas where IT innovation and computer science (CS) research can help, and to urge the computing research community to bring its approaches and methodologies to bear on these pressing global challenges. Computing Research for Sustainability focuses on addressing medium- and long-term challenges in a way that would have significant, measurable impact. The findings and recommended principles of the Committee on Computing Research for Environmental and Societal Sustainability concern four areas: (1) the relevance of IT and CS to sustainability; (2) the value of the CS approach to problem solving, particularly as it pertains to sustainability challenges; (3) key CS research areas; and (4) strategy and pragmatic approaches for CS research on sustainability.
|Fueling Innovation and DiscoveryThe Mathematical Sciences in the 21st Century
The mathematical sciences are part of everyday life. Modern communication, transportation, science, engineering, technology, medicine, manufacturing, security, and finance all depend on the mathematical sciences. Fueling Innovation and Discovery describes recent advances in the mathematical sciences and advances enabled by mathematical sciences research. It is geared toward general readers who would like to know more about ongoing advances in the mathematical sciences and how these advances are changing our understanding of the world, creating new technologies, and transforming industries.
Although the mathematical sciences are pervasive, they are often invoked without an explicit awareness of their presence. Prepared as part of the study on the Mathematical Sciences in 2025, a broad assessment of the current state of the mathematical sciences in the United States, Fueling Innovation and Discovery presents mathematical sciences advances in an engaging way. The report describes the contributions that mathematical sciences research has made to advance our understanding of the universe and the human genome. It also explores how the mathematical sciences are contributing to healthcare and national security, and the importance of mathematical knowledge and training to a range of industries, such as information technology and entertainment.
Fueling Innovation and Discovery will be of use to policy makers, researchers, business leaders, students, and others interested in learning more about the deep connections between the mathematical sciences and every other aspect of the modern world. To function well in a technologically advanced society, every educated person should be familiar with multiple aspects of the mathematical sciences.
|Recapturing NASA's Aeronautics Flight Research Capabilities
In the five decades since NASA was created, the agency has sustained its legacy from the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA) in playing a major role in U.S. aeronautics research and has contributed substantially to United States preeminence in civil and military aviation. This preeminence has contributed significantly to the overall economy and balance of trade of the United States through the sales of aircraft throughout the world. NASA's contributions have included advanced flight control systems, de-icing devices, thrust-vectoring systems, wing fuselage drag reduction configurations, aircraft noise reduction, advanced transonic airfoil and winglet designs, and flight systems. Each of these contributions was successfully demonstrated through NASA flight research programs. Equally important, the aircraft industry would not have adopted these and similar advances without NASA flight demonstration on full-scale aircraft flying in an environment identical to that which the aircraft are to operate-in other words, flight research.
Flight research is a tool, not a conclusion. It often informs simulation and modeling and wind tunnel testing. Aeronautics research does not follow a linear path from simulation to wind tunnels to flying an aircraft. The loss of flight research capabilities at NASA has therefore hindered the agency's ability to make progress throughout its aeronautics program by removing a primary tool for research.
Recapturing NASA's Aeronautics Flight Research Capabilities discusses the motivation for NASA to pursue flight research, addressing the aspects of the committee's task such as identifying the challenges where research program success can be achieved most effectively through flight research. The report contains three case studies chosen to illustrate the state of NASA ARMD. These include the ERA program and the Fundamental Research Program's hypersonics and supersonics projects. Following these case studies, the report describes issues with the NASA ARMD organization and management and offers solutions. In addition, the chapter discusses current impediments to progress, including demonstrating relevancy to stakeholders, leadership, and the lack of focus relative to available resources.
Recapturing NASA's Aeronautics Flight Research Capabilities concludes that the type and sophistication of flight research currently being conducted by NASA today is relatively low and that the agency's overall progress in aeronautics is severely constrained by its inability to actually advance its research projects to the flight research stage, a step that is vital to bridging the confidence gap. NASA has spent much effort protecting existing research projects conducted at low levels, but it has not been able to pursue most of these projects to the point where they actually produce anything useful. Without the ability to actually take flight, NASA's aeronautics research cannot progress, cannot make new discoveries, and cannot contribute to U.S. aerospace preeminence.
|Assessing the Reliability of Complex ModelsMathematical and Statistical Foundations of Verification, Validation, and Uncertainty Quantification
Advances in computing hardware and algorithms have dramatically improved the ability to simulate complex processes computationally. Today's simulation capabilities offer the prospect of addressing questions that in the past could be addressed only by resource-intensive experimentation, if at all. Assessing the Reliability of Complex Models recognizes the ubiquity of uncertainty in computational estimates of reality and the necessity for its quantification.
As computational science and engineering have matured, the process of quantifying or bounding uncertainties in a computational estimate of a physical quality of interest has evolved into a small set of interdependent tasks: verification, validation, and uncertainty of quantification (VVUQ). In recognition of the increasing importance of computational simulation and the increasing need to assess uncertainties in computational results, the National Research Council was asked to study the mathematical foundations of VVUQ and to recommend steps that will ultimately lead to improved processes.
Assessing the Reliability of Complex Models discusses changes in education of professionals and dissemination of information that should enhance the ability of future VVUQ practitioners to improve and properly apply VVUQ methodologies to difficult problems, enhance the ability of VVUQ customers to understand VVUQ results and use them to make informed decisions, and enhance the ability of all VVUQ stakeholders to communicate with each other. This report is an essential resource for all decision and policy makers in the field, students, stakeholders, UQ experts, and VVUQ educators and practitioners.
|Testing of Body Armor MaterialsPhase III
In 2009, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released the report Warfighter Support: Independent Expert Assessment of Army Body Armor Test Results and Procedures Needed Before Fielding, which commented on the conduct of the test procedures governing acceptance of body armor vest-plate inserts worn by military service members. This GAO report, as well as other observations, led the Department of Defense Director, Operational Test & Evaluation, to request that the National Research Council (NRC) Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences conduct a three-phase study to investigate issues related to the testing of body armor materials for use by the U.S. Army and other military departments. Phase I and II resulted in two NRC letter reports: one in 2009 and one in 2010. This report is Phase III in the study.
Testing of Body Armor Materials: Phase III provides a roadmap to reduce the variability of clay processes and shows how to migrate from clay to future solutions, as well as considers the use of statistics to permit a more scientific determination of sample sizes to be used in body armor testing. This report also develops ideas for revising or replacing the Prather study methodology, as well as reviews comments on methodologies and technical approaches to military helmet testing. Testing of Body Armor Materials: Phase III also considers the possibility of combining various national body armor testing standards.
|Review of the 21st Century Truck Partnership, Second Report
In July 2010, the National Research Council (NRC) appointed the Committee to Review the 21st Century Truck Partnership, Phase 2, to conduct an independent review of the 21st Century Truck Partnership (21CTP). The 21CTP is a cooperative research and development (R&D) partnership including four federal agencies-the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-and 15 industrial partners. The purpose of this Partnership is to reduce fuel consumption and emissions, increase heavy-duty vehicle safety, and support research, development, and demonstration to initiate commercially viable products and systems. This is the NRC's second report on the topic and it includes the committee's review of the Partnership as a whole, its major areas of focus, 21CTP's management and priority setting, efficient operations, and the new SuperTruck program.
|Report of the Panel on Implementing Recommendations from the New Worlds, New Horizons Decadal Survey
The 2010 Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey report, New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics (NWNH), outlines a scientifically exciting and programmatically integrated plan for both ground- and space-based astronomy and astrophysics in the 2012-2021 decade. However, late in the survey process, the budgetary outlook shifted downward considerably from the guidance that NASA had provided to the decadal survey. And since August 2010--when NWNH was released--the projections of funds available for new NASA Astrophysics initiatives has decreased even further because of the recently reported delay in the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) to no earlier than the fourth quarter of 2015 and the associated additional costs of at least $1.4 billion. These developments jeopardize the implementation of the carefully designed program of activities proposed in NWNH. In response to these circumstances, NASA has proposed that the United States consider a commitment to the European Space Agency (ESA) Euclid mission at a level of approximately 20 percent. This participation would be undertaken in addition to initiating the planning for the survey's highest-ranked, space-based, large-scale mission, the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST).
The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) requested that the National Research Council (NRC) convene a panel to consider whether NASA's Euclid proposal is consistent with achieving the priorities, goals, and recommendations, and with pursuing the science strategy, articulated in NWNH. The panel also investigated what impact such participation might have on the prospects for the timely realization of the WFIRST mission and other activities recommended by NWNH in view of the projected budgetary situation. The panel convened a workshop on November 7, 2010. The workshop presentations identified several tradeoffs among options: funding goals less likely versus more likely to be achieved in a time of restricted budgets; narrower versus broader scientific goals; and U.S.-only versus U.S.-ESA collaboration. The panel captured these tradeoffs in considering four primary options: Option A: Launch of WFIRST in the Decade 2012-2021; Option B: A Joint WFIRST/Euclid Mission; Option C: Commitment by NASA of 20 percent Investment in Euclid prior to the M-class decision; or Option D: No U.S. Financing of an Infrared Survey Mission This Decade.
|A Research Strategy for Environmental, Health, and Safety Aspects of Engineered Nanomaterials
Despite substantial research, gaps remain in understanding the environmental, health, and safety (EHS) risks of nanomaterials-materials just one billionth of a meter in size-used in an array of products including drug-delivery systems, cosmetics, and food additives. With the nanotechnology sector poised to expand rapidly, there could be greater exposure of workers, consumers, and the environment to nanomaterials. As a result, there is a critical need for a research strategy to build knowledge of the unique properties of nanomaterials, this report finds.
This report sets out a conceptual framework for environmental, health, and safety research on nanomaterials, develops a research plan with short- and long-term research priorities, and estimates the resources needed to implement the plan. In a subsequent report, the committee will evaluate progress toward these goals.
|NASA Space Technology Roadmaps and PrioritiesRestoring NASA's Technological Edge and Paving the Way for a New Era in Space
NASA's Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT) has begun to rebuild the advanced space technology program in the agency with plans laid out in 14 draft technology roadmaps. It has been years since NASA has had a vigorous, broad-based program in advanced space technology development and its technology base has been largely depleted. However, success in executing future NASA space missions will depend on advanced technology developments that should already be underway. Reaching out to involve the external technical community, the National Research Council (NRC) considered the 14 draft technology roadmaps prepared by OCT and ranked the top technical challenges and highest priority technologies that NASA should emphasize in the next 5 years. This report provides specific guidance and recommendations on how the effectiveness of the technology development program managed by OCT can be enhanced in the face of scarce resources.
|Space Studies Board Annual Report 2011
The original charter of the Space Science Board was established in June 1958, 3 months before the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) opened its doors. The Space Science Board and its successor, the Space Studies Board (SSB), have provided expert external and independent scientific and programmatic advice to NASA on a continuous basis from NASA's inception until the present. The SSB has also provided such advice to other executive branch agencies, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Department of Defense, as well as to Congress.
Space Studies Board Annual Report 2011 covers a message from the chair of the SSB, Charles F. Kennel, where he expresses that 2011 was a challenging and uncertain year for NASA and the space science research communities. This report also explains the origins of the Space Science Board, how the Space Studies Board functions today, the SSB's collaboration with other National Research Council units, assures the quality of the SSB reports, acknowledges the audience and sponsors, and expresses the necessity to enhance the outreach and improve dissemination of SSB reports.
This report will be relevant to a full range of government audiences in civilian space research - including NASA, NSF, NOAA, USGS, and the Department of Energy, as well members of the SSB, policy makers, and researchers.
|Effective Tracking of Building Energy UseImproving the Commercial Buildings and Residential Energy Consumption Surveys
The United States is responsible for nearly one-fifth of the world's energy consumption. Population growth, and the associated growth in housing, commercial floor space, transportation, goods, and services is expected to cause a 0.7 percent annual increase in energy demand for the foreseeable future. The energy used by the commercial and residential sectors represents approximately 40 percent of the nation's total energy consumption, and the share of these two sectors is expected to increase in the future.
The Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) and Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) are two major surveys conducted by the Energy Information Administration. The surveys are the most relevant sources of data available to researchers and policy makers on energy consumption in the commercial and residential sectors. Many of the design decisions and operational procedures for the CBECS and RECS were developed in the 1970s and 1980s, and resource limitations during much of the time since then have prevented EIA from making significant changes to the data collections. Effective Tracking of Building Energy Use makes recommendations for redesigning the surveys based on a review of evolving data user needs and an assessment of new developments in relevant survey methods.
|Application of Lightweighting Technology to Military Aircraft, Vessels, and Vehicles
Application of Lightweighting Technology to Military Vehicles, Vessels, and Aircraft assesses the current state of, and recommendations for, lightweighting design and development in land, sea, and air vehicles-primarily those developed or used by the military. In addition to reducing the weight of materials, the report outlines other, more systematic considerations, including innovative architectural design; lighter, more durable materials development; and research on preventing manufacturing defects and improving the multifunctionality of parts and devices. That is, a more comprehensive design and acquisition process could increase attributes such as the maneuverability, durability, range, payload capacity, performance, fuel consumption and survivability, while reducing excess weight.
|Technical Evaluation of the NASA Model for Cancer Risk to Astronauts Due to Space Radiation
NASA's current missions to the International Space Station (ISS) and potential future exploration missions involving extended stays by astronauts on the lunar surface, as well as the possibility of near- Earth object (NEO) or Mars missions, present challenges in protecting astronauts from radiation risks. These risks arise from a number of sources, including solar particle events (SPEs), galactic cosmic rays (GCRs), secondary radiation from surface impacts, and even the nuclear isotope power sources transported with the astronauts. The serious early and late radiation health effects potentially posed by these exposures are equally varied, ranging from early signs of radiation sickness to cancer induction. Other possible effects include central nervous system damage, cataracts, cardiovascular damage, heritable effects, impaired wound healing, and infertility.
Recent research, much of which has been sponsored by NASA, has focused on understanding and quantifying the radiation health risks posed by space radiation environments. Although many aspects of the space radiation environments are now relatively well characterized, important uncertainties still exist regarding biological effects and thus regarding the level and types of risks faced by astronauts.
This report presents an evaluation of NASA's proposed space radiation cancer risk assessment model, which is described in the 2011 NASA report, Space Radiation Cancer Risk Projections and Uncertainties--2010. The evaluation in Technical Evaluation of the NASA Model for Cancer Risk to Astronauts Due to Space Radiation considers the model components, input data (for the radiation types, estimated doses, and epidemiology), and the associated uncertainties. This report also identifies gaps in NASA's current research strategy for reducing the uncertainties in cancer induction risks.
|Interim Report—Status of the Study "An Assessment of the Prospects for Inertial Fusion Energy"
The scientific and technological progress in inertial confinement fusion has been substantial during the past decade. However, many of the technologies needed for an integrated inertial fusion energy system are still at an early stage of technological maturity. For all approaches to inertial fusion energy there remain critical scientific and engineering challenges.
In this interim report of the study An Assessment of the Prospects for Inertial Fusion Energy, the Committee on the Prospects for Inertial Confinement Fusion Energy Systems outlines their preliminary conclusions and recommendations of the feasibility of inertial fusion energy. The committee also describes its anticipated next steps as it prepares its final report.
|Letter Report on: The Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant's Water Recovery System
The Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP) is under construction and will destroy the chemical weapons stockpile currently stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot near Richmond, Kentucky. The Committee to Review the Water Recovery System at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant was assembled to review the water recovery system (WRS) that will be used to recycle the combined supercritical water oxidation (SCWO) system, cooling tower blowdown, and steam blowdown effluents for reuse as quench water in the SCWO process.
The Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant's Water Recovery System discusses various aspects of the WRS design and the committee's findings and recommendations. This report specifically reviews the anticipated operability of the current WRS design and the materials of construction selected for the WRS. This report reflects the reservations and recommendations of committee experts and will assist the BGCAPP program staff in operating the plant in as trouble-free a manner as possible.
|Report of a Workshop on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workforce Needs for the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Defense Industrial Base
Report of a Workshop on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workforce Needs for the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Defense Industrial Base is the summary of a workshop held August 11, 2011, as part of an 18-month study of the issue. This book assesses the STEM capabilities that the Department of Defense (DOD) needs in order to meet its goals, objectives, and priorities; to assess whether the current DOD workforce and strategy will meet those needs; and to identify and evaluate options and recommend strategies that the department could use to help meet its future STEM needs.
|Assessment of a Plan for U.S. Participation in Euclid
NASA proposed to make a hardware contribution to the European Space Agency's (ESA's) Euclid mission in exchange for U.S. membership on the Euclid Science Team and science data access. The Euclid mission will employ a space telescope that will make potentially important contributions to probing dark energy and to the measurement of cosmological parameters. Euclid will image a large fraction of the extragalactic sky at unprecedented resolution and measure spectra for millions of galaxies.
Assessment of a Plan for U.S. Participation in Euclid evaluates whether a small investment in Euclid (around $20 million in hardware) is a viable part of an overall strategy to pursue the science goals set forth in New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics, a decadal plan for ground- and space- based astronomy and astrophysics. The top-ranked large-scale, space-based priority of the New Worlds, New Horizons is the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST). WFIRST has a broad, wide-field, near-infrared capability that will serve a wide variety of science programs of U.S. astronomers, including exoplanet research, near-infrared sky surveys, a guest observer program, and dark energy research. In carrying out this study the authoring committee's intent has been to be clear that this report does not alter New Worlds, New Horizon's plans for the implementation of the survey's priorities.
Assessment of a Plan for U.S. Participation in Euclid concludes that the NASA proposal would represent a valuable first step toward meeting one of the science goals (furthering dark energy research) of WFIRST. While WFIRST dark energy measurements are expected to be superior to Euclid's, U.S. participation in Euclid will have clear scientific, technical, and programmatic benefits to the U.S. community as WFIRST and Euclid go forward. According to this report, the current NASA proposal, to invest modestly in Euclid, is consistent with an expeditious development of WFIRST and the achievement of the broader, and more ambitious, goals outlined in New Worlds, New Horizons. Knowledge gained from the Euclid project could help optimize the science return of the WFIRST mission as well. Such an investment will further the goals of New Worlds, New Horizons, be helpful to the preparations for WFIRST, and enhance WFIRST's chances of success.
|Communicating Science and Engineering Data in the Information Age
The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) of the National Science Foundation (NSF) communicates its science and engineering (S&E) information to data users in a very fluid environment that is undergoing modernization at a pace at which data producer dissemination practices, protocols, and technologies, on one hand, and user demands and capabilities, on the other, are changing faster than the agency has been able to accommodate. NCSES asked the Committee on National Statistics and the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board of the National Research Council to form a panel to review the NCSES communication and dissemination program that is concerned with the collection and distribution of information on science and engineering and to recommend future directions for the program.
Communicating Science and Engineering Data in the Information Age includes recommendations to improve NCSES's dissemination program and improve data user engagement. This report includes recommendations such as NCSES's transition to a dissemination framework that emphasizes database management rather than data presentation, and that NCSES analyze the results of its initial online consumer survey and refine it over time. The implementation of the report's recommendations should be undertaken within an overall framework that accords priority to the basic quality of the data and the fundamentals of dissemination, then to significant enhancements that are achievable in the short term, while laying the groundwork for other long-term improvements.
|An Assessment of the Science Proposed for the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL)
According to the big bang theory, our Universe began in a state of unimaginably high energy and density, contained in a space of subatomic dimensions. At that time, unlike today, the fundamental forces of nature were presumably unified and the particles present were interacting at energies not attainable by present-day accelerators. Underground laboratories provide the conditions to investigate processes involving rare phenomena in matter and to detect the weak effects of highly elusive particles by replicating similar environments to those once harnessed during the earliest states of the Earth. These laboratories now appear to be the gateway to understanding the physics of the grand unification of the forces of nature.
Built to shield extremely sensitive detectors from the noise of their surroundings and the signals associated with cosmic rays, underground facilities have been established during the last 30 years at a number of sites worldwide. To date, the United States' efforts to develop such facilities have been modest and consist primarily of small underground laboratories. However, the U.S. underground community has pushed for larger underground facilities on the scale of major laboratories in other countries. An Assessment of the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL) addresses this matter by evaluating the major physics questions and experiments that could be explored with the proposed DUSEL. Measuring the potential impact, this assessment also examines the broader effects of the DUSEL in regards to education and public outreach, and evaluates the need associated with developing U.S. programs similar to science programs in other regions of the world.
|Predicting Outcomes of Investments in Maintenance and Repair of Federal Facilities
The deteriorating condition of federal facilities poses economic, safety, operational, and environmental risks to the federal government, to the achievement of the missions of federal agencies, and to the achievement of public policy goals. Primary factors underlying this deterioration are the age of federal facilities--about half are at least 50 years old--and decades of inadequate investment for their maintenance and repair. These issues are not new and there are no quick fixes. However, the current operating environment provides both the impetus and the opportunity to place investments in federal facilities' maintenance and repair on a new, more sustainable course for the 21st Century. Despite the magnitude of investments, funding for the maintenance and repair of federal facilities has been inadequate for many years, and myriad projects have been deferred.
Predicting Outcomes of Investments in Maintenance and Repair of Federal Facilities identifies processes and practices for transforming the current portfolio of federal facilities into one that is more economically, physically, and environmentally sustainable. This report addresses ways to predict or quantify the outcomes that can be expected from a given level of maintenance and repair investments in federal facilities or facilities' systems, and what strategies, measures, and data should be in place to determine the actual outcomes of facilities maintenance and repair investments.
|Industrial Methods for the Effective Development and Testing of Defense Systems
During the past decade and a half, the National Research Council, through its Committee on National Statistics, has carried out a number of studies on the application of statistical methods to improve the testing and development of defense systems. These studies were intended to provide advice to the Department of Defense (DOD), which sponsored these studies. The previous studies have been concerned with the role of statistical methods in testing and evaluation, reliability practices, software methods, combining information, and evolutionary acquisition.
Industrial Methods for the Effective Testing and Development of Defense Systems is the latest in a series of studies, and unlike earlier studies, this report identifies current engineering practices that have proved successful in industrial applications for system development and testing. This report explores how developmental and operational testing, modeling and simulation, and related techniques can improve the development and performance of defense systems, particularly techniques that have been shown to be effective in industrial applications and are likely to be useful in defense system development. In addition to the broad issues, the report identifies three specific topics for its focus: finding failure modes earlier, technology maturity, and use of all relevant information for operational assessments.
|Strategies and Priorities for Information Technology at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is the agency in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services responsible for providing health coverage for almost 100 million beneficiaries, including seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income children and adults. Recent legislation places CMS at the center of efforts to increase the efficiency of U.S. health care services, move toward value-based purchasing, improve health care quality, reduce health disparities, increase adoption of health information technology, and collect and analyze data to promote health and wellness. CMS's ongoing operational requirements are currently being met with a very large and complex set of hardware, software, and communications systems that vary considerably in age, capability, and sophistication. In light of these challenges, CMS asked the National Research Council (NRC) to review the centers' plans for modernizing and developing its information systems.