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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Material Measurement LaboratoryFiscal Year 2017   (LAB)
Released 2017-12-29

An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Material Measurement Laboratory: Fiscal Year 2017 assesses the scientific and technical work performed by the National Institute of Standards (NIST). This publication reviews technical reports and technical program descriptions prepared by NIST staff summarizes the findings of the authoring panel.

An Assessment of the Smart Manufacturing Activities at the National Institute of Standards and Technology Engineering LaboratoryFiscal Year 2017   (LAB)
Released 2017-12-29

The mission of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is to "promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology for engineered systems in ways that enhance economic security and improve quality of life." To support this mission the EL has developed thrusts in smart manufacturing, construction, and cyberphysical systems; in sustainable and energy-efficient manufacturing materials and infrastructure; and in disaster-resilient buildings, infrastructure, and communities. The technical work of the EL is performed in five divisions - Intelligent Systems, Materials and Structural Systems, Energy and Environment, Systems Integration, and Fire Research - and in two offices - the Applied Economics Office and the Smart Grid Program Office. At the request of the acting director of NIST, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine assesses the scientific and technical work performed by the NIST Engineering Laboratory (EL). This publication reviews technical reports and technical program descriptions prepared by NIST staff summarizes the findings of the authoring panel.

Airport Passenger Screening Using Millimeter Wave MachinesCompliance with Guidelines   (NMMB)
Released 2017-12-28

The Transportation Security Administration requested a study by the National Research Council (NRC) to establish the Committee on Airport Passenger Screening: Millimeter Wave Machines to evaluate two models of active millimeter wave scanners: the L3 ProVision 1 and L3 ProVision 2. Airport Passenger Screening Using Millimeter Wave Machines provides findings and recommendations on compliance with applicable health and safety guidelines and appropriateness of system design and procedures for preventing over exposure. This study addresses the issue of whether millimeter wave machines used at airports comply with existing guidelines and whether it would be possible for anything to go wrong with the machines so that, by mistake, it exposes a person to more than 10 W/m2.

Coastal Blue Carbon Approaches for Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable SequestrationProceedings of a Workshop—in Brief   (BASC,OSB,BANR,BESR,BCST,BEES)
Released 2017-12-28

Coastal environments provide many valuable ecosystem services. Their role as carbon sinks has been a topic of exploration to evaluate the potential for the restoration and management of coastal habitats as a viable carbon dioxide removal (CDR) approach. To explore the state of knowledge, technical research needs, costs, co-benefits, and societal and governance constraints of CDR in coastal ecosystems (often termed coastal blue carbon), the Committee on Developing a Research Agenda for Carbon Dioxide Removal and Sequestration convened its first workshop on July 26, 2017, in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Invited speakers described their relevant work in order to provide the committee with an overview of the state of knowledge and research needs related to understanding carbon capacity and flux in coastal systems, the processes driving sustainability of coastal wetland carbon storage in the future, potential incentives for coastal blue carbon, and policy and governance challenges. The workshop was preceded by an introductory webinar on July 19, 2017, where invited speakers provided an overview of the ecosystems under consideration for coastal carbon removal and sequestration, as well as the costs and other considerations of restoring them. This publication summarizes the presentations from both the webinar and workshop.

Interim Report of the Committee on a Strategic Plan for U.S. Burning Plasma Research   (BPA)
Released 2017-12-21

In January 2003, President George W. Bush announced that the United States would begin negotiations to join the ITER project and noted that “if successful, ITER would create the first fusion device capable of producing thermal energy comparable to the output of a power plant, making commercially viable fusion power available as soon as 2050.” The United States and the other ITER members are now constructing ITER with the aim to demonstrate that magnetically confined plasmas can produce more fusion power than the power needed to sustain the plasma. This is a critical step towards producing and delivering electricity from fusion energy. Since the international establishment of the ITER project, ITER’s construction schedule has slipped and ITER’s costs have increased significantly, leading to questions about whether the United States should continue its commitment to participate in ITER. This study will advise how to best advance the fusion energy sciences in the United States given developments in the field, the specific international investments in fusion science and technology, and the priorities for the next ten years developed by the community and the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) that were recently reported to Congress. It will address the scientific justification and needs for strengthening the foundations for realizing fusion energy given a potential choice of U.S. participation or not in the ITER project, and develops future scenarios in either case. This interim report assesses the current status of U.S. fusion research and of the importance of burning plasma research to the development of fusion energy as well as to plasma science and other science and engineering disciplines. The final report will present strategies that incorporate continued progress toward a burning plasma experiment and a focus on innovation.

A Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA   (ASEB,SSB)
Released 2017-12-15

The 2011 National Research Council decadal survey on biological and physical sciences in space, Recapturing a Future for Space Exploration: Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era, was written during a critical period in the evolution of science in support of space exploration. The research agenda in space life and physical sciences had been significantly descoped during the programmatic adjustments of the Vision for Space Exploration in 2005, and this occurred in the same era as the International Space Station (ISS) assembly was nearing completion in 2011. Out of that period of change, Recapturing a Future for Space Exploration presented a cogent argument for the critical need for space life and physical sciences, both for enabling and expanding the exploration capabilities of NASA as well as for contributing unique science in many fields that can be enabled by access to the spaceflight environment. Since the 2011 publication of the decadal survey, NASA has seen tremendous change, including the retirement of the Space Shuttle Program and the maturation of the ISS. NASA formation of the Division of Space Life and Physical Sciences Research and Applications provided renewed focus on the research of the decadal survey. NASA has modestly regrown some of the budget of space life and physical sciences within the agency and engaged the U.S. science community outside NASA to join in this research. In addition, NASA has collaborated with the international space science community. This midterm assessment reviews NASA’s progress since the 2011 decadal survey in order to evaluate the high-priority research identified in the decadal survey in light of future human Mars exploration. It makes recommendations on science priorities, specifically those priorities that best enable deep space exploration.

Opportunities in Intense Ultrafast LasersReaching for the Brightest Light   (BPA)
Released 2017-12-06

The laser has revolutionized many areas of science and society, providing bright and versatile light sources that transform the ways we investigate science and enables trillions of dollars of commerce. Now a second laser revolution is underway with pulsed petawatt-class lasers (1 petawatt: 1 million billion watts) that deliver nearly 100 times the total world’s power concentrated into a pulse that lasts less than one-trillionth of a second. Such light sources create unique, extreme laboratory conditions that can accelerate and collide intense beams of elementary particles, drive nuclear reactions, heat matter to conditions found in stars, or even create matter out of the empty vacuum. These powerful lasers came largely from U.S. engineering, and the science and technology opportunities they enable were discussed in several previous National Academies’ reports. Based on these advances, the principal research funding agencies in Europe and Asia began in the last decade to invest heavily in new facilities that will employ these high-intensity lasers for fundamental and applied science. No similar programs exist in the United States. Opportunities in Intense Ultrafast Lasers assesses the opportunities and recommends a path forward for possible U.S. investments in this area of science.

Additional Observations on Foundational Cybersecurity ResearchImproving Science, Engineering, and Institutions: An Annex: Unclassified Abbreviated Version of a Classified Report   (CSTB)
Released 2017-11-29

At the request of the Special Cyber Operations Research and Engineering (SCORE) Interagency Working Group and sponsored with assistance from the National Science Foundation and from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine appointed an expert committee to explore future research goals and directions for cybersecurity. The committee for this multi-phased sequential study considered future research goals and directions for foundational science in cybersecurity, and included relevant efforts in economics and behavioral science as well as more “traditional” cybersecurity topics. It considered major challenge problems, explored proposed new directions, identified gaps in the current portfolio, considered the complementary roles of research in unclassified and classified settings, and considered how foundational work in an unclassified setting can be translated to meet national security objectives. This abbreviated annex provides background information on the full classified annex resulting from the study.

Challenges in Machine Generation of Analytic Products from Multi-Source DataProceedings of a Workshop   (ICSB)
Released 2017-11-03

The Intelligence Community Studies Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened a workshop on August 9-10, 2017 to examine challenges in machine generation of analytic products from multi-source data. Workshop speakers and participants discussed research challenges related to machine-based methods for generating analytic products and for automating the evaluation of these products, with special attention to learning from small data, using multi-source data, adversarial learning, and understanding the human-machine relationship. This publication summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.

Defending Forward-Deployed U.S. Navy Platforms from Potential Enemy Missile and Rocket AttacksAbbreviated Version of a Classified Report   (NSB)
Released 2017-11-03

At the request of the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine appointed an expert committee to study ways to defend forward-deployed U.S. Navy platforms from potential enemy missile and rocket attacks over the next 15 years. The Department of the Navy has determined that the final report prepared by the committee is classified in its entirety under Executive Order 13526 and therefore cannot be made available to the public. This abbreviated report provides background information on the full report and the committee that prepared it.

Emergency Alert and Warning SystemsCurrent Knowledge and Future Research Directions   (CSTB)
Released 2017-11-01

Following a series of natural disasters, including Hurricane Katrina, that revealed shortcomings in the nation’s ability to effectively alert populations at risk, Congress passed the Warning, Alert, and Response Network (WARN) Act in 2006. Today, new technologies such as smart phones and social media platforms offer new ways to communicate with the public, and the information ecosystem is much broader, including additional official channels, such as government social media accounts, opt-in short message service (SMS)-based alerting systems, and reverse 911 systems; less official channels, such as main stream media outlets and weather applications on connected devices; and unofficial channels, such as first person reports via social media. Traditional media have also taken advantage of these new tools, including their own mobile applications to extend their reach of beyond broadcast radio, television, and cable. Furthermore, private companies have begun to take advantage of the large amounts of data about users they possess to detect events and provide alerts and warnings and other hazard-related information to their users. More than 60 years of research on the public response to alerts and warnings has yielded many insights about how people respond to information that they are at risk and the circumstances under which they are most likely to take appropriate protective action. Some, but not all, of these results have been used to inform the design and operation of alert and warning systems, and new insights continue to emerge. Emergency Alert and Warning Systems reviews the results of past research, considers new possibilities for realizing more effective alert and warning systems, explores how a more effective national alert and warning system might be created and some of the gaps in our present knowledge, and sets forth a research agenda to advance the nation’s alert and warning capabilities.

Assessing and Responding to the Growth of Computer Science Undergraduate Enrollments   (BHEW,CSTB)
Released 2017-10-26

The field of computer science (CS) is currently experiencing a surge in undergraduate degree production and course enrollments, which is straining program resources at many institutions and causing concern among faculty and administrators about how best to respond to the rapidly growing demand. There is also significant interest about what this growth will mean for the future of CS programs, the role of computer science in academic institutions, the field as a whole, and U.S. society more broadly. Assessing and Responding to the Growth of Computer Science Undergraduate Enrollments seeks to provide a better understanding of the current trends in computing enrollments in the context of past trends. It examines drivers of the current enrollment surge, relationships between the surge and current and potential gains in diversity in the field, and the potential impacts of responses to the increased demand for computing in higher education, and it considers the likely effects of those responses on students, faculty, and institutions. This report provides recommendations for what institutions of higher education, government agencies, and the private sector can do to respond to the surge and plan for a strong and sustainable future for the field of CS in general, the health of the institutions of higher education, and the prosperity of the nation.

Preliminary Assessment of DOE Facility Management and Infrastructure RenewalLetter Report   (BICE)
Released 2017-10-25

The report that accompanied the House-approved Energy and Water Development Appropriations for FY2003 (H.Rept. 107-112) directed the National Research Council to evaluate the steps being taken by DOE to improve its facility and infrastructure management. Specifically, the NRC was to assess DOE’s facilities and infrastructure management practices; identify or develop “best practice” tools for DOE property management; develop guidelines for deciding when to repair, renovate, or replace facilities; and define performance metrics. This interim letter report presents the NRC’s preliminary assessment of DOE facility management policies and procedures and its current renewal activities. Seven broad-based attributes that characterize the quality of an organization’s facility management policies and practices were applied by the study committee in developing this assessment.

Bolting Reliability for Offshore Oil and Natural Gas OperationsProceedings of a Workshop   (NMMB)
Released 2017-10-12

The Planning Committee on Connector Reliability for Offshore Oil and Natural Gas Operations held the Workshop on Bolting Reliability for Offshore Oil and Natural Gas Operations in Washington, D.C., on April 10-11, 2017. The workshop was designed to advance and develop a comprehensive awareness of the outstanding issues associated with fastener material failures and equipment reliability issues. Speakers and participants were also encouraged to discuss possible paths for ameliorating risks associated with fasteners used for subsea critical equipment in oil and gas operations. This publication summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.

America's Future in Civil SpaceProceedings of a Workshop–in Brief   (SSB,ASEB)
Released 2017-10-11

Since the National Research Council released the report America’s Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs in 2009, numerous changes have occurred in the civil space arena. In May 2017, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened a workshop on America’s Future in Civil Space with several objectives, including reviewing the history of U.S. space policy and how it might form a broad policy basis for twenty-first century leadership in space, examining the balance and interfaces between fundamental scientific research in space, human space exploration, robotic exploration, earth observations, and applications of space technology and civil space systems for societal benefits, and discussing the value, purpose, and goals of international cooperation in space. The workshop participants sought to capture what has changed, determine how to harness new opportunities, and decisively inform and encourage bold and timely implementation. This publication briefly summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.

Microbiomes of the Built EnvironmentA Research Agenda for Indoor Microbiology, Human Health, and Buildings   (BLS,BEST,BICE)
Released 2017-10-06

People’s desire to understand the environments in which they live is a natural one. People spend most of their time in spaces and structures designed, built, and managed by humans, and it is estimated that people in developed countries now spend 90 percent of their lives indoors. As people move from homes to workplaces, traveling in cars and on transit systems, microorganisms are continually with and around them. The human-associated microbes that are shed, along with the human behaviors that affect their transport and removal, make significant contributions to the diversity of the indoor microbiome. The characteristics of “healthy” indoor environments cannot yet be defined, nor do microbial, clinical, and building researchers yet understand how to modify features of indoor environments—such as building ventilation systems and the chemistry of building materials—in ways that would have predictable impacts on microbial communities to promote health and prevent disease. The factors that affect the environments within buildings, the ways in which building characteristics influence the composition and function of indoor microbial communities, and the ways in which these microbial communities relate to human health and well-being are extraordinarily complex and can be explored only as a dynamic, interconnected ecosystem by engaging the fields of microbial biology and ecology, chemistry, building science, and human physiology. This report reviews what is known about the intersection of these disciplines, and how new tools may facilitate advances in understanding the ecosystem of built environments, indoor microbiomes, and effects on human health and well-being. It offers a research agenda to generate the information needed so that stakeholders with an interest in understanding the impacts of built environments will be able to make more informed decisions.

Views of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on Agenda Items of Interest to the Science Services at the World Radiocommunication Conference 2019   (BPA)
Released 2017-10-03

The radio frequency spectrum is a limited resource with ever increasing demand from an expansive range of applications—all the way from commercial, such as mobile phones, to scientific, such as hurricane monitoring from space. Since radio waves do not stop at national borders, international regulation is necessary to ensure effective use of the radio spectrum for all parties. Every 2 to 5 years, the International Telecommunication Union convenes a World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) to review and revise the international radio regulations. This report provides guidance to U.S. spectrum managers and policymakers as they prepare for the WRC in 2019. While the resulting document is targeted primarily at U.S. agencies dealing with radio spectrum issues, other Administrations and foreign scientific users may find its recommendations useful in their own WRC planning.

Utilizing the Energy Resource Potential of DOE Lands   (BEES)
Released 2017-09-28

The potential for energy resource development on Department of Energy (DOE)-managed lands remains a topic of interest within DOE, Congress, and with private developers interested in siting projects on DOE lands. Several previous studies have estimated the energy resource development potential using various approaches and methodologies. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) was tasked by the DOE Office of Legacy Management in 2013 with conducting a study to further refine and build upon previous analyses and to assess energy resource development potential on these lands. Utilizing the Energy Resource Potential of DOE Lands reviews and comments on the NREL study.

Envisioning the Data Science DisciplineThe Undergraduate Perspective: Interim Report   (CSTB,BMSA,CATS,BOSE)
Released 2017-09-27

The need to manage, analyze, and extract knowledge from data is pervasive across industry, government, and academia. Scientists, engineers, and executives routinely encounter enormous volumes of data, and new techniques and tools are emerging to create knowledge out of these data, some of them capable of working with real-time streams of data. The nation’s ability to make use of these data depends on the availability of an educated workforce with necessary expertise. With these new capabilities have come novel ethical challenges regarding the effectiveness and appropriateness of broad applications of data analyses. The field of data science has emerged to address the proliferation of data and the need to manage and understand it. Data science is a hybrid of multiple disciplines and skill sets, draws on diverse fields (including computer science, statistics, and mathematics), encompasses topics in ethics and privacy, and depends on specifics of the domains to which it is applied. Fueled by the explosion of data, jobs that involve data science have proliferated and an array of data science programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels have been established. Nevertheless, data science is still in its infancy, which suggests the importance of envisioning what the field might look like in the future and what key steps can be taken now to move data science education in that direction. This study will set forth a vision for the emerging discipline of data science at the undergraduate level. This interim report lays out some of the information and comments that the committee has gathered and heard during the first half of its study, offers perspectives on the current state of data science education, and poses some questions that may shape the way data science education evolves in the future. The study will conclude in early 2018 with a final report that lays out a vision for future data science education.

Software Update as a Mechanism for Resilience and SecurityProceedings of a Workshop   (CSTB)
Released 2017-09-25

Software update is an important mechanism by which security changes and improvements are made in software, and this seemingly simple concept encompasses a wide variety of practices, mechanisms, policies, and technologies. To explore the landscape further, the Forum on Cyber Resilience hosted a workshop featuring invited speakers from government, the private sector, and academia. This publication summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.

Enhancing the Resilience of the Nation's Electricity System   (BEES)
Released 2017-09-25

Americans’ safety, productivity, comfort, and convenience depend on the reliable supply of electric power. The electric power system is a complex “cyber-physical” system composed of a network of millions of components spread out across the continent. These components are owned, operated, and regulated by thousands of different entities. Power system operators work hard to assure safe and reliable service, but large outages occasionally happen. Given the nature of the system, there is simply no way that outages can be completely avoided, no matter how much time and money is devoted to such an effort. The system’s reliability and resilience can be improved but never made perfect. Thus, system owners, operators, and regulators must prioritize their investments based on potential benefits. Enhancing the Resilience of the Nation’s Electricity System focuses on identifying, developing, and implementing strategies to increase the power system’s resilience in the face of events that can cause large-area, long-duration outages: blackouts that extend over multiple service areas and last several days or longer. Resilience is not just about lessening the likelihood that these outages will occur. It is also about limiting the scope and impact of outages when they do occur, restoring power rapidly afterwards, and learning from these experiences to better deal with events in the future.

The Goals, Rationales, and Definition of Planetary ProtectionInterim Report   (SSB)
Released 2017-09-19

Solar system exploration is in an extraordinary state of expansion. Scientific capabilities to search for evidence of extant or relic life outside Earth—among the principal goals of solar system exploration—are advancing rapidly. In this time of rapid transition in exploring solar system bodies, the importance of reexamining planetary protection policies, including the need for clarity in how NASA establishes such policies, has become more urgent. Overall, this study seeks to review the current state of planetary protection policy development, assess the responsiveness of the policy development process to contemporary and anticipated needs, and recommend actions that might assure the effectiveness of NASA’s future coordination and execution of planetary protection. This interim report focuses on the goals of and rationales for planetary protection policies and suggests a working definition of planetary protection consistent with those goals. It does not address future commercial planetary missions, human missions to planetary bodies, or roles and responsibilities for implementing policies, but these issues will be addressed in the final report.

Searching for Life Across Space and TimeProceedings of a Workshop   (SSB)
Released 2017-09-12

The search for life is one of the most active fields in space science and involves a wide variety of scientific disciplines, including planetary science, astronomy and astrophysics, chemistry, biology, chemistry, and geoscience. In December 2016, the Space Studies Board hosted a workshop to explore the possibility of habitable environments in the solar system and in exoplanets, techniques for detecting life, and the instrumentation used. This publication summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.

Powering ScienceNASA's Large Strategic Science Missions   (SSB)
Released 2017-08-24

NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) currently operates over five dozen missions, with approximately two dozen additional missions in development. These missions span the scientific fields associated with SMD’s four divisions—Astrophysics, Earth Science, Heliophysics, and Planetary Sciences. Because a single mission can consist of multiple spacecraft, NASA-SMD is responsible for nearly 100 operational spacecraft. The most high profile of these are the large strategic missions, often referred to as “flagships.” Large strategic missions are essential to maintaining the global leadership of the United States in space exploration and in science because only the United States has the budget, technology, and trained personnel in multiple scientific fields to conduct missions that attract a range of international partners. This report examines the role of large, strategic missions within a balanced program across NASA-SMD space and Earth sciences programs. It considers the role and scientific productivity of such missions in advancing science, technology and the long-term health of the field, and provides guidance that NASA can use to help set the priority of larger missions within a properly balanced program containing a range of mission classes.

An Assessment of ARPA-ESummary   (STEP,BEES)
Released 2017-08-03

In 2005, the National Research Council report Rising Above the Gathering Storm recommended a new way for the federal government to spur technological breakthroughs in the energy sector. It recommended the creation of a new agency, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E, as an adaptation of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) model—widely considered a successful experiment that has funded out-of-the-box, transformative research and engineering that made possible the Internet, GPS, and stealth aircraft. This new agency was envisioned as a means of tackling the nation’s energy challenges in a way that could translate basic research into technological breakthroughs while also addressing economic, environmental, and security issues. Congress authorized ARPA-E in the 2007 America COMPETES Act and requested an early assessment following 6 years of operation to examine the agency’s progress toward achieving its statutory mission and goals. This publication summarizes the results of that assessment.

Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE PartnershipFifth Report   (BEES)
Released 2017-07-28

Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fifth Report follows on four previous reviews of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership, which was the predecessor of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership. The U.S. DRIVE (Driving Research and Innovation for Vehicle Efficiency and Energy Sustainability) vision, according to the charter of the Partnership, is this: American consumers have a broad range of affordable personal transportation choices that reduce petroleum consumption and significantly reduce harmful emissions from the transportation sector. Its mission is as follows: accelerate the development of pre-competitive and innovative technologies to enable a full range of efficient and clean advanced light-duty vehicles (LDVs), as well as related energy infrastructure. The Partnership focuses on precompetitive research and development (R&D) that can help to accelerate the emergence of advanced technologies to be commercialization-feasible. The guidance for the work of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership as well as the priority setting and targets for needed research are provided by joint industry/government technical teams. This structure has been demonstrated to be an effective means of identifying high-priority, long-term precompetitive research needs for each technology with which the Partnership is involved. Technical areas in which research and development as well as technology validation programs have been pursued include the following: internal combustion engines (ICEs) potentially operating on conventional and various alternative fuels, automotive fuel cell power systems, hydrogen storage systems (especially onboard vehicles), batteries and other forms of electrochemical energy storage, electric propulsion systems, hydrogen production and delivery, and materials leading to vehicle weight reductions.

An Assessment of ARPA-E   (STEP,BEES)
Released 2017-07-28

In 2005, the National Research Council report Rising Above the Gathering Storm recommended a new way for the federal government to spur technological breakthroughs in the energy sector. It recommended the creation of a new agency, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E, as an adaptation of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) model—widely considered a successful experiment that has funded out-of-the-box, transformative research and engineering that made possible the Internet, GPS, and stealth aircraft. This new agency was envisioned as a means of tackling the nation’s energy challenges in a way that could translate basic research into technological breakthroughs while also addressing economic, environmental, and security issues. Congress authorized ARPA-E in the 2007 America COMPETES Act and requested an early assessment following 6 years of operation to examine the agency’s progress toward achieving its statutory mission and goals. This report documents the results of that assessment. It includes both an operational assessment of the agency’s funding programs and a technical assessment of its awards, to the extent possible.

Report SeriesCommittee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science: Getting Ready for the Next Planetary Science Decadal Survey   (SSB)
Released 2017-07-28

This study discusses the publicly available studies of future flagship- and New Frontiers-class missions NASA initiated since the completion of Vision and Voyages. The report considers the priority areas as defined in Vision and Voyages where publicly available mission studies have not been undertaken; appropriate mechanisms by which mission-study gaps might be filled in the near- to mid-term future; and other activities that might be undertaken in the near- to mid-term future to optimize and/or expedite the work of the next planetary science decadal survey committee.

Foundational Cybersecurity ResearchImproving Science, Engineering, and Institutions   (CSTB)
Released 2017-07-24

Attaining meaningful cybersecurity presents a broad societal challenge. Its complexity and the range of systems and sectors in which it is needed mean that successful approaches are necessarily multifaceted. Moreover, cybersecurity is a dynamic process involving human attackers who continue to adapt. Despite considerable investments of resources and intellect, cybersecurity continues to poses serious challenges to national security, business performance, and public well-being. Modern developments in computation, storage and connectivity to the Internet have brought into even sharper focus the need for a better understanding of the overall security of the systems we depend on. Foundational Cybersecurity Research focuses on foundational research strategies for organizing people, technologies, and governance. These strategies seek to ensure the sustained support needed to create an agile, effective research community, with collaborative links across disciplines and between research and practice. This report is aimed primarily at the cybersecurity research community, but takes a broad view that efforts to improve foundational cybersecurity research will need to include many disciplines working together to achieve common goals.

A New Vision for Center-Based Engineering Research   (NMMB)
Released 2017-07-18

The future security, economic growth, and competitiveness of the United States depend on its capacity to innovate. Major sources of innovative capacity are the new knowledge and trained students generated by U.S. research universities. However, many of the complex technical and societal problems the United States faces cannot be addressed by the traditional model of individual university research groups headed by a single principal investigator. Instead, they can only be solved if researchers from multiple institutions and with diverse expertise combine their efforts. The National Science Foundation (NSF), among other federal agencies, began to explore the potential of such center-scale research programs in the 1970s and 1980s; in many ways, the NSF Engineering Research Center (ERC) program is its flagship program in this regard. The ERCs are “interdisciplinary, multi-institutional centers that join academia, industry, and government in partnership to produce transformational engineered systems and engineering graduates who are adept at innovation and primed for leadership in the global economy. To ensure that the ERCs continue to be a source of innovation, economic development, and educational excellence, A New Vision for Center-Based Engineering Research explores the future of center-based engineering research, the skills needed for effective center leadership, and opportunities to enhance engineering education through the centers.

Review of the Restructured Research and Analysis Programs of NASA's Planetary Science Division   (SSB)
Released 2017-06-22

The Research and Analysis (R&A) program managed by NASA’s Planetary Science Division (PSD), supports a broad range of planetary science activities, including the analysis of data from past and current spacecraft; laboratory research; theoretical, modeling, and computational studies; geological and astrobiological fieldwork in planetary analog environments on Earth; geological mapping of planetary bodies; analysis of data from Earth- and space-based telescopes; and development of flight instruments and technology needed for future planetary science missions. The primary role of the PSD R&A program is to address NASA’s strategic objective for planetary science and PSD’s science goals. Recently, PSD reorganized the R&A program to provide better alignment with the strategic goals for planetary sciences. The major changes in the R&A program involved consolidating a number of prior program elements, many of which were organized by subdiscipline, into a smaller number of thematic core research program elements. Despite numerous efforts by PSD to communicate the rationale for the reorganization and articulate clearly the new processes, there has been significant resistance from the planetary science community and concerns in some sectors regarding the major realignment of funding priorities. Review of NASA’s Planetary Science Division’s Restructured Research and Analysis Programs examines the new R&A program and determines if it appropriately aligns with the agency’s strategic goals, supports existing flight programs, and enables future missions. This report explores whether any specific research areas or subdisciplinary groups that are critical to NASA’s strategic objectives for planetary science and PSD’s science goals are not supported appropriately in the current program or have been inadvertently disenfranchised through the reorganization.

Report Series: Committee on Solar and Space Physics: Heliophysics Science Centers   (SSB)
Released 2017-06-08

The newly constituted Committee on Solar and Space Physics (CSSP) has been tasked with monitoring the progress of recommendations from the 2013 decadal survey Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. The committee held its first meeting as part of Space Science Week in Washington, D.C., on March 28-30, 2017. In advance of the meeting, and in response to discussions with the leadership of the Heliophysics Division of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Geospace Section of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Science, the committee identified the decadal survey’s recommendation to create NASA-NSF heliophysics science centers (HSCs) as a timely topic for discussion. This report provides a set of options for NASA and NSF to consider for the creation of HSCs, including how to make the HSCs unique from other research elements and strategies for implementation.

Report Series: Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics: Small Explorer Missions   (CAA,SSB,BPA)
Released 2017-06-08

The 2010 astronomy and astrophysics decadal survey, New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics, laid out an exciting portfolio of recommended activities to guide the agencies’ research programs over the period 2012-2021. The newly constituted Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics (CAA) is tasked with monitoring the progress of the survey’s recommended priorities. The CAA met in conjunction with Space Science Week 2017 in Washington, D.C., on March 28- 30, 2017. This was the first meeting at which the CAA could produce a report, and in advance of that meeting, the CAA received a question from NASA about an upcoming Small Explorer (SMEX) mission call. This report addresses whether there may or may not be sufficient compelling science motivations for a SMEX-sized mission to justify a SMEX Announcement of Opportunity (AO) in 2018 or 2019 (as is currently planned).

Assessment of Solid-State Lighting, Phase Two   (BEES)
Released 2017-05-11

The standard incandescent light bulb, which still works mainly as Thomas Edison invented it, converts more than 90% of the consumed electricity into heat. Given the availability of newer lighting technologies that convert a greater percentage of electricity into useful light, there is potential to decrease the amount of energy used for lighting in both commercial and residential applications. Although technologies such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) have emerged in the past few decades and will help achieve the goal of increased energy efficiency, solid-state lighting (SSL) stands to play a large role in dramatically decreasing U.S. energy consumption for lighting. Since the publication of the 2013 National Research Council report Assessment of Advanced Solid-State Lighting, the penetration of SSL has increased dramatically, with a resulting savings in energy and costs that were foreshadowed by that study. What was not anticipated then is the dramatic dislocation and restructuring of the SSL marketplace, as cost reductions for light-emitting diode (LED) components reduced profitability for LED manufacturers. At the same time, there has been the emergence of new applications for SSL, which have the potential to create new markets and commercial opportunities for the SSL industry. Assessment of Solid-State Lighting, Phase Two discusses these aspects of change—highlighting the progress of commercialization and acceptance of SSL and reviewing the technical advances and challenges in achieving higher efficacy for LEDs and organic light-emitting diodes. This report will also discuss the recent trends in SSL manufacturing and opportunities for new applications and describe the role played by the Department of Energy (DOE) Lighting Program in the development of SSL.

Information Technology and the U.S. WorkforceWhere Are We and Where Do We Go from Here?   (CSTB)
Released 2017-04-18

Recent years have yielded significant advances in computing and communication technologies, with profound impacts on society. Technology is transforming the way we work, play, and interact with others. From these technological capabilities, new industries, organizational forms, and business models are emerging. Technological advances can create enormous economic and other benefits, but can also lead to significant changes for workers. IT and automation can change the way work is conducted, by augmenting or replacing workers in specific tasks. This can shift the demand for some types of human labor, eliminating some jobs and creating new ones. Information Technology and the U.S. Workforce explores the interactions between technological, economic, and societal trends and identifies possible near-term developments for work. This report emphasizes the need to understand and track these trends and develop strategies to inform, prepare for, and respond to changes in the labor market. It offers evaluations of what is known, notes open questions to be addressed, and identifies promising research pathways moving forward.

Report 1 on Tracking and Assessing Governance and Management Reform in the Nuclear Security Enterprise   (LAB)
Released 2017-04-18

A congressionally mandated study carried out in 2013-2014 led to the November 2014 report A New Foundation for the Nuclear Enterprise. That report summarizes the panel’s findings on the current health of the enterprise, examines the root causes of its governance challenges, and offers the panel’s recommendations to address the identified problems. It concludes that the existing governance structures and many of the practices of the enterprise are inefficient and ineffective, thereby putting the entire enterprise at risk over the long term. It offers recommendations to put the entire nuclear security enterprise on a stronger footing. Recognizing the persistence of governance and management concerns, this report serves as an initial assessment of the implementation plan developed by the National Nuclear Security Administration and the Department Of Energy for addressing the recommendations from A New Foundation for the Nuclear Enterprise. There will be seven semi-annual interim reports to evaluate progress in implementing the plan. A final report will be issued at the end of the study to document the overall progress in executing the implementation plan, assess the effectiveness of the reform efforts under that plan, and recommend whether further action is needed.

2015-2016 Assessment of the Army Research Laboratory   (ARLTAB,LAB)
Released 2017-03-31

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's Army Research Laboratory Technical Assessment Board (ARLTAB) provides biennial assessments of the scientific and technical quality of the research, development, and analysis programs at the Army Research Laboratory (ARL), focusing on ballistics sciences, human sciences, information sciences, materials sciences, and mechanical sciences. This biennial report summarizes the findings of the ARLTAB from the reviews conducted by the panels in 2015 and 2016 and subsumes the 2015-2016 interim report.

Assessment of the National Science Foundation's 2015 Geospace Portfolio Review   (SSB)
Released 2017-03-28

At the request of the Advisory Committee for Geosciences of the National Science Foundation (NSF), a review of the Geospace Section of the NSF Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences was undertaken in 2015. The Portfolio Review Committee was charged with reviewing the portfolio of facilities, research programs, and activities funded by Geospace Section and to recommend critical capabilities and the balance of investments needed to enable the science program articulated in the 2013 NRC decadal survey Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society. The Portfolio Review Committee's report Investments in Critical Capabilities for Geospace Science 2016 to 2025 (ICCGS) was accepted by the Advisory Committee for Geosciences in April 2016. Assessment of the National Science Foundation's 2015 Geospace Portfolio Review provides an independent assessment of the ICCGS report. This publication assesses how well the ICCGS provides a clear set of findings, conclusions, and recommendations for Geospace Section that align with the science priorities of the NRC decadal survey, and adequately take into account issues such as the current budget outlook and the science needs of the community. Additionally, this study makes recommendations focused on options and considerations for NSF's implementation of the ICCGS recommendations.

Refining the Concept of Scientific Inference When Working with Big DataProceedings of a Workshop   (CATS,BMSTA,BMSA)
Released 2017-02-24

The concept of utilizing big data to enable scientific discovery has generated tremendous excitement and investment from both private and public sectors over the past decade, and expectations continue to grow. Using big data analytics to identify complex patterns hidden inside volumes of data that have never been combined could accelerate the rate of scientific discovery and lead to the development of beneficial technologies and products. However, producing actionable scientific knowledge from such large, complex data sets requires statistical models that produce reliable inferences (NRC, 2013). Without careful consideration of the suitability of both available data and the statistical models applied, analysis of big data may result in misleading correlations and false discoveries, which can potentially undermine confidence in scientific research if the results are not reproducible. In June 2016 the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened a workshop to examine critical challenges and opportunities in performing scientific inference reliably when working with big data. Participants explored new methodologic developments that hold significant promise and potential research program areas for the future. This publication summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.

Strengthening Data Science Methods for Department of Defense Personnel and Readiness Missions   (BMSTA,BMSA)
Released 2017-02-06

The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel & Readiness), referred to throughout this report as P&R, is responsible for the total force management of all Department of Defense (DoD) components including the recruitment, readiness, and retention of personnel. Its work and policies are supported by a number of organizations both within DoD, including the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC), and externally, including the federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) that work for DoD. P&R must be able to answer questions for the Secretary of Defense such as how to recruit people with an aptitude for and interest in various specialties and along particular career tracks and how to assess on an ongoing basis service members’ career satisfaction and their ability to meet new challenges. P&R must also address larger-scale questions, such as how the current realignment of forces to the Asia-Pacific area and other regions will affect recruitment, readiness, and retention. While DoD makes use of large-scale data and mathematical analysis in intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and elsewhere—exploiting techniques such as complex network analysis, machine learning, streaming social media analysis, and anomaly detection—these skills and capabilities have not been applied as well to the personnel and readiness enterprise. Strengthening Data Science Methods for Department of Defense Personnel and Readiness Missions offers and roadmap and implementation plan for the integration of data analysis in support of decisions within the purview of P&R.

Cryptographic Agility and InteroperabilityProceedings of a Workshop   (CSTB)
Released 2017-02-03

In May 2016, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine hosted a workshop on Cryptographic Agility and Interoperability. Speakers at the workshop discussed the history and practice of cryptography, its current challenges, and its future possibilities. This publication summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.