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book coverAn Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Center for Neutron ResearchFiscal Year 2013   (LAB)
Released 2013-12-12

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Center for Neutron Research (NCNR), with its strong tradition of hiring and developing excellent scientific and technical staff, is one of the leading institutions worldwide in neutron instrumentation, technology, and science. It is a very well-managed user facility. With the recent completion of a $95 million expansion, performed on time and on budget, it has enhanced its instrumentation capabilities and has constructed a new guide hall. This expansion further enhances NCNR’s ability to meet high user demands—a factor of two higher than capacity—for experimentation to conduct cutting-edge research. NCNR's high scientific productivity is due, in part, to effective communication between the management and staff and with the internal and external user communities. This report assesses the quality and effectiveness of the NIST measurements and standards laboratories, of which there are now six, including two user facilities, as well as the adequacy of the laboratories’ resources. An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Center for Neutron Research considers the merit of the current NCNR scientific and technical programs relative to current state-of-the-art programs; the degree to which the NCNR scientific and technical programs achieve their objectives and fulfill the mission of the NCNR; and the adequacy of the NCNR facilities, equipment, and human resources, as they affect the quality of the NCNR’s scientific and technical programs.

book coverThe Quality of Science and Engineering at the NNSA National Security Laboratories   (LAB)
Released 2013-09-10

The three National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) national security laboratories--Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), and Sandia National Laboratories (SNL)--are a major component of the U.S. government's laboratory complex and of the national science and technology base. These laboratories are large, diverse, highly respected institutions with broad programs in basic sciences, applied sciences, technology development, and engineering; and they are home to world-class staff and facilities. Under a recent interagency agreement between the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and the intelligence community, they are evolving to serve the needs of the broad national security community. Despite this broadening of substance and support, these laboratories remain the unique locus of science and engineering (S&E) for the U.S. nuclear weapons program, including, most significantly, the science-based stockpile stewardship program and the S&E basis for analyzing and understanding nuclear weapon developments of other nations and non-state actors. The National Research Council (NRC) was asked by Congress to assess the quality of S&E and the management of S&E at these three laboratories. The Quality of Science and Engineering at the NNSA National Security Laboratories is the second of two reports produced as part of this study. This report assesses the quality of S&E in terms of the capability of the laboratories to perform the necessary tasks to execute the laboratories' missions, both at present and in the future. The report identifies the following as four basic pillars of stockpile stewardship and non-proliferation analysis: (1) the weapons design; (2) systems engineering and understanding of the effects of aging on system performance; (3) weapons science base; and (4) modeling and simulation, which provides a capability to integrate theory, experimental data, and system design. The Quality of Science and Engineering at the NNSA National Security Laboratories offers a snapshot of the present with an eye to the future. This report discusses the current state of S&E and makes recommendations to maintain robust programs.

Report in Brief
book coverManaging for High-Quality Science and Engineering at the NNSA National Security Laboratories   (LAB)
Released 2013-08-20

The three National Security Laboratories--Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)--are managed by private-sector entities under contract to the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The FY2010 Defense Authorization Act mandated that NNSA task the National Research Council (NRC) to study the quality and management of Science and Engineering (S&E) at these Laboratories. This study (addressing a total of 5 tasks) is being conducted in two phases. This report covers the first phase, which addresses the relationship between the quality of the science and engineering at the Laboratory and the contract for managing and operating the Laboratory (task 4), and also addresses the management of work conducted by the Laboratory for entities other than the Department of Energy (task 5). The study's second phase will evaluate the actual quality of S&E in key subject areas. Managing for High-Quality Science and Engineering at the NNSA National Security Laboratories presents assessments of the evolution of the mission of the NNSA Labs and the management and performance of research in support of the missions, and the relationship between the Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program and the ability of the Labs to fulfill their mission. The report examines the framework for managing science and engineering research at the Labs and provides an analysis of the relationships among the several players in the management of the Labs--the NNSA, the site offices, the contractors, and the Lab managers--and the effect of that relationship on the Laboratories' ability to carry out science and engineering research.

book cover2011-2012 Assessment of the Army Research Laboratory   (LAB)
Released 2013-04-09

The charge of the Army Research Laboratory Technical Assessment Board (ARLTAB) is to provide biennial assessments of the scientific and technical quality of the research, development, and analysis programs at the Army Research Laboratory (ARL). The ARLTAB is assisted by six panels, each of which focuses on the portion of the ARL program conducted by one of ARL's six directorates1. When requested to do so by ARL, the ARLTAB also examines work that cuts across the directorates. For example, during 2011-2012, ARL requested that the ARLTAB examine crosscutting work in the areas of autonomous systems and network science. The overall quality of ARL's technical staff and their work continues to be impressive. Staff continue to demonstrate clear, passionate mindfulness of the importance of transitioning technology to support immediate and longer-term Army needs. Their involvement with the wider scientific and engineering community continues to expand. Such continued involvement and collaboration are fundamentally important for ARL's scientific and technical activities and need to include the essential elements of peer review and interaction through publications and travel to attend professional meetings, including international professional meetings. In general, ARL is working very well within an appropriate research and development niche and has been demonstrating significant accomplishments, as exemplified in the following discussion, which also addresses opportunities and challenges.