|Materials and Manufacturing Capabilities for Sustaining Defense SystemsSummary of a Workshop
The Standing Committee on Defense Materials Manufacturing and Infrastructure (DMMI) conducted a workshop on July 23-24, 2012, to share information and gather perspectives on issues concerning Materials and Manufacturing Capabilities for Sustaining Defense Systems. This workshop, held at the headquarters building of the National Academies, 2101 Constitution Avenue N.W., Washington D.C., was conducted according to the procedures of the National Research Council (NRC) for a convening activity. That is, all workshop participants—including presenters, members of the DMMI standing committee, Reliance 21, invited guests, and visitors—spoke as individuals, and no overall findings, conclusions, or recommendations were developed during or as a result of the workshop. All statements and views summarized in this publication are attributable only to those individuals who expressed them. It is worth noting that the sponsor, Reliance 21, is a Department of Defense group of professionals that was established to enable the DOD science and technology (S&T) community to work together to enhance Defense S&T programs, eliminate unwarranted duplication, and strengthen cooperation among the military services and other DOD agencies.
The DMMI standing committee named a workshop planning group to develop the workshop agenda and decide on invited guests and presenters, in accordance with the statement of task approved by the Governing Board of the NRC. The planning group also consulted with the Reliance 21 materials and processing community of interest.
The presentations and discussions during the workshop are summarized sequentially in the main part of this report. As an aid to readers, nine themes have been identified by the author that recurred in multiple presentations and discussions. Materials and Manufacturing Capabilities for Sustaining Defense Systems: Summary of a Workshop explains these nine themes and summarizes the two day workshop.
|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.
|Interim Report on the Second Triennial Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative
Nanotechnology has become one of the defining ideas in global R&D over the past decade. In 2001 the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) was established as the U.S. government interagency program for coordinating nanotechnology research and development across deferral agencies and facilitating communication and collaborative activities in nanoscale science, engineering, and technology across the federal government. The 26 federal agencies that participate in the NNI collaborate to (1) advance world-class nanotechnology research and development; (2) foster the transfer of new technologies into products for commercial and public benefit; (3) develop and sustain educational resources, a skilled workforce and the supporting infrastructure and tools to advance nanotechnology; and (4) support the responsible development of nanotechnology. As part of the third triennial review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative, the Committee on Triennial Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative: Phase II was asked to provide advice to the Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology (NSET) Subcommittee and the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office in three areas:
Task 1 - Examine the role of the NNI in maximizing opportunities to transfer selected technologies to the private sector, provide an assessment of how well the NNI is carrying out this role, and suggest new mechanisms to foster transfer of technologies and improvements to NNI operations in this area where warranted.
Task 2 - Assess the suitability of current procedures and criteria for determining progress towards NNI goals, suggest definitions of success and associated metrics, and provide advice on those organizations (government or non-government) that could perform evaluations of progress.
Task 3 - Review NNI's management and coordination of nanotechnology research across both civilian and military federal agencies.
Interim Report for the Triennial Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative, Phase II offers initial comment on the committee's approach to Task 2 and offers initial comments on the current procedures and criteria for determining progress toward and achievement of the desired outcomes.
|Optics and PhotonicsEssential Technologies for Our Nation
Optics and photonics technologies are ubiquitous: they are responsible for the displays on smart phones and computing devices, optical fiber that carries the information in the internet, advanced precision manufacturing, enhanced defense capabilities, and a plethora of medical diagnostics tools. The opportunities arising from optics and photonics offer the potential for even greater societal impact in the next few decades, including solar power generation and new efficient lighting that could transform the nation's energy landscape and new optical capabilities that will be essential to support the continued exponential growth of the Internet.
As described in the National Research Council report Optics and Photonics: Essential Technologies for our Nation, it is critical for the United States to take advantage of these emerging optical technologies for creating new industries and generating job growth. The report assesses the current state of optical science and engineering in the United States and abroad--including market trends, workforce needs, and the impact of photonics on the national economy. It identifies the technological opportunities that have arisen from recent advances in, and applications of, optical science and engineering. The report also calls for improved management of U.S. public and private research and development resources, emphasizing the need for public policy that encourages adoption of a portfolio approach to investing in the wide and diverse opportunities now available within photonics.
Optics and Photonics: Essential Technologies for our Nation is a useful overview not only for policymakers, such as decision-makers at relevant Federal agencies on the current state of optics and photonics research and applications but also for individuals seeking a broad understanding of the fields of optics and photonics in many arenas.