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2007-2008 Assessment of the Army Research Laboratory

by National Research Council of the National Academies

This volume is the latest in a series of biennial assessments of the scientific and technical quality of the Army Research Laboratory (ARL). The current report summarizes findings for the 2007-2008 period, during which 95 volunteer experts in fields of science and engineering participated in the following activities: visiting ARL annually, receiving formal presentations of technical work, examining facilities, engaging in technical discussions with ARL staff, and reviewing ARL technical materials. The overall quality of ARL's technical staff and their work continues to be impressive, as well as the relevance of their work to Army needs. ARL continues to exhibit a clear, passionate concern for the end user of its technology--the soldier in the field. While two directorates have large program-support missions, there is considerable customer-support work across the directorates, which universally demonstrate mindfulness of the importance of transitioning technology to support immediate and near-term Army needs. ARL staff also continue to expand their involvement with the wider scientific and engineering community. This involvement includes monitoring relevant developments elsewhere, engaging in significant collaborative work (including the Collaborative Technology Alliances), and sharing work through peer reviews. In general, ARL is working very well within an appropriate research and development niche and has been demonstrating significant accomplishments.

2009-2010 Assessment of the Army Research Laboratory

by National Research Council of the National Academies

The charge of the Army Research Laboratory Technical Assessment Board (ARLTAB) is to provide biannual assessments of the scientific and technical quality of the research, development, and analysis programs at the Army Research Laboratory (ARL). The advice provided in this report focuses on technical rather than programmatic considerations. The Board is assisted by six National Research Council (NRC) panels, each of which focuses on the portion of the ARL program conducted by one of ARL's six directorates. When requested to do so by ARL, the Board also examines work that cuts across the directorates. The Board has been performing assessments of ARL since 1996. The current report summarizes its finding for the 2009-2010 period, during which 96 volunteer experts in fields of science and engineering participated in the following activities: visiting ARL annually, receiving formal presentations of technical work, examining facilities, engaging in technical discussions with ARL staff, and reviewing ARL technical materials. The Board continues to be impressed by the overall quality of ARL's technical staff and their work and applauds ARL for its clear, passionate concern for the end user of its technology--the soldier in the field--and for ARL's demonstrated mindfulness of the importance of transitioning technology to support immediate and longer-term Army needs. ARL staff also continue to expand their involvement with the wider scientific and engineering community. In general, ARL is working very well within an appropriate research and development (R&D) niche and has been demonstrating significant accomplishments.

The 2nd International Forum on Biosecurity: Summary of an International Meeting Budapest, Hungary March 30 to April 2, 2008

by National Research Council of the National Academies

The 2nd International Forum on Biosecurity, held in Budapest, Hungary on March 30 - April 2, 2008, represents the efforts of a number of individuals and organizations, over the last five years, to engage the international community of life scientists in addressing how to reduce the risk that the results of their work could be used for hostile purposes by terrorists and states. The participants who gathered in Budapest were already engaged in this challenging task, and, therefore, the focus of the meeting was on what had been accomplished and what challenges remained. There was no attempt to achieve consensus, since there exist real and important differences among those involved concerning the appropriate policies and actions to be undertaken. But there was a serious effort to identify a range of potential next steps, and also an effort to identify opportunities where international scientific organizations could make substantive contributions and offer their advice and expertise to policy discussions. The Forum's presentations, discussions, and results are summarized in this book.

Accounting for Health and Health Care: Approaches to Measuring the Sources and Costs of their Improvement

by National Research Council of the National Academies

It has become trite to observe that increases in health care costs have become unsustainable. How best for policy to address these increases, however, depends in part on the degree to which they represent increases in the real quantity of medical services as opposed to increased unit prices of existing services. And an even more fundamental question is the degree to which the increased spending actually has purchased improved health. Accounting for Health and Health Care addresses both these issues. The government agencies responsible for measuring unit prices for medical services have taken steps in recent years that have greatly improved the accuracy of those measures. Nonetheless, this book has several recommendations aimed at further improving the price indices.

Achievements Of The National Plant Genome Initiative And New Horizons In Plant Biology

by National Research Council of the National Academies

Life on Earth would be impossible without plants. Humans rely on plants for most clothing, furniture, food, as well as for many pharmaceuticals and other products. Plant genome sciences are essential to understanding how plants function and how to develop desirable plant characteristics. For example, plant genomic science can contribute to the development of plants that are drought-resistant, those that require less fertilizer, and those that are optimized for conversion to fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel. The National Plant Genome Initiative (NPGI) is a unique, cross-agency funding enterprise that has been funding and coordinating plant genome research successfully for nine years. Research breakthroughs from NPGI and the National Science Foundation™ (NSF) Arabidopsis 2010 Project, such as how the plant immune system controls pathogen defense, demonstrate that the plant genome science community is vibrant and capable of driving technological advancement. This book from the National Research Council concludes that these programs should continue so that applied programs on agriculture, bioenergy, and others will always be built on a strong foundation of fundamental plant biology research.

Achieving Effective Acquisition of Information Technology in the Department of Defense

by National Research Council of the National Academies

In the military, information technology (IT) has enabled profound advances in weapons systems and the management and operation of the defense enterprise. A significant portion of the Department of Defense (DOD) budget is spent on capabilities acquired as commercial IT commodities, developmental IT systems that support a broad range of warfighting and functional applications, and IT components embedded in weapons systems. The ability of the DOD and its industrial partners to harness and apply IT for warfighting, command and control and communications, logistics, and transportation has contributed enormously to fielding the world's best defense force. However, despite the DOD's decades of success in leveraging IT across the defense enterprise, the acquisition of IT systems continues to be burdened with serious problems. To address these issues, the National Research Council assembled a group of IT systems acquisition and T&E experts, commercial software developers, software engineers, computer scientists and other academic researchers. The group evaluated applicable legislative requirements, examined the processes and capabilities of the commercial IT sector, analyzed DOD's concepts for systems engineering and testing in virtual environments, and examined the DOD acquisition environment. The present volume summarizes this analysis and also includes recommendations on how to improve the acquisition, systems engineering, and T&E processes to achieve the DOD's network-centric goals.

Achieving Sustainable Global Capacity For Surveillance And Response To Emerging Diseases Of Zoonotic Origin: Workshop Report

by Institute of Medicine National Research Council of the National Academies

One of the biggest threats today is the uncertainty surrounding the emergence of a novel pathogen or the re-emergence of a known infectious disease that might result in disease outbreaks with great losses of human life and immense global economic consequences. Over the past six decades, most of the emerging infectious disease events in humans have been caused by zoonotic pathogens--those infectious agents that are transmitted from animals to humans. In June 2008, the Institute of Medicine's and National Research Council's Committee on Achieving Sustainable Global Capacity for Surveillance and Response to Emerging Diseases of Zoonotic Origin convened a workshop. This workshop addressed the reasons for the transmission of zoonotic disease and explored the current global capacity for zoonotic disease surveillance.

Acute Exposure Guideline Levels for Selected Airborne Chemicals: Volume 9

by National Research Council of the National Academies

This book is the ninth volume in the series Acute Exposure Guideline Levels for Selected Airborne Chemicals, and reviews AEGLs for bromine, ethylene oxide, furan, hydrogen sulfide, propylene oxide, and xylenes.

Advancing Aeronautical Safety: A Review of NASA's Aviation Safety-Related Research Programs

by National Research Council of the National Academies

Advancing the state of aviation safety is a central mission of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Congress requested this review of NASA's aviation safety-related research programs,seeking an assessment of whether the programs have well-defined,prioritized,and appropriate research objectives; whether resources have been allocated appropriately among these objectives; whether the programs are well coordinated with the safety research programs of the Federal Aviation Administration; and whether suitable mechanisms are in place for transitioning the research results into operational technologies and procedures and certification activities in a timely manner. Advancing Aeronautical Safety contains findings and recommendations with respect to each of the main aspects of the review sought by Congress. These findings indicate that NASA's aeronautics research enterprise has made,and continues to make,valuable contributions to aviation system safety but it is falling short and needs improvement in some key respects.

Advancing Scientific Research In Education

by National Research Council of the National Academies

Transforming education into an evidence-based field depends in no small part on a strong base of scientific knowledge to inform educational policy and practice. Advancing Scientific Research in Education makes select recommendations for strengthening scientific education research and targets federal agencies, professional associations, and universities—particularly schools of education—to take the lead in advancing the field.

Advancing the Competitiveness and Efficiency of the U.S. Construction Industry

by National Research Council of the National Academies

Construction productivity--how well, how quickly, and at what cost buildings and infrastructure can be constructed--directly affects prices for homes and consumer goods and the robustness of the national economy. Industry analysts differ on whether construction industry productivity is improving or declining. Still, advances in available and emerging technologies offer significant opportunities to improve construction efficiency substantially in the 21st century and to help meet other national challenges, such as environmental sustainability. Advancing the Competitiveness and Efficiency of the U.S. Construction Industry identifies five interrelated activities that could significantly improve the quality, timeliness, cost-effectiveness, and sustainability of construction projects. These activities include widespread deployment and use of interoperable technology applications; improved job-site efficiency through more effective interfacing of people, processes, materials, equipment, and information; greater use of prefabrication, preassembly, modularization, and off-site fabrication techniques and processes; innovative, widespread use of demonstration installations; and effective performance measurement to drive efficiency and support innovation. The book recommends that the National Institute of Standards and Technology work with industry leaders to develop a collaborative strategy to fully implement and deploy the five activities

Advancing the Science of Climate Change

by National Research Council of the National Academies

Climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for-and in many cases is already affecting-a broad range of human and natural systems. The compelling case for these conclusions is provided in Advancing the Science of Climate Change , part of a congressionally requested suite of studies known as America's Climate Choices. While noting that there is always more to learn and that the scientific process is never closed, the book shows that hypotheses about climate change are supported by multiple lines of evidence and have stood firm in the face of serious debate and careful evaluation of alternative explanations. As decision makers respond to these risks, the nation's scientific enterprise can contribute through research that improves understanding of the causes and consequences of climate change and also is useful to decision makers at the local, regional, national, and international levels. The book identifies decisions being made in 12 sectors, ranging from agriculture to transportation, to identify decisions being made in response to climate change. Advancing the Science of Climate Change calls for a single federal entity or program to coordinate a national, multidisciplinary research effort aimed at improving both understanding and responses to climate change. Seven cross-cutting research themes are identified to support this scientific enterprise. In addition, leaders of federal climate research should redouble efforts to deploy a comprehensive climate observing system, improve climate models and other analytical tools, invest in human capital, and improve linkages between research and decisions by forming partnerships with action-oriented programs.

Advice on the Department of Energy's CLEANUP TECHNOLOGY ROADMAP: Gaps and Bridges

by National Research Council of the National Academies

Beginning with the Manhattan Project and continuing through the Cold War, the United States government constructed and operated a massive industrial complex to produce and test nuclear weapons and related technologies. When the Cold War ended, most of this complex was shut down permanently or placed on standby, and the United States government began a costly, long-term effort to clean up the materials, wastes, and environmental contamination resulting from its nuclear materials production. In 1989, Congress created the Office of Environmental Management (EM) within the Department of Energy (DOE) to manage this cleanup effort. Although EM has already made substantial progress, the scope of EM's future cleanup work is enormous. Advice on the Department of Energy's Cleanup Technology Roadmap: Gaps and Bridges provides advice to support the development of a cleanup technology roadmap for EM. The book identifies existing technology gaps and their priorities, strategic opportunities to leverage needed research and development programs with other organizations, needed core capabilities, and infrastructure at national laboratories and EM sites that should be maintained, all of which are necessary to accomplish EM's mission.

Aeronautics Innovation: Nasa's Challenges And Opportunities

by National Research Council of the National Academies

NASA is a global leader in aeronautics research and development — fostering advances in aviation safety and emissions, propulsion technology, and many other areas. And the agency's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) has played a vital role in the U.S. aeronautics industry. In recent years, the directorate's leaders and experts outside the agency have sought ways to speed innovative uses of ARMD's research results. But the directorate faces management challenges that make it difficult for such applications to succeed — or to occur at all. This report from the National Academies' National Research Council, offers the agency guidance on how to manage the transfer of technology to external users, as well as implement flexible personnel and financial-management practices. The report also points out problems that stem from a lack of agreement on ARMD's future direction and several years of federal budget cuts.

Aging in Sub-Saharan Africa: Recommendation for Furthering Research

by National Research Council of the National Academies

In sub-Saharan Africa, older people make up a relatively small fraction of the total population and are supported primarily by family and other kinship networks. They have traditionally been viewed as repositories of information and wisdom, and are critical pillars of the community but as the HIV/AIDS pandemic destroys family systems, the elderly increasingly have to deal with the loss of their own support while absorbing the additional responsibilities of caring for their orphaned grandchildren. Aging in Sub-Saharan Africa explores ways to promote U.S. research interests and to augment the sub-Saharan governments' capacity to address the many challenges posed by population aging. Five major themes are explored in the book such as the need for a basic definition of "older person," the need for national governments to invest more in basic research and the coordination of data collection across countries, and the need for improved dialogue between local researchers and policy makers. This book makes three major recommendations: 1) the development of a research agenda 2) enhancing research opportunity and implementation and 3) the translation of research findings.

Agricultural Water Management: Proceedings of a Workshop in Tunisia

by National Research Council of the National Academies

This report contains a collection of papers from a workshop---Strengthening Science-Based Decision-Making for Sustainable Management of Scarce Water Resources for Agricultural Production, held in Tunisia. Participants, including scientists, decision makers, representatives of non-profit organizations, and a farmer, came from the United States and several countries in North Africa and the Middle East. The papers examined constraints to agricultural production as it relates to water scarcity; focusing on 1) the state of the science regarding water management for agricultural purposes in the Middle East and North Africa 2) how science can be applied to better manage existing water supplies to optimize the domestic production of food and fiber. The cross-cutting themes of the workshop were the elements or principles of science-based decision making, the role of the scientific community in ensuring that science is an integral part of the decision making process, and ways to improve communications between scientists and decision makers.

Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing Research at NIOSH: Reviews of Research Programs of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

by National Research Council of the National Academies

The agriculture, forestry, and fishing sectors are the cornerstone of industries that produce food, fiber, and biofuel. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducts research in order to improve worker safety and health in these sectors. This National Research Council book reviews the NIOSH Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing Program to evaluate the 1) relevance of its work to improvements in occupational safety and health and 2) the impact of research in reducing workplace illnesses and injuries. The assessment reveals that the program has made meaningful contributions to improving worker safety and health in these fields. To enhance the relevance and impact of its work and fulfill its mission, the NIOSH Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing Program should provide national leadership, coordination of research, and activities to transfer findings, technologies, and information into practice. The program will also benefit from establishing strategic goals and implementing a comprehensive surveillance system in order to better identify and track worker populations at risk.

Air Quality Management In The United States

by National Research Council of the National Academies

Managing the nation's air quality is a complex undertaking, involving tens of thousands of people in regulating thousands of pollution sources. The authors identify what has worked and what has not, and they offer wide-ranging recommendations for setting future priorities, making difficult choices, and increasing innovation. This new book explores how to better integrate scientific advances and new technologies into the air quality management system. The volume reviews the three-decade history of governmental efforts toward cleaner air, discussing how air quality standards are set and results measured, the design and implementation of control strategies, regulatory processes and procedures, special issues with mobile pollution sources, and more. The book looks at efforts to spur social and behavioral changes that affect air quality, the effectiveness of market-based instruments for air quality regulation, and many other aspects of the issue. Rich in technical detail, this book will be of interestto all those engaged in air quality management: scientists, engineers, industrial managers, law makers, regulators, health officials, clean-air advocates, and concerned citizens.

Allocating Federal Funds for State Programs for English Language Learners

by National Research Council of the National Academies

As the United States continues to be a nation of immigrants and their children, the nation's school systems face increased enrollments of students whose primary language is not English. With the 2001 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), the allocation of federal funds for programs to assist these students to be proficient in English became formula-based: 80 percent on the basis of the population of children with limited English proficiency1 and 20 percent on the basis of the population of recently immigrated children and youth. Title III of NCLB directs the U.S. Department of Education to allocate funds on the basis of the more accurate of two allowable data sources: the number of students reported to the federal government by each state education agency or data from the American Community Survey (ACS). The department determined that the ACS estimates are more accurate, and since 2005, those data have been basis for the federal distribution of Title III funds. Subsequently, analyses of the two data sources have raised concerns about that decision, especially because the two allowable data sources would allocate quite different amounts to the states. In addition, while shortcomings were noted in the data provided by the states, the ACS estimates were shown to fluctuate between years, causing concern among the states about the unpredictability and unevenness of program funding. In this context, the U.S. Department of Education commissioned the National Research Council to address the accuracy of the estimates from the two data sources and the factors that influence the estimates. The resulting book also considers means of increasing the accuracy of the data sources or alternative data sources that could be used for allocation purposes.

America's Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs

by National Research Council of the National Academies

As civil space policies and programs have evolved, the geopolitical environment has changed dramatically. Although the U.S. space program was originally driven in large part by competition with the Soviet Union, the nation now finds itself in a post-Cold War world in which many nations have established, or are aspiring to develop, independent space capabilities. Furthermore discoveries from developments in the first 50 years of the space age have led to an explosion of scientific and engineering knowledge and practical applications of space technology. The private sector has also been developing, fielding, and expanding the commercial use of space-based technology and systems. Recognizing the new national and international context for space activities, America's Future in Space is meant to advise the nation on key goals and critical issues in 21st century U.S. civil space policy.

Analysis Of Global Change Assessments Lessons Learned

by National Research Council of the National Academies

Global change assessments inform decision makers about the scientific underpinnings of a range of environmental issues, such as climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion, and loss of biodiversity. Dozens of assessments have been conducted to date by various U.S. and international groups, many of them influencing public policies, technology development, and research directions. This report analyzes strengths and weaknesses of eight past assessments to inform future efforts. Common elements of effective assessments include strong leadership, extensive engagement with interested and affected parties, a transparent science-policy interface, and well defined communication strategies. The report identifies 11 essential elements of effective assessments and recommends that future assessments include decision support tools that make use of information at the regional and local level where decisions are made.

Analyzing Information on Women-Owned Small Businesses in Federal Contracting

by National Research Council of the National Academies

The National Academies Press (NAP)--publisher for the National Academies--publishes more than 200 books a year offering the most authoritative views, definitive information, and groundbreaking recommendations on a wide range of topics in science, engineering, and health. Our books are unique in that they are authored by the nation's leading experts in every scientific field.

Analyzing the U.S. Content of Imports and the Foreign Content of Exports

by National Research Council of the National Academies

The National Academies Press (NAP)--publisher for the National Academies--publishes more than 200 books a year offering the most authoritative views, definitive information, and groundbreaking recommendations on a wide range of topics in science, engineering, and health. Our books are unique in that they are authored by the nation's leading experts in every scientific field.

Animal Care and Management at the National Zoo: Final Report

by National Research Council of the National Academies

This report follows up on an interim report released in February 2004 that focused on immediate needs in the areas of animal care and management, recordkeeping, and pest control. The report finds that the zoo has made good-faith efforts to correct deficiencies noted in the interim report and has made some noticeable improvements in the past year in zoo operations and animal care. However, problems in areas such as staff training, workplace culture, and strategic planning still need to be addressed. Specifically, the report recommends that the zoo immediately develop and implement animal-care training programs to ensure that people who are directly responsible for the well-being of its animal collection are adequately prepared and competent. The report commends a zoo-initiated strategic planning process as a positive step, but recommends it contain a more detailed, comprehensive strategy of how it will meet short-term goals and that it should link plans to upgrade facilities with those to acquire animals. The zoo should also focus on improving communication among keepers, veterinarians, nutritionists, senior managers, and curators.

Antarctica: A Keystone in a Changing World

by National Research Council of the National Academies

Antarctica is the center from which all surrounding continental bodies separated millions of years ago. Antarctica: A Keystone in a Changing World, reinforces the importance of continual changes in the country's history and the impact of these changes on global systems. The book also places emphasis on deciphering the climate records in ice cores, geologic cores, rock outcrops and those inferred from climate models. New technologies for the coming decades of geoscience data collection are also highlighted. Antarctica: A Keystone in a Changing World is a collection of papers that were presented by keynote speakers at the 10th International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Sciences. It is of interest to policy makers, researchers and scientific institutions.

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