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The Department of Defense (DOD) supports basic research to advance fundamental knowledge in fields important to national defense. Over the past six years, however, several groups have raised concern about whether the nature of DOD-funded basic research is changing. The concerns include these: Funds are being spent for research that does not fall under DOD's definition of basic research; reporting requirements have become cumbersome and onerous; and basic research is handled differently by the three services. To explore these concerns, the Congress directed DOD to request a study from the National Research Council (NRC) about the nature of basic research now being funded by the Department. Specifically the NRC was to determine if the programs in the DOD basic research portfolio are consistent with the DOD definition of basic research and with the characteristics associated with fundamental research.
Assessment Of Explosive Destruction Technologies For Specific Munitions At The Blue Grass And Pueblo Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plantsby National Research Council of the National Academies
The Army's ability to meet public and congressional demands to destroy expeditiously all of the U.S. declared chemical weapons would be enhanced by the selection and acquisition of appropriate explosive destruction technologies (EDTs) to augment the main technologies to be used to destroy the chemical weapons currently at the Blue Grass Army Depot (BGAD) in Kentucky and the Pueblo Chemical Depot (PCD) in Colorado. The Army is considering four EDTs for the destruction of chemical weapons: three from private sector vendors, and a fourth, Army-developed explosive destruction system (EDS). This book updates earlier evaluations of these technologies, as well as any other viable detonation technologies, based on several considerations including process maturity, process efficacy, process throughput, process safety, public and regulatory acceptability, and secondary waste issues, among others. It also provides detailed information on each of the requirements at BGAD and PCD and rates each of the existing suitable EDTs plus the Army's EDS with respect to how well it satisfies these requirements.
Various combinations of commercially available technologies could greatly reduce fuel consumption in passenger cars, sport-utility vehicles, minivans, and other light-duty vehicles without compromising vehicle performance or safety. Assessment of Technologies for Improving Light Duty Vehicle Fuel Economy estimates the potential fuel savings and costs to consumers of available technology combinations for three types of engines: spark-ignition gasoline, compression-ignition diesel, and hybrid. According to its estimates, adopting the full combination of improved technologies in medium and large cars and pickup trucks with spark-ignition engines could reduce fuel consumption by 29 percent at an additional cost of $2,200 to the consumer. Replacing spark-ignition engines with diesel engines and components would yield fuel savings of about 37 percent at an added cost of approximately $5,900 per vehicle, and replacing spark-ignition engines with hybrid engines and components would reduce fuel consumption by 43 percent at an increase of $6,000 per vehicle. The book focuses on fuel consumption--the amount of fuel consumed in a given driving distance--because energy savings are directly related to the amount of fuel used. In contrast, fuel economy measures how far a vehicle will travel with a gallon of fuel. Because fuel consumption data indicate money saved on fuel purchases and reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, the book finds that vehicle stickers should provide consumers with fuel consumption data in addition to fuel economy information.
Through an examination of case studies, agency briefings, and existing reports, and drawing on personal knowledge and direct experience, the Committee on Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Cooperation on Space and Earth Science Missions found that candidate projects for multiagency collaboration in the development and implementation of Earth-observing or space science missions are often intrinsically complex and, therefore costly, and that a multiagency approach to developing these missions typically results in additional complexity and cost. Advocates of collaboration have sometimes underestimated the difficulties and associated costs and risks of dividing responsibility and accountability between two or more partners; they also discount the possibility that collaboration will increase the risk in meeting performance objectives. This committee's principal recommendation is that agencies should conduct Earth and space science projects independently unless: It is judged that cooperation will result in significant added scientific value to the project over what could be achieved by a single agency alone; or Unique capabilities reside within one agency that are necessary for the mission success of a project managed by another agency; or The project is intended to transfer from research to operations necessitating a change in responsibility from one agency to another during the project; or There are other compelling reasons to pursue collaboration, for example, a desire to build capacity at one of the cooperating agencies. Even when the total project cost may increase, parties may still find collaboration attractive if their share of a mission is more affordable than funding it alone. In these cases, alternatives to interdependent reliance on another government agency should be considered. For example, agencies may find that buying services from another agency or pursuing interagency coordination of spaceflight data collection is preferable to fully interdependent cooperation.
More accurate forecasts of climate conditions over time periods of weeks to a few years could help people plan agricultural activities, mitigate drought, and manage energy resources, amongst other activities; however, current forecast systems have limited ability on these time- scales. Models for such climate forecasts must take into account complex interactions among the ocean, atmosphere, and land surface. Such processes can be difficult to represent realistically. To improve the quality of forecasts, this book makes recommendations about the development of the tools used in forecasting and about specific research goals for improving understanding of sources of predictability. To improve the accessibility of these forecasts to decision-makers and researchers, this book also suggests best practices to improve how forecasts are made and disseminated.
Assessment Of Millimeter-wave And Terahertz Technology For Detection And Identification Of Concealed Explosives And Weaponsby National Research Council of the National Academies
The security of the U.S. commercial aviation system has been a growing concern since the 1970’s when the hijacking of aircraft became a serious problem. Over that period, federal aviation officials have been searching for more effective ways for non-invasive screening of passengers, luggage, and cargo to detect concealed explosives and weapons. To assist in this effort, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) asked the NRC for a study of emerging screening technologies. This report—the third of four—focuses on currently maturing millimeter-wavelength/terahertz imaging and spectroscopy technologies that offer promise in meeting aviation security requirements. The report provides a description of the basic operation of these imaging systems, an assessment of their component technologies, an analysis of various system concepts, and an implementation strategy for deployment of millimeter-wavelength/terahertz technology screening systems.
Remote sensing data and models from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are the basis for a wide spectrum of scientific research endeavors and are key inputs to many public and private services. The NASA Applied Sciences Program (ASP) and its precursors have been tasked with ensuring the extension of NASA Earth observation data and associated research into practical applications for society through external partnerships. With approximately five years having elapsed under the current ASP structure, and a growing government-wide emphasis on societal benefits in its Earth observing programs, NASA and the ASP leadership asked the National Research Council to assess ASP's approach in extending NASA research results to practical, societal applications. The report recommends that ASP partnerships should focus not only federal agencies but alsoon direct engagement of the broader community of users. The report also recommends that ASP enhance communication and feedback mechanisms with its partners, with the end users and beneficiaries of NASA data and research, and with the NASA organization.
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.
This report provides an assessment of NIH’s programs for increasing the participation in biomedical science of individuals from underrepresented minority groups. The report examines, using available data and the results of a survey of NIH trainees, the characteristics and outcomes of programs at the undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral, and junior faculty levels. The report provides recommendations for improving these programs and their administration. It also recommends how NIH can improve the data it collects on trainees in all NIH research training programs so as to enhance training program evaluation.
The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has operated continuously since 1990. During that time, four space shuttle-based service missions were launched, three of which added major observational capabilities. A fifth — SM-4 — was intended to replace key telescope systems and install two new instruments. The loss of the space shuttle Columbia, however, resulted in a decision by NASA not to pursue the SM-4 mission leading to a likely end of Hubble’s useful life in 2007-2008. This situation resulted in an unprecedented outcry from scientists and the public. As a result, NASA began to explore and develop a robotic servicing mission; and Congress directed NASA to request a study from the National Research Council (NRC) of the robotic and shuttle servicing options for extending the life of Hubble. This report presents an assessment of those two options. It provides an examination of the contributions made by Hubble and those likely as the result of a servicing mission, and a comparative analysis of the potential risk of the two options for servicing Hubble. The study concludes that the Shuttle option would be the most effective one for prolonging Hubble’s productive life.
President Carter’s 1980 declaration of a state of emergency at Love Canal, New York, recognized that residents’ health had been affected by nearby chemical waste sites. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, enacted in 1976, ushered in a new era of waste management disposal designed to protect the public from harm. It required that modern waste containment systems use “engineered” barriers designed to isolate hazardous and toxic wastes and prevent them from seeping into the environment. These containment systems are now employed at thousands of waste sites around the United States, and their effectiveness must be continually monitored. Assessment of the Performance of Engineered Waste Containment Barriers assesses the performance of waste containment barriers to date. Existing data suggest that waste containment systems with liners and covers, when constructed and maintained in accordance with current regulations, are performing well thus far. However, they have not been in existence long enough to assess long-term (postclosure) performance, which may extend for hundreds of years. The book makes recommendations on how to improve future assessments and increase confidence in predictions of barrier system performance which will be of interest to policy makers, environmental interest groups, industrial waste producers, and industrial waste management industry.
NASA maintains a planetary protection policy to avoid the forward biological contamination of other worlds by terrestrial organisms, and back biological contamination of Earth from the return of extraterrestrial materials by spaceflight missions. Forward-contamination issues related to Mars missions were addressed in a 2006 National Research Council (NRC) book, Preventing the Forward Contamination of Mars. However, it has been more than 10 years since back-contamination issues were last examined. Driven by a renewed interest in Mars sample return missions, this book reviews, updates, and replaces the planetary protection conclusions and recommendations contained in the NRC's 1997 report Mars Sample Return: Issues and Recommendations. The specific issues addressed in this book include the following: The potential for living entities to be included in samples returned from Mars; Scientific investigations that should be conducted to reduce uncertainty in the above assessment; The potential for large-scale effects on Earth's environment by any returned entity released to the environment; Criteria for intentional sample release, taking note of current and anticipated regulatory frameworks; and The status of technological measures that could be taken on a mission to prevent the inadvertent release of a returned sample into Earth's biosphere.
An Assessment Of Potential Health Effects From Exposure To Pave Paws Low-level Phased-array Radiofrequency Energyby National Research Council of the National Academies
PAVE PAWS is a phased-array warning system designed to detect and track sea-launched and intercontinental ballistic missiles operated on Cape Cod since 1979 by the U.S. Air Force Space Command. In 1979, the National Research Council issued two reports to address concerns from Cape Cod residents about the safety and possible health effects of the radiofrequency energy from the radar. Following up on the1979 report, the new report finds no evidence of adverse health effects to Cape Cod residents from long-term exposure to the PAVE PAWS radar. The report specifically investigated whether the PAVE PAWS radar might be responsible in part for the reported higher rates of certain cancers in the area, but concludes there is no increase in the total number of cancers or in specific cancers of the prostate, breast, lung, or colon due to radiation exposure from PAVE PAWS. The report did find in the scientific literature a few biological responses to radiofrequency exposures that were statistically significant. Such responses do not necessarily result in adverse health effects, but the report recommends additional studies to better discern the significance, if any, of those findings.
All six species of sea turtles found in U.S. waters are listed as endangered or threatened, but the exact population sizes of these species are unknown due to a lack of key information regarding birth and survival rates. The U.S. Endangered Species Act prohibits the hunting of sea turtles and reduces incidental losses from activities such as shrimp trawling and development on beaches used for nesting. However, current monitoring does not provide enough information on sea turtle populations to evaluate the effectiveness of these protective measures. Sea Turtle Status and Trends reviews current methods for assessing sea turtle populations and finds that although counts of sea turtles are essential, more detailed information on sea turtle biology, such as survival rates and breeding patterns, is needed to predict and understand changes in populations in order to develop successful management and conservation plans.
The U.S. Army’s Chemical Materials Agency (CMA) currently oversees contracts for the operation of chemical agent stockpile incineration facilities at four disposal sites. Because the period of time required to dispose of these chemical agents has grown beyond that originally planned, the Army is becoming concerned about the possibility of growing operational problems as the processing equipment ages. To help address these concerns, the CMA requested the NRC to assess whether current policies and practices will be able to adequately anticipate and address facility obsolescence issues. This report presents a review of potential infrastructure and equipment weaknesses given that the facilities are being operated well beyond their original design lifetime; an assessment of the Army’s current and evolving obsolescence management programs; and offers recommendations about how the programs may be improved and strengthened to permit safe and expeditious completion of agent stockpile destruction and facility closure.
An Assessment Of The National Institute Of Standards And Technology Building And Fire Research Laboratory: Fiscal Year 2008by National Research Council of the National Academies
A panel of experts appointed by the National Research Council assessed the scientific and technical work of the Building and Fire Research Laboratory (BFRL) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The scope of the assessment included the following criteria: (1) the technical merit of the current laboratory programs relative to the current state of the art worldwide; (2) the adequacy of the laboratory facilities, equipment, and human resources, as they affect the quality of the laboratory technical programs; and (3) the degree to which the laboratory programs in measurement science and standards achieve their stated objectives and desired impact. The book finds that, overall the technical merit of the programs reviewed within the BFRL is very high and generally at a state-of-the-art level. The programs have clear ties to the overall BFRL Strategic Priority Areas and are well aligned with the mission of NIST, which is to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.
An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Building and Fire Research Laboratory: Fiscal Year 2010by National Research Council of the National Academies
A panel of experts appointed by the National Research Council assessed the scientific and technical work of the Building and Fire Research Laboratory (BFRL) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The scope of the assessment included the following criteria: (1) the technical merit of the current laboratory programs relative to the current state of the art worldwide; (2) the adequacy of the laboratory facilities, equipment, and human resources, as they affect the quality of the laboratory technical programs; and (3) the degree to which the laboratory programs in measurement science and standards achieve their stated objectives and desired impact.
An Assessment Of The National Institute Of Standards And Technology Center For Neutron Research: Fiscal Year 2007by National Research Council of the National Academies
The book on the NCNR presents a general assessment of the Lab, followed by assessments of its facilities and personnel, its role as a user facility, and its science and technology. The book notes that the NCNR provides a high flux of neutrons to an evolving suite of high-quality instruments, has a substantial and satisfied external user community, and its in-house science and technology is robust.
An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Center for Neutron Research: Fiscal Year 2010by National Research Council of the National Academies
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Center for Neutron Research (NCNR) is a national user facility whose mission is to ensure the availability of neutron measurement capabilities in order to meet the needs of U.S. researchers from industry, academia, and government agencies. This mission is aligned with the mission of NIST, which is to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve the quality of life. As requested by the Deputy Director of NIST, this book assesses NCNR, based on the following criteria: (1) the technical merit of the current laboratory programs relative to current state-of-the-art programs worldwide; (2) the adequacy of the laboratory budget, facilities, equipment, and human resources, as they affect the quality of the laboratory technical programs; and (3) the degree to which the laboratory programs in measurement science and standards achieve their stated objectives and desired impact.
An Assessment Of The National Institute Of Standards And Technology Chemical Science And Technology Laboratory: Fiscal Year 2007by National Research Council of the National Academies
The report on the CSTL presents an assessment of the Lab’s five divisions, covering—where appropriate—how well each division addresses national priorities, its impact and level of innovation, its technical merit, and its infrastructure. The report notes that the CSTL is meeting its obligations and its priorities are appropriate and aligned with national priorities.
An Assessment Of The National Institute Of Standards And Technology Electronics And Electrical Engineering Laboratory: Fiscal Year 2007by National Research Council of the National Academies
The report on the EEEL presents an assessment of the Lab’s four divisions. The assessment is based on four criteria: alignment with national priorities, motivation of its programs, technical merit, and technical program quality. The report also provides a look at three additional concerns: staffing and funding, international issues, and the planning process.
An Assessment Of The National Institute Of Standards And Technology Information Technology Laboratory: Fiscal Year 2007by National Research Council of the National Academies
The report on the ITL presents a general assessment of the laboratory including a look at its research strategies, opportunities, planning for growth, research culture, and computing infrastructure; and provides assessments of the laboratory’s six divisions. The report notes that the work of the ITL generally ranks at or near the top of the work being done by peer institutions.
An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory: Fiscal Year 2010by National Research Council of the National Academies
The mission of the Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory (MEL) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is to promote innovation and the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing through measurement science, measurement services, and critical technical contributions to standards. The MEL is organized in five divisions: Intelligent Systems, Manufacturing Metrology, Manufacturing Systems Integration, Precision Engineering, and Fabrication Technology. A panel of experts appointed by the National Research Council (NRC) assessed the first four divisions.
An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory: Fiscal Year 2010by National Research Council of the National Academies
The Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory (MSEL) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) works with industry, standards bodies, universities, and other government laboratories to improve the nation's measurements and standards infrastructure for materials. A panel of experts appointed by the National Research Council (NRC) assessed the four divisions of MSEL, by visiting these divisions and reviewing their activities.
An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: FISCAL YEARS 2004 - 2005by National Research Council of the National Academies
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Measurements and Standards Laboratories (MSL) provide technical leadership for the nation’s measurement and standards infrastructure and assure the availability of essential reference data and measurement capabilities. At NIST’s request the National Research Council (NRC) carries out a biennial assessment of the seven MSL. The assessment focuses on each laboratory’s technical quality and merit; and effectiveness. It also examines the relevance of the NIST programs and how well laboratory facilities, equipment, and personnel are able to fulfill the MSL mission. This report presents an overall assessment of the MSL followed by detailed assessments of each of the seven laboratories.