range in size from 9 to 19 members, whose expertise is tailored to the technical fields covered by the directorate(s) that they review. In total, 95 experts participated, without compensation, in the process that led to this report.
The Board and panels are appointed by the National Research Council with an eye to assembling balanced slates of experts without conflicts of interest and with balanced perspectives. The 95 experts include current and former executives and research staff from industrial research and development (R&D) laboratories, leading academic researchers, and staff from Department of Energy national laboratories and federally funded R&D centers. Twenty-six of them are members of the National Academy of Engineering, 5 are members of the National Academy of Sciences, 3 are members of the Institute of Medicine, a number have been leaders in relevant professional societies, and several are past members of organizations such as the Army Science Board and the Defense Science Board. The Board and its panels are supported by NRC staff, who interact with ARL on a continuing basis to ensure that the Board and panels receive the information that they need to carry out their assessments. Board and panel members serve for finite terms, generally 4 years, staggered so that there is regular turnover and a refreshing of viewpoints.
Biographical information on the Board members appears in Appendix B, along with a list of the members of each panel.
The current report is the fifth biennial report of the Board. Its first biennial report was issued in 2000, and annual reviews by the Board were issued in 1996, 1997, and 1998. As with the earlier reviews, this report contains the Board’s judgments about the quality of ARL’s work (Chapters 2 through 7 focus on the individual directorates). The rest of this chapter explains the rich set of interactions that support those judgments.
The amount of information that is funneled to the Board, including the consensus evaluations of the recognized experts who make up the Board’s panels, provides a solid foundation for a thorough peer review. This review is based on a large amount of information received from ARL and on panel interactions with ARL staff. Most of the information exchange occurs during the annual meetings convened by the respective panels at the appropriate ARL sites. Both at scheduled meetings and in less formal interactions, ARL evinces a very healthy level of information exchange and acceptance of external comments. The assessment panels engaged in many constructive interactions with ARL staff during their annual site visits in 2007 and 2008. In addition, useful collegial exchanges took place between panel members and individual ARL investigators at outside meetings as ARL staff members sought additional clarification about panel comments or questions and drew on panel members’ contacts and sources of information.
Each panel meeting lasted 2½ days, during which time the panel members received a combination of overview briefings by ARL management and technical briefings by ARL staff. Prior to the meetings, some panels received extensive materials for review, including selected staff publications.
The overview briefings brought the panels up to date on ARL’s long-range planning. This context-building step is needed because the panels are purposely composed mostly of people who—while experts in the technical fields covered by the directorates(s) that they review—are not engaged in work focused on Army matters. Technical briefings for the panels focused on the R&D goals, strategies, methodologies, and results of selected projects at the laboratory. Briefings were targeted toward coverage of a
panels examine how well the development of ARO and ARL are coordinated. Appendix A provides information summarizing the organization and resources of ARL and its directorates.