size from 10 to 20 members, whose expertise is carefully matched to the technical fields covered by the directorate(s) that they review. In total, 96 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 96 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-eight of them are members of the National Academy of Engineering, 4 are members of the National Academy of Sciences, and 1 is a member 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 to 6 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 sixth biennial report of ARLTAB. Its first biennial report was issued in 2000; annual reviews by the Board had been 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, and Chapter 8 provides a crosscutting overview of ARL). 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 2009 and 2010. The dates of the panel site visits are included in the introductory section of Chapters 2 through 7 on the individual directorates. In addition, useful collegial exchanges took place between panel members and individual ARL investigators outside of scheduled 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, 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
does not have a panel specifically devoted to the Army Research Office, which is another unit of ARL, but all Board panels examine how well the in-house research and development of ARO and ARL are coordinated. Appendix A provides information summarizing the organization and resources of ARL and its directorates.