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5 Conclusions and Recommendations The Ofﬁce of Naval Research (ONR) asked the National Research Council (NRC) to examine the state of basic and applied research in the scien- tific ﬁelds that support naval engineering and to advise it on whether ONR activities, under its National Naval Responsibility for Naval Engineering (NNR-NE) initiative, have been effective in sustaining these ﬁelds. The study committee was also to identify opportunities to enhance innovation, research, and graduate education in these ﬁelds and identify areas of scien- tiﬁc research that provide opportunities to make fundamental advances in naval ship capabilities. The committee’s conclusions and recommendations are presented in ﬁve sections: the justiﬁcation and value of the NNR-NE; the state of sci- ence and technology (S&T) supporting naval engineering; the complete- ness and balance of the NNR-NE portfolio of basic and applied research; opportunities for enhancement of research and graduate and post- doctoral education, and related institutional and physical infrastructure; and, ﬁnally, the effectiveness of the NNR-NE initiative. Recommendations are addressed to the administrators of the NNR-NE initiative and of ONR. Several of the recommendations that concern scientiﬁc research oppor- tunities could be acted on within the present structure of the initiative. Recommendations for measures to increase the effectiveness of NNR-NE and to enhance innovation, research, and graduate education through changes in management processes would require action by senior ONR administrators. 174
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Conclusions and Recommendations 175 NEED FOR AND VALUE OF NNR-NE Need for Navy Support Research provides the fundamental technology and knowledge that ensure Navy success in future operations. Within the Navy’s research portfolio are basic and applied research programs that provide advances in knowledge and technology and lead to future naval capabilities. Some of the basic and applied research used by the Navy is supported by the Department of Defense (DOD), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and other agencies. However, some basic and applied research is so speciﬁc to Navy needs that it is sup- ported only by the Navy. Without Navy support the research would not be performed. NNR-NE was created to support such research. Navy support is necessary for basic and early applied research programs that • Are in ﬁelds critical to naval engineering that would not make progress without Navy support, • Have a long-term horizon (i.e., programs that expect to yield progress on fundamental problems over a 10- to 20-year period), and • Have potential for broad application and for discovery of knowledge that may lead to advances in naval capabilities. Navy support for NNR-NE research is critical for several reasons. Tech- nological progress is essential to security to ensure that naval superiority is maintained as the operating environment, missions, and resources avail- able to the Navy change in the future. The history of innovation in ship design and development provides examples of cases in which basic and early applied research in ﬁelds related to naval engineering was essential to the development of new naval capabilities. Moreover, the potential exists for high-payoff applications of research in progress today, even if the probability and form of applications cannot be predicted precisely. Finally, in areas where improvements in ship design and capability have been slow (e.g., innovations that aid in cost control), it is likely that lack of innovation can be attributed, in part, to past lack of support for basic research. Navy support for NNR-NE is also valuable because DOD funding of basic and applied research historically has yielded beneﬁts beyond national
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176 Naval Engineering in the 21st Century defense and DOD is a primary funder of research and graduate education in a number of engineering disciplines of importance to the U.S. economy. Without Navy support, the critical mass of technical expertise and research talent in these ﬁelds would not be maintained, and the capability to inno- vate in naval engineering would be lost in the United States. Value of NNR-NE Conclusion 1: The NNR-NE, as deﬁned in the 2001 ONR memoran- dum establishing it and the ONR instructions deﬁning the NNRs in general, is a useful means of organizing ONR support of basic and applied research in the scientiﬁc and technical ﬁelds that underlie naval engineering. Assigning the NNR designation established Navy policy that the identi- ﬁed activities are deserving of special consideration in planning and budgeting at ONR and that the activities are to be coordinated to sustain U.S. research capability to work on problems important to the Navy, maintain the supply of scientists and engineers in disciplines of unique Navy importance, and ensure that ONR can continue to provide the S&T products necessary for naval superiority. The NNR-NE designa- tion is intended to establish naval engineering as an ONR priority, deﬁne ONR objectives in naval engineering, and create a management structure for integrating a diverse group of basic and applied research programs with education and outreach activities. ONR’s naval engi- neering activities need these three elements—high priority, clear objec- tives, and effective management. ONR has designated four ﬁelds as NNRs: ocean acoustics, underwater weaponry, undersea medicine, and naval engineering. Among these ﬁelds, the need for NNR designation is arguably the greatest for naval engineer- ing. Management of research in the other three ﬁelds is simpler, because each has a relatively narrow focus and the research objectives and research community to be sustained are relatively easy to deﬁne. In contrast, naval engineering is an essentially integrative activity that must apply scientiﬁc knowledge from an expansive array of disciplines to solve multiple com- plex problems of naval ship design. Therefore, the attention to long-term planning and research coordination that the NNR process calls for is crit- ical for producing naval engineering innovation.
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Conclusions and Recommendations 177 HEALTH OF THE S&T ENTERPRISE SUPPORTING NAVAL ENGINEERING The committee examined the state of research, education, and physical and institutional infrastructure in the ﬁelds supporting naval engineering iden- tiﬁed by ONR as within the scope of NNR-NE: ship design tools; structural systems; hydromechanics and hull design; propulsors; automation, control, and system integration; and platform power and energy. Because of the breadth of the relevant scientiﬁc ﬁelds and the constraints of the study’s schedule and resources, the committee does not regard its assessments as deﬁnitive. The committee’s recommendations propose a process for monitoring the health of these ﬁelds systematically so that ONR can obtain the information it needs to guide sound research investment decisions. State of Research The committee’s conclusions address the status of the research enterprise in the scientiﬁc and technical ﬁelds supporting naval engineering as these ﬁelds are pursued in universities, government laboratories, and industry. The committee deﬁned the health of research in a ﬁeld in terms of the three kinds of research outputs intended from ONR’s S&T investments: knowl- edge, transitions, and people (ONR 2009, 4). A healthy research ﬁeld was deﬁned as one that is productive in advancing fundamental knowledge, has strong linkages to engineering practice as evidenced by the transition of discoveries to applications and by the existence of effective channels of communication between researchers and practitioners, and has posi- tive prospects as evidenced by the development and retention of talented researchers and by the attraction of new researchers and resources. Typ- ically, in a healthy research ﬁeld, diverse topics are under investigation, many research methods are in use, and the resources allow ample oppor- tunity for creative research and for the pursuit of transition opportunities. The ultimate success of research depends on the availability of practition- ers who are aware of the latest scientiﬁc developments, who are proﬁcient in the latest techniques, and who maintain close communication with the research community. Conclusion 2: Some of the ﬁelds within the NNR-NE derive strength from a breadth of related applications. These ﬁelds beneﬁt from a
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178 Naval Engineering in the 21st Century diversity of funding sources and opportunities for cross-fertilization among communities of researchers working under different sponsor- ship. For example, vibrant research communities are devoted to com- putational ﬂuid dynamics and to structural materials and systems. In these ﬁelds, the tasks for the NNR-NE initiative are to ensure that the Navy takes full advantage of the broad pool of researchers that could con- tribute to solving its high-priority problems and to fund basic and applied research on speciﬁc problems relevant only to Navy applications. Mech- anisms for these purposes may include better marketing of ONR support opportunities and establishment of more structured interactions with other sponsoring agencies. In other NNR-NE ﬁelds or subﬁelds (e.g., propulsors and naval hydro- dynamics), ONR and other Navy agencies are nearly the only sources of support. If the Navy were to identify an urgent need to expand research related to naval problems in these ﬁelds, the pool of researchers qualiﬁed to work immediately on such problems and not already occupied with Navy-sponsored research would be small. ONR has great responsibility for sustaining education and the institutional infrastructure in these ﬁelds. Because of the differences among NNR-NE disciplines, ONR activities to fulﬁll its NNR-NE obligations need to be tailored to the status of each ﬁeld. Hydrodynamics and Hull Design; Propulsors Conclusion 3a: The major supporters of hydrodynamics basic research in the United States historically have been the Navy, NSF, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). NSF supports a diverse and substantial program of basic and applied research in ﬂuid mechanics, including projects that have potential applications ranging from chemical engineering to robotics to medicine, but few address hydrodynamics problems of likely relevance to naval engineering. The ﬁeld of naval hydromechanics, that is, research aimed at understand- ing the physical phenomena that determine the hydrodynamic and hydro- acoustic performance of naval ships, arguably would not survive without Navy support. The move in recent years to replace experimental work with computation—in part to save costs (and time)—has not yet achieved the ultimate potential savings and has in fact created new demands for experimentation and measurements to provide the necessary validation
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Conclusions and Recommendations 179 and calibration of codes and models. Given current resources and objec- tives, the current mix of U.S. naval hydrodynamics basic research (pri- marily, the ONR program) may be the best that can be achieved to meet narrowly focused needs. However, the overall program is stretched thin and will not be able to meet unanticipated critical Navy needs. More important, it does not have sufﬁcient depth in more basic investigations to generate the breakthrough and disruptive technologies that could redeﬁne naval engineering in the future. The balance between computational and experimental work in hydro- dynamics must be carefully monitored. Experimental validation remains an essential step in the development of hydrodynamic models. However, experiments are costly and therefore more vulnerable during periods of budget pressure. Experimental facilities depend on funded research for their support and without use will deteriorate. Major research facilities are maintained and used at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division (NSWC-CD), and elsewhere, primarily at universities. Structural Systems Conclusion 3b: U.S. industry supports little naval structures research because few large commercial ships are built in the United States. Naval structures research is performed and funded in the commercial sector in such countries as Japan and Korea, where commercial shipbuilding is a major industry. Basic research in structures and structural materials (that is, research not focused on naval applications) has a broad range of potential applications and receives support from multiple public sources (including NSF and NASA) as well as private-sector sources; therefore, many structures researchers are working in the United States who could perform naval structures research if they received funding from ONR. However, the health of the ﬁeld of structures research directly related to naval engineering, exclusive of ONR activities, can only be considered as poor to fair in the United States. Ship Design Tools Conclusion 3c: Little research in the United States is aimed at developing improved tools and methods for use in the early stages of the design of naval ships.
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180 Naval Engineering in the 21st Century In the early design stages, the performance requirements for the new ship must be translated into a viable design concept, and the design is deﬁned up to the level of detail required for making cost and construction sched- ule estimates (contract design). Decisions made at the early design stages determine the basic architecture of the ship and ship systems and costs of construction and ownership. At the same time, the shipbuilding industry, with Navy support, has invested signiﬁcantly in the development of tools for detail design, the stage of design that produces the plans and procedures that guide the shipyard construction workers and provides control over construction cost and schedule. These shipyard design tools are more advanced than are those in use for commercial ship design and construction, because the complexity of modern naval ships demands more sophisticated methods. The advanced shipyard design tools have potential uses throughout all stages of design. Some recent acquisition programs have applied inte- grated product and process development, an approach to ship design and construction in which the early design stages are integrated with construction planning to improve the efﬁciency with which performance and cost objectives are met. However, broader use of shipyard design tools and databases in this manner may be hindered because there has been little transition of the technology developed by private-sector ship- yards to Navy ship designers, many advances are regarded as proprietary, and the level of detail in associated databases is often not compatible with the early-stage analysis of alternatives and set-based design for new concepts. The NNR-NE portfolio does not include investments in detail design tools because development of these tools is not considered to be basic research. In general, research in ship design tools tends to be focused on the transition of basic research knowledge gained in multiple disciplines to design applications; hence, it is often perceived as applied research and may receive low priority in programs oriented toward basic research. Nonetheless, there are basic research opportunities associated with generic technologies such as systems engineering, multidisciplinary opti- mization, set-based design, efﬁciency and accuracy of solvers, physics-based modeling, and multiphysics coupling techniques. These opportunities are particularly relevant for advanced ship concepts where there is often a lack of existing rules-based methods and experimental data and existing tools
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Conclusions and Recommendations 181 have not been veriﬁed, validated, or accredited for use. Because basic re- search on ship design tools has a limited range of potential applications and receives meager support from government and private-sector sources, few researchers in the United States are predisposed to perform such research even if increased funding in the ﬁeld were available from ONR. Ship design tools research is actively pursued in the commercial sector in Asia (where commercial design and shipbuilding are thriving competi- tive industries) and in Europe. The focus in these markets is on large product carriers, containerships, passenger ships, and offshore vessels and platforms, and therefore the research has limited applicability and little opportunity for transition to naval combatant ship design. However, the international design industry has produced tools with potential applica- tion to early-stage naval ship design. Automation, Control, and System Integration Conclusion 3d: Research in automation and control receives signiﬁ- cant support from NSF and from DOD. Both agencies support basic research, and DOD is the major supporter of applied research. NASA has supported work in this area in the past. Basic and applied research in automation and control outside ONR appears to be strong in terms of funding and numbers of researchers. In general, controls, embedded systems, and automation are relatively well-funded topics in engineering research today. This activity includes research rele- vant to naval systems. The evident ONR niche in the ﬁeld is application to very speciﬁc Navy requirements (e.g., robotic underwater vehicles). Sys- tem integration has fewer researchers but is funded by government agen- cies in addition to the Navy. As with automation and control, the principal Navy-speciﬁc problems appear to be application to special needs. Platform Power and Energy Conclusion 3e: Ensuring efﬁcient transition of new power and energy technology to the designers and builders of Navy ships is an urgent concern.
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182 Naval Engineering in the 21st Century Power and energy technology is a dynamic ﬁeld driven by developments in computing, telecommunications, and power electronics for industrial, consumer, and grid applications. Research and development in power sys- tems is conducted and funded by industry, the Department of Energy, NSF, and DOD. DOD, and in particular the Navy, has been among the leaders in the funding of research to support design of power systems of up to 100-MW capacity matching Navy needs. Research on land-based systems can be expected to make a major contribution to components and subsystem technologies that meet the Navy’s special power system requirements. The Navy seeks to develop power and energy systems for ships that will be equipped with electric drives and with electrically pow- ered weapons, high-power radars, and electrical components replacing hydraulic systems. Because future shipboard systems will be of small phys- ical dimensions and have power demands far exceeding the available on- board generation, the problems and possibilities for ship-based power system control and energy storage differ signiﬁcantly from those for land-based systems. Each weapon and radar system will not be able to bring its own power system on board, and the future ship power system will be different from that of the past. Monitoring the Health of the S&T Fields That Support Naval Engineering Recommendation 1: To fulfill its obligation under the NNR-NE to sustain U.S. research capability to work on problems important to the Navy, ONR should carry out regular systematic assessments of the state of health of each of the research fields supporting naval engineering in the United States. ONR assessments should examine the objectives and progress of related research supported by ONR, other DOD agencies, other federal govern- ment agencies, and the private sector. The examination should include research in each ﬁeld that is supported by non-Navy sources and moti- vated by the potential for applications outside naval engineering but that may constitute a pool of expertise and facilities that could be brought to bear quickly on problems important to the Navy, if support were avail- able and researchers were induced to work on naval engineering problems.
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Conclusions and Recommendations 183 Judging the relevance of current work in each ﬁeld to the Navy mission should be part of the assessments. The most meaningful measure of the health of research in the ﬁelds sup- porting naval engineering is evidence of technology-driven improvement in ship performance and cost. Therefore, as part of its monitoring of the health of these research ﬁelds, ONR should evaluate U.S. and worldwide innovation in naval engineering practice. ONR’s international connections through the participation of foreign institutions in sponsored research in the NNR-NE will be valuable as a source of information about worldwide developments. The evaluation should look beyond ONR’s own programs (a) to ask whether progress in performance is being made (according to rec- ognized measures such as match to threats, cost, and survivability) and (b) to determine the sources of the technologies that allowed progress. State of Education Training of Future Researchers Conclusion 4: The U.S. graduate education establishment that con- ducts research and trains future researchers in the NNR-NE ﬁelds draws strength from the diversity of the S&T disciplines engaged. However, research centers and departments concentrating on certain specialized ﬁelds critical to naval engineering and deriving a large share of their research support from ONR (including centers and departments that perform research in hydrodynamics and in ship design methods) may be vulnerable. A decline in research support for these ﬁelds would cause these departments to diminish or disappear. Critical research capabilities would be lost, and the supply of future researchers would be interrupted. Professional Education Conclusion 5: The Navy recognizes that providing for the develop- ment of future naval engineers is essential to its mission. ONR has ini- tiated outreach programs to attract new students to the naval engineering disciplines, but they are limited in scope and resources given the needs. The recently funded Naval Engineering Education Consortium may prove to be of value in recruiting and developing students in naval systems engineering.
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184 Naval Engineering in the 21st Century The supply of engineering graduates for professional and research careers in naval engineering is constrained by citizenship requirements. Persons who are not U.S. citizens have difﬁculty in obtaining permanent residency even with advanced degrees and training in needed disciplines. Current initiatives are useful to the Navy in attracting new students into naval engineering and maintaining an adequate pipeline of capable researchers for the future, but the resources devoted to those initiatives are limited, and vigilance will be necessary to ensure that Navy needs continue to be met. Conclusion 6: Few graduate professional engineering programs in the United States provide multidisciplinary education focused on naval engineering problems. While more than 20 colleges or universities offer programs having some link to maritime, naval, or ocean engineering at the undergraduate level, only 12 offer a naval engineering course of study at the graduate level. Graduate programs with strong multidisciplinary components are the most promising setting for development of the knowledge and skills required to carry out the essential integrative function of naval engineering. Recommendation 2: ONR should make a special effort to encourage multidisciplinary graduate programs focused on naval engineering that train future researchers and professionals. State of Infrastructure The committee understood the reference to infrastructure in its task state- ment to mean institutional as well as physical infrastructure. Institutional infrastructure was defined as the established institutional framework of research in naval engineering—schools; university, government, and industry research laboratories; grant-making organizations such as ONR and NSF; and scientiﬁc and professional societies. Physical infrastructure was deﬁned as the structures and equipment required to carry out research in the naval engineering–related ﬁelds, for example, towing tanks, wave basins, and cavitation ﬂow tunnels for experimental hydrodynamics and structural test facilities.
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Conclusions and Recommendations 209 The enterprisewide strategic planning and assessment process should include the following: • A process to develop NNR-NE strategic priorities with respect to con- nectivity with the wider naval engineering community as well as to communication with stakeholders, technical advisory groups, the user community, and the broader research community. The process should include adoption of one or more of the cooperative research mod- els reviewed in the 2002 NRC Committee on Options for Naval Engineering Cooperative Research report; • A process to identify NNR-NE priorities associated with human capital and organizational development; and • Metrics associated with connectivity with the naval engineering com- munity and human capital and organizational development. Recommendation 11: ONR should identify, utilize, and periodically reassess metrics to measure NNR-NE portfolio balance, in line with ONR’s stated goals and articulated mission needs. Once established, these metrics should be incorporated into ONR’s enterprisewide assess- ment and continuous process improvement program. Recommendation 12: As input to the identiﬁcation of performers, to enhance systematic dissemination of Navy mission and needs, and to improve communications between ONR and operational Navy units, in managing NNR-NE, ONR should utilize mission capability managers who are responsible for understanding speciﬁc end-to-end Navy mis- sions (e.g., antisubmarine warfare–antisurface warfare). All program ofﬁcers should justify their projects in terms of NNR-NE goals, and ONR management should ensure that all aspects of the goals are attended to. Necessary elements of the recommended process include maintenance of a team of talented and experienced managers, including managers responsible for acting as technology interpreters (as deﬁned below); an internal review process for administrative accountability; arrangements for vertical and horizontal integration of the NNR-NE research portfolio with other related research and development within and beyond ONR; and peer review (as proposed below) for quality control, relevance, and accountability.
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210 Naval Engineering in the 21st Century Measuring the Output of NNR-NE ONR uses three groups of metrics as indices of the output of its invest- ments in its Discovery and Invention activities, including NNR-NE: papers published, paper citations, and patents (as measures of new knowledge produced); basic and applied research results that lead to Innovative Naval Prototype or Future Naval Capabilities projects and basic research results that lead to applied research projects (as measures of transitions of results toward application); and numbers of graduate students supported, participants completing degrees, and participants joining Navy laboratories (as measures of contribution to the research workforce). These metrics provide useful information. Trends will indi- cate whether research is being completed and students are being trained at rates consistent with experience. The transitions measures may indi- cate the strength of NNR-NE’s linkage to ONR’s later-stage research and development activities. However, the present metrics fall short of adequate measures of ONR’s investment in NNRs. The transitions metrics are problematic for a basic research program because a basis for determining an acceptable transition “batting average” is lacking. Basic research should be expected to have a low frequency of direct payoffs but often very high value when there is a payoff. Also, basic research can lead to innovation by paths that are indi- rect and difﬁcult to observe. Papers published and students supported are limited in value as metrics because they correlate with funding levels regardless of the value of output. ONR should systematically monitor the state of the S&T ﬁelds that sup- port naval engineering, in the United States and internationally. The indi- cators produced by this monitoring would be metrics of the impact of NNR-NE, because the NNR-NE initiative is intended to ensure the long- term health of these ﬁelds. Recommendation 13: As part of the research portfolio management process for NNR-NE, ONR should develop a set of research perfor- mance metrics that assess the contribution of its investments to dis- covery and innovation. In addition to the traditional numbers of publications, patents, and citations, ONR should develop metrics of portfolio impact, discovery, and innovation. These metrics should be inputs to investment decisions in managing the NNR-NE. They also
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Conclusions and Recommendations 211 should be used to increase visibility and understanding of the impor- tance of ONR naval engineering research investments. Research successes identiﬁed through the metrics should be publicized and com- municated broadly, and research excellence should be incentivized and celebrated in order to raise the visibility of high-quality research and raise the standard of research quality. Recommendation 14: Because of the importance and complexity of emerging problems in naval engineering S&T, along with increasing demands for integrative and interdisciplinary research across all tech- nological disciplines (NRC 1999), ONR should consider, as part of its continuous process improvement and assessment practices, adopting integrative and interdisciplinary metrics of performance in and across each of the NNR-NE functional areas. Planning and assessment of a program of basic and early applied research present special problems. Individual basic research projects are inherently high-risk, and the social beneﬁt of the information a project produces may only appear after a long time and through a difﬁcult-to-trace sequence of events. Because of this difﬁculty, the results of planning and assessment exercises will be imperfect, and determination of useful procedures will require trial and error initially. However, a major share of the basic research within NNR-NE falls into the category of basic research deﬁned by the 2005 NRC Committee on Department of Defense Basic Research as “focused research in response to identiﬁed DOD technology needs” rather than in the category of studies aimed at “discovery arising from unfettered exploration” (NRC 2005, 3). That is, practical problems that the research may help solve are recog- nized. When the ultimate goal is deﬁned, all research should have a spec- iﬁed relationship to the goal. The 2005 NRC committee also observed that if research managers insist that the value of basic research cannot be mea- sured, institutional support for research will be undermined. Although the value of individual projects is difﬁcult to isolate, the value of basic research can be measured at least cumulatively and retrospectively (NRC 1999, 22), that is, by showing how realized gains in ship performance depended ulti- mately on basic research. The recommended monitoring of the state of the S&T ﬁelds that support naval engineering would provide such a retro- spective measure of research impact.
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212 Naval Engineering in the 21st Century NNR-NE integrative metrics could include, for example, the number of interdisciplinary projects, the number of interdisciplinary publications, impact measures of research conducted within and outside the primary disciplines, citations and funding received outside the primary disciplines, and the numbers of publications and citations within disciplines. Such metrics would encourage program officers and principal investigators to consider and adopt interdisciplinary perspectives in research projects and encourage program ofﬁcers to look for opportunities for collabora- tion across naval engineering S&T and across ONR to address critical naval research priorities. For applied research, appropriate metrics would relate to technology transition into Navy research and development projects at the Budget Activity 3 level and above. Management of basic research depends primarily on the competence of the program ofﬁcers, ONR’s staff scientists. ONR’s expectation is that its program ofﬁcers “have the appropriate technical expertise and scien- tiﬁc credibility to administer awards and recognize quality—in the mar- ketplace of science and technology, they are the Navy’s ultimate smart buyers” (Gaffney et al. 1999, 13). The program ofﬁcer is required to have “the ability . . . to recognize a promising line of research even before it has been summoned by a formally declared requirement” (Gaffney et al. 1999, 15). The committee’s observation is that ONR has such talented pro- gram ofﬁcers overseeing the NNR-NE research portfolio. However, staff with such skills always are in short supply. Formal processes for planning and for selecting research investments are necessary as a backup to the judgment of the program ofﬁcers, for quality control and management oversight, and to ensure that progress in a ﬁeld is not disrupted when a tal- ented program ofﬁcer is not available. Staff time and funds for overhead activities, such as planning and eval- uation, must be expended efﬁciently. Procedures should be kept simple. Once ongoing collection of the necessary data is established, the burden of periodic reporting and review should be minimized. Peer Review ONR’s performer evaluation process, including that for its NNR-NE port- folio, differs from that of some other government research sponsors in that
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Conclusions and Recommendations 213 it does not include an evaluation of its basic research proposals by exter- nal peer reviewers. External review of proposals can be a valuable tool for government agencies that fund basic research, whose impact on future capabilities systems may not become apparent for decades. Organizations that use external scientiﬁc peer review for most or all of the basic research they fund include NSF, the National Institutes of Health, and the Ofﬁce of Research and Evaluation of the National Institute of Justice (NAPA 2009, 67). Within DOD, the Air Force Ofﬁce of Scientiﬁc Research employs a peer-review process using review panels that typically include two review- ers from other DOD ofﬁces and one from outside DOD. Conclusion 29: External peer review (that is, review by technical experts from outside ONR) throughout the research project selec- tion process offers the opportunity to strengthen project selection and to obtain the advice and counsel of technical experts, NAVSEA technical authorities, and industry practitioners who are the ulti- mate recipients of the developed technology, while maintaining the ONR program officer’s independence in making decisions for his or her program. Recommendation 15: ONR should establish a process for NNR-NE (and potentially other programs) in which the program officer assembles a small group of Navy laboratory technical experts (e.g., from NSWC-CD) and NAVSEA technical authorities (who also serve as industry surrogates) to review, assess, and rank relevant proposals received in response to ONR broad agency announcements. The pro- gram ofﬁcer then would be responsible for considering these recom- mendations and selecting projects. The midproject external review that ONR already conducts would be carried out by this panel with the addi- tion of external reviewers according to the requirements of the present midproject review procedure. The proposal review panel would not remove ultimate responsibility from the program ofﬁcer. Instead, the panel process would create a dialogue and open lines of communica- tion among ONR and the key Navy constituencies. Management of the NNR-NE relies primarily on the ONR program officers in the selection of projects and project investigators. Review
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214 Naval Engineering in the 21st Century of research project proposals and investigators before selection does not involve formal external peer review or other formal consultative pro- cedures. Peer review of proposals tends to sustain competition, avoid parochialism, and enhance communication within a research ﬁeld. Review by appropriately constituted expert panels would ensure that selection of NNR-NE research projects resulted in a portfolio reﬂecting both the collective judgment of the research community and the views within the Navy commands with regard to needed technology or strate- gies. Introducing a wider spectrum of inputs to decisions on the direction of research would speed the application of research results to new tech- nologies of value to users in the design and shipbuilding communities. The proposed review panels would implement the function of the tech- nology interpreter (described below) in the operation of the NNR-NE. The program ofﬁcer and the expert panel members would have explicit responsibilities for fostering the technology transition process. Frequent communication would inform the program ofﬁcer of technologies that the technical authorities need and want and would inform technical authorities of new technologies as they emerge and mature. Technology Interpreter ONR today deﬁnes the scope of the NNR-NE in terms of six discrete sci- entiﬁc and technical areas that support naval engineering (structural sys- tems; hydromechanics and hull design; propulsors; automation, control, and system integration; platform power and energy; and ship design tools). However, the discipline of naval engineering is essentially integrative. The problem of the naval engineer is to apply the capabilities provided by scientific knowledge in all these areas to the design, construction, and operation of naval ships that satisfy mission requirements, respecting the constraints imposed by human factors and cost considerations. In recognition of the central importance of integration in naval engi- neering, ONR should establish a formal role for a technology interpreter in the NNR-NE to provide an institutional focus and mechanism for inte- grating research, discovery, and innovation in naval engineering. The tech- nology interpreter would be responsible for working with NNR-NE’s clients to specify the technology and research implications of their perfor- mance requirements and for working with NNR-NE researchers to ensure
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Conclusions and Recommendations 215 that their proposals and projects are informed by understanding of the interests of the operating Navy and the constraints of the naval vessel environment. Recommendation 16: To improve communication of operational requirements and the transitioning of technology to naval ships, ONR should implement the concept of a technology interpreter in the NNR-NE. The task of the technology interpreter would be to assist the technology transition process. The recommended peer-review panels would implement the concept of a technology interpreter in the program ofﬁcer and technical authority communities. Frequent communication between these communities would inform the program ofﬁcer of tech- nologies that the technical authorities need and want and inform the technical authorities of new technologies as they emerge and mature. In addition to the review panels, personnel dedicated to improving communications and execution could signiﬁcantly improve NNR-NE integration with Navy missions, needs, and operational requirements. The technology interpreter role could be implemented in a variety of ways—as the responsibility of an individual within an ONR department or division tasked with technology interpretation, advocacy, and connec- tion responsibilities; as responsibilities of existing program ofﬁcers who were encouraged to pursue technology integration within and across their disciplines; or through advisory or consultative arrangements, for example, through peer review or other interactions with contributors outside ONR. Maintaining Connections Across the Wider Naval Engineering Community Maintaining connections among the wider naval ship systems engineering community means bridging the valleys that naturally exist between the naval research, design, manufacturing, and operational communities and the commercial and offshore communities. While these communities all share a bond relating to the environments in which they operate, the systems that they build, and the manner in which they are deployed, an innate separation is reinforced by regulations, cultures, values, motiva- tions, and behaviors.
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216 Naval Engineering in the 21st Century A critical aspect of developing human capital and revitalizing naval engineering is to enable the people who make up that community. Enabling naval engineers requires the following actions: • Providing naval engineering education; • Providing naval engineering training to keep the workforce up to date; • Providing naval engineering mentoring in and outside the workplace, including activities with and through professional technical societies; • Developing tools, including collection of supporting data and support for veriﬁcation, validation, and accreditation activities; • Developing ship design processes, including those for continuous pro- cess improvement and technology transition; and • Developing documentation, including speciﬁcations, standards, hand- books, and rules. The committee did not find evidence that these activities are part of NNR-NE planning, operations, or performance monitoring activities. Conclusion 30: Connectivity, communication, and human resource and organizational development are important to the success of the naval engineering enterprise. However, the committee was unable to ﬁnd evidence that NNR-NE strategic planning makes use of measures of connectivity, communication effectiveness, human capital, or organizational development. Recommendation 17: To maintain connectivity among the wider naval engineering community, NNR-NE should utilize the concept of technology interpreter or otherwise establish integrative and connective responsibilities within ONR management and should continue to support, participate in, and incentivize its ongoing connectivity and communication activities, including conferences, workshops, and seminars, and the activities of ONR Global. ONR should consider adopting additional connectivity and communica- tion activities, including brown bag seminars, scholarly exchange events, and rotation and refreshment opportunities for NNR-NE program officers. The latter should include research sabbaticals at Navy laboratories and academic research institutions and in oper- ational Navy settings.
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Conclusions and Recommendations 217 Recommendation 18: ONR should incorporate human capital and organizational development goals and objectives as explicit responsibil- ities of NNR-NE during its enterprisewide strategic planning and assessment activities. Integrating Naval Engineering S&T The committee found several examples of interdisciplinary and integrative research in the NNR-NE portfolio. The commissioned papers and work- shops provided additional evidence of signature integrative and inter- disciplinary naval engineering projects, such as the integrated composite mast and a number of materials, hydrodynamics, and ship structures pro- grams. However, the committee concluded that these efforts were the out- growth of individual program ofﬁcers or industry representatives who, for personal or professional reasons, engaged in interdisciplinary research and played a key role in developing such programs, rather than the outgrowth of systematic ONR processes that fostered, nurtured, encouraged, or incentivized interdisciplinary or integrative research. Recommendation 19: As part of its enterprisewide strategic planning process, ONR should establish a culture of interdisciplinary and inte- grative research within and around the NNR-NE S&T enterprise and should establish processes that foster, nurture, encourage, and incen- tivize interdisciplinary or integrative research. The NNR-NE interdis- ciplinary and integrative research objectives should be established as part of the NNR-NE strategic planning processes and should include assessment, benchmarking, and continuous process improvement components. Developing Human Capital and Revitalizing Naval Ship Systems Engineering Developing a robust naval engineering pipeline is critical to the devel- opment of a robust naval engineering enterprise. NNR-NE efforts in naval engineering S&T workforce development have been sporadic and inadequately supported to date. ONR has also been designated the lead agency for STEM efforts for the Department of the Navy; however, such efforts are considered auxiliary rather than core and critical functional responsibilities.
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218 Naval Engineering in the 21st Century Recommendation 20: ONR should reinvigorate its efforts in develop- ing the 21st century naval engineering workforce, including improve- ment of outreach activities to underrepresented groups. ONR’s lead role for STEM activities should be strengthened and incorporated into its strategic planning processes, and performance metrics for work- force development and STEM achievements should be identiﬁed, measured, incentivized, and included in ONR’s assessment, bench- marking, and continuous process improvement activities. REFERENCES Abbreviations GAO Government Accountability Ofﬁce NAPA National Academy of Public Administration NRC National Research Council NSF National Science Foundation ONR Ofﬁce of Naval Research TRB Transportation Research Board Brown, M. 1996. Keeping Score: Using the Right Metrics for World Class Performance. Amer- ican Management Association, Washington, D.C. Eccles, R. 1991. The Performance Measurement Manifesto. Harvard Business Review, Jan.–Feb., pp. 131–137. Eccles, R., and P. Pyburn. 1992. Creating a Comprehensive System to Measure Perfor- mance. Management Accounting, Oct. Gaffney, P., F. E. Saalfeld, and J. F. Petrik. 1999. Science and Technology from an Invest- ment Point of View: How ONR Handles Department of the Navy’s Portfolio. Public Management, Sept.–Oct., pp. 12–17. GAO. 2010. Streamlining Government: Opportunities Exist to Strengthen OMB’s Approach to Improving Efﬁciency. May. Melnyk, S. A., D. M. Stewart, and M. Swink. 2004. Metric and Performance Measurement in Operations Management: Dealing with the Metrics Maze. Journal of Operations Management, Vol. 22, pp. 16–29. NAPA. 2009. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate: Devel- oping Technology to Protect America. Newell, A., and H. A. Simon. 1971. Human Problem Solving. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J. NRC. 1999. Evaluating Federal Research Programs: Research and the Government Perfor- mance and Results Act. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.
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Conclusions and Recommendations 219 NRC. 2000. An Assessment of Naval Hydromechanics Science and Technology. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. NRC. 2005. Assessment of Department of Defense Basic Research. National Academies Press, Washington, D.C. NSF. 2010. Fluid Dynamics. Last updated Nov. 29. http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_ summ.jsp?pims_id=13365. ONR. 2001. Memorandum: National Naval Program for Naval Engineering. Oct. 22. ONR. 2009. Naval S&T Strategic Plan: Defining the Strategic Direction for Tomorrow. Feb. http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA499909&Location=U2&doc= GetTRDoc.pdf. Reugg, R. 2007. Quantitative Portfolio Evaluation of U.S. Federal Research and Develop- ment Programs. Science and Public Policy, Dec., pp. 723–730. Simon, H. A. 1996. The Sciences of the Artiﬁcial. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, Cambridge. Tan, K., and K. Platts. 2003. Linking Objectives to Action Plans: A Decision Support Approach Based on Cause–Effect Linkages. Decision Sciences, Vol. 34, No. 3, pp. 569–593. Tan, K., K. Platts, and J. Nobel. 2004. Building Performance Through In-Process Mea- surement: Toward an “Indicative” Scorecard for Business Excellence. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 53, No. 3, pp. 233–244. TRB. 2002. Special Report 266: Naval Engineering: Alternative Approaches for Organizing Cooperative Research. National Academies, Washington, D.C.