tories exceptional researchers who often later become permanent staff members. They are offered as a postdoctoral position with equivalent staff salary and with additional funding that supports self-directed innovative research of their own origin. Perhaps ARL can consider developing a similar fellowship program to attract exceptionally talented researchers that will showcase research capabilities at ARL.
The overall scientific quality of WMRD’s work is comparable to that of comparable national laboratories. WMRD should be commended for its investment in advanced energetic material investments. Many other laboratories are generally moving in the opposite direction with respect to investments in energetic material research, unfortunately. Generally, the WMRD programs reflect a broad understanding of the science and engineering underlying their work. There is generally a strong interaction between experiment and simulation. WMRD has appropriate laboratory equipment and numerical codes and models. Generally, the laboratories are well supplied and state of the art. In particular the shock physics laboratory is impressive. Computational tools are used extensively, but use of characterization equipment could be expanded, and in some cases WMRD could adopt additional numerical codes and models from outside ARL. The research staff is well qualified, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable. WMRD’s work reflects understanding of the Army’s requirement for research or analysis, and in many cases there is a clear focus on the Army’s needs—for example, in the development and fielding of the new bullet. WMRD uses an appropriate mix of theory, computation, and experimentation, as exemplified by the interaction of the grain modeling that predicted the dislodging of the bullet by bed compaction and experimental verification. Also, the balance between 6.1 and 6.2 research and the ratio of customer funding to internal funding are appropriate.
The enthusiasm of the WMRD staff appears impressive. The number of WMRD staff members holding advanced degrees, particularly Ph.D.’s, has been steadily growing. The staff’s technical qualifications are impressive, reflecting hiring from many universities. The research staff’s skill set is diverse, reflecting hiring from many universities. Recent hires show great capability in contemporary simulation tools. However, the knowledge base is missing certain critical components, such as a connection to the nation’s research infrastructure and the practical observations that should predate simulations. These limitations are offset by the researchers’ enthusiasm. More linkages are needed, and hiring is not coordinated and planned to bring in top talent. As the science and engineering markets recover, ARL will need to be more proactive in its early identification of talent. Because fewer hires will be possible in future years, care should be taken to ensure that top talent is added. The research tools are adequate, but the limited number of technicians makes automation in the experimental tools a necessity.
The WMRD efforts are focused on critical aspects of improved armor and munitions. The improvements in protection and penetrators create a perpetual contest. The lethality of the new ammunition is well demonstrated and requires a responsive escalation in protection. The cadre of early-career technical hires is maturing and sustaining focus on topics with likely impact, and management allows projects to reach maturity. How decisions on project termination are made is unclear, so a more formal case might be appropriate to show the decision points.
The WMRD armor protection technology and prototype combat vehicle armor development are internationally recognized as best-in-class, as evidenced by the half dozen or so allied countries that maintain active collaborations with WMRD in the armor technology area, as well as by Army near-reliance on WMRD-developed combat vehicle armor technologies. Compared with most of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and DOE laboratories performing weapons-related research, as well as a number of weapons laboratories in foreign countries, the integrated capabilities that WMRD has in the armaments