reward structure is stove-piped within directorates, such as ARL, may experience uncertainty with respect to who is leading the effort, how priorities are set, and who receives credit for accomplishments. On the other hand, the potential value of such collaborations in a technological world that is growing rapidly at the interfaces between disciplines is recognized by all and should justify increased management focus on collaborations.
ARL’s increased attention to enterprise R&D efforts is commendable. As the technical quality and depth within directorates continue to improve, ARL should continue to increase its focus on broad multi-disciplinary issues that can only be addressed by collaborative work across several directorates and with extramural partnerships that enhance the ARL intramural capability. During the review period covered by this report, the ARL Technical Assessment Board (ARLTAB) had occasion to conduct separate reviews of the Network Sciences and the Autonomous Systems Enterprises (discussed in detail in Chapters 2 and 6, respectively). In addition, several members of the ARLTAB and its panels reviewed the development of plans for a third enterprise area, multiscale modeling.
These enterprises demonstrate strong leadership by ARL senior management in identifying technical strengths in various parts of ARL and stitching them together under unifying labels. These independently developed areas have the potential for synergism and collective development. In each case there is great technical breadth and depth. However, each enterprise area is in need of more decisive top-down management direction that can encourage and exploit the synergism. The following paragraphs offer several specific cautions and suggestions for management attention in such enterprise management.
ARL management is organized by directorates. Because no program is fully matrix-managed with promotion and salary decisions delegated to an enterprise manager, leadership for the enterprise’s activities is spread out among the several directorates, and often such arrangements can blur the leadership structure. Many types of organizational structures can be applied to this situation, but clearly defined leadership by management is required. Without clear leadership, there can be no commonly understood cross-organizational plan, and without such a strategic plan there can be no metrics or goals for management (or external advisory committees such as the ARLTAB) to use in judging enterprise accomplishments.
Each enterprise anticipates major contribution from extramural entities. Without a clear enterprise strategic plan, extramural partners cannot optimally direct their efforts, and there can be no defined template by which ARL managers can judge the importance and impact of these extramural efforts. (A more complete discussion of ARL extramural programs is presented below).
Enterprise efforts evolve in time, resulting in changing priorities that demand flexibility to move resources from low- to high-priority areas, in some instances from one directorate to another. Line-item budget inflexibility may inhibit ARL management in this regard. Sufficient flexibility has allowed senior management to accrue funds in support of Director’s reserves and initiatives. These efforts deserve continued support and praise, and they suggest that ARL may indeed be able to take appropriate actions to move resources between enterprise topic areas when required.
Communication is critical to an R&D enterprise. Leadership and technical personnel at all levels should have frequent formal and informal opportunities to meet, share information, and build collaborative programs. Some of the presenters at the ARLTAB reviews seemed to be hearing from their colleagues for the first time. Although this may be applauded as added value from the ARLTAB review, it discloses the need for increased management attention to improving lines of communication. Of course, communication with technical peers from other organizations should also be encouraged through increased travel to and participation in relevant technical meetings, including international professional meetings, and through special workshops organized by ARL to achieve such goals.