directorates,1 report to the ARLTAB. Six of the ARLTAB members serve as panel chairs. The panels range in size from 14 to 22 members, whose expertise is carefully matched to the technical fields covered by the directorate(s) that they review. In total, 110 experts participated, without compensation, in the process that led to this report.
The NRC appoints the ARLTAB and panel members with an eye to assembling slates of experts without conflicts of interest and with balanced perspectives. The 110 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-seven of them are members of the National Academy of Engineering, and 4 are members of the National Academy of Sciences. 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 ARLTAB and its panels are supported by NRC staff, who interact with ARL on a continuing basis to ensure that the ARLTAB and panels receive the information that they need to carry out their assessments. ARLTAB and panel members serve for finite terms, generally 4 to 6 years, so that viewpoints are regularly refreshed and the expertise of the ARLTAB and panel members continues to match the ARL’s activities.
Biographical information on the ARLTAB members appears in Appendix B, along with a list of each panel’s members.
The current report is the seventh biennial report of ARLTAB. Its first biennial report was issued in 2000; annual reviews were issued in 1996, 1997, and 1998. As with the earlier reviews, this report contains the ARLTAB’s judgments about the quality of ARL’s work (Chapters 2 through 7 focus on the individual directorates, and Chapter 8 provides a discussion of crosscutting issues across all 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 ARLTAB, including the evaluations of the recognized experts who make up the ARLTAB’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 interactions between ARL staff and the ARLTAB and its panels. 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 2011 and 2012. The introductory sections of Chapters 2 through 7 provide the dates of the panel site visits for each directorate. 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 2.5 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.
1The six ARL directorates are the Computational and Information Sciences Directorate (CISD), Human Research and Engineering Directorate (HRED), Sensors and Electron Devices Directorate (SEDD), Survivability/Lethality Analysis Directorate (SLAD), Vehicle Technology Directorate (VTD), and Weapons and Materials Research Directorate (WMRD). Appendix A provides information summarizing the organization and resources of ARL and its directorates.