1. Effectiveness of interaction with the scientific and technical community—criteria in this category relate to cognizance of and contributions to the scientific and technical community whose activities are relevant to the work performed at ARL;
2. Impact on customers—criteria in this category relate to cognizance of and contributions in response to the needs of the Army customers who fund and benefit from ARL R&D;
3. Formulation of projects’ goals and plans—criteria in this category relate to the extent to which projects address ARL strategic technical goals and are planned effectively to achieve stated objectives;
4. R&D methodology—criteria in this category address the appropriateness of the hypotheses that drive the research, of the tools and methods applied to the collection and analysis of data, and of the judgments about future directions of the research;
5. Capabilities and resources—criteria in this category relate to whether current and projected equipment, facilities, and human resources are appropriate to achieve success of the projects; and
6. Responsiveness to the ARLTAB’s recommendations—with respect to this criterion, the ARLTAB does not consider itself to be an oversight committee. The ARLTAB has consistently found ARL to be extremely responsive to its advice, so the criterion of responsiveness encourages discussion of the variables and contextual factors that affect ARL’s implementation of responses to recommendations rather than an accounting of responses to the ARLTAB’s recommendations.
This report represents the ARLTAB’s consensus findings and recommendations, developed through deliberations that included consideration of the notes prepared by the panel members summarizing their assessments. The ARLTAB’s aim with this report is to provide guidance to the ARL Director that will help ARL sustain its process of continuous improvement. To that end, the ARLTAB examined its extensive and detailed notes from the many ARLTAB, panel, and individual interactions with ARL during the 2011-2012 period. From those notes it distilled a shorter list of the main trends, opportunities, and challenges that merit attention at the level of the ARL Director and his management team. The ARLTAB used that list as the basis for this report. Specific ARL projects are used to illustrate these points in the following chapters when it is helpful to do so, but the ARLTAB did not aim to present the Director with a detailed account of 2 years’ worth of interactions with bench scientists. The draft of this report was subsequently honed and reviewed according to NRC procedures before being released.
The approach to the assessment by the ARLTAB and its panels relied on the experience, technical knowledge, and expertise of its members, whose backgrounds were carefully matched to the technical areas within which the ARL activities are conducted. The ARLTAB and its panels reviewed selected examples of the standards and measurements activities and the technological research presented by ARL; it was not possible to review all ARL programs and projects exhaustively. The ARLTAB’s goal was to identify and report salient examples of accomplishments and opportunities for further improvement with respect to the technical merit of the ARL work, its perceived relevance to ARL’s definition of its mission, and apparent specific elements of ARL’s resource infrastructure that are intended to support the technical work. Collectively, these highlighted examples for each ARL directorate are intended to portray an overall impression of the laboratory while preserving useful mention of suggestions specific to projects and programs that the ARLTAB considered to be of special note within the set of those examined. The ARLTAB applied a largely qualitative rather than quantitative approach to the assessment. The assess-