Summary

The charge of the Army Research Laboratory Technical Assessment Board (ARLTAB) is to provide biennial assessments of the scientific and technical quality of the research, development, and analysis programs at the Army Research Laboratory (ARL). The ARLTAB is assisted by five panels, each of which focuses on the portion of the ARL program conducted in one of ARL’s core technical competencies: ballistics sciences, human sciences, information sciences, materials sciences, and mechanical sciences. When requested to do so by ARL, the ARLTAB also examines plans for new work that ARL may initiate.

This interim report summarizes the findings of the Board for the first year of this biennial assessment. During the first year the Board examined the following elements within the ARL competency areas: within ballistic sciences, terminal ballistics; within human sciences, translational neuroscience and soldier simulation and training technology; within information sciences, autonomous systems; and within materials sciences, energy materials and devices, photonic materials and devices, and biomaterials. The review of autonomous systems included examination of the mechanical sciences competency area for autonomous systems. A second, final report will subsume the findings of this interim report and add the findings from the second year of the review, during which the Board will examine additional elements within the five ARL competency areas.

BALLISTICS SCIENCES: TERMINAL BALLISTICS

ARL has a strong record of achievement and timely support of the warfighter in developing advanced capabilities for defeating many types of enemy targets and platforms, and the recent and ongoing work described within the review of terminal ballistics demonstrated how ARL continues to build upon its tradition of excellence. ARL’s efforts in terminal ballistics address both fundamental and urgent Army warfighter needs of great importance. The linkages between the research and technology presented and the ties to Army military vehicles and weapons were clearly demonstrated. The overall quality of ARL’s applied research and development is very high. There is, as realized by ARL management, a need to increase focus on the basic research that will underlie future developments. ARL’s existing science and technology work in the ballistics area is very well served by the current Aberdeen Proving Grounds infrastructure and facilities. There was clear evidence of speedy response to changing needs to support the warfighter with innovations in ballistic survivability and lethality. ARL’s experimental program concerning threats is quite detailed and demonstrates commendable knowledge of the evolving threats. The spectrum of armor design demonstrated a broad array of technical approaches and flexible and rapid response. ARL’s staff is clearly motivated and competent, and the staff members articulated a well-defined line of sight from their research to the mission of the Laboratory and to the warfighter.

The overview presentations for the materials for the terminal ballistics area were very impressive and provided a rationale for the diverse materials issues under investigation; the researchers have gained from the recent combat experience and lessons learned from in-theatre observations. The evolving fundamental and applied projects focused on the science of penetration mechanics; the development and implementation of new imaging and velocimetry diagnostics aimed at the quantification of penetration linked to lethality; and a view into the continuum-level models under development for ceramic material



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Summary The charge of the Army Research Laboratory Technical Assessment Board (ARLTAB) is to provide biennial assessments of the scientific and technical quality of the research, development, and analysis programs at the Army Research Laboratory (ARL). The ARLTAB is assisted by five panels, each of which focuses on the portion of the ARL program conducted in one of ARL’s core technical competencies: ballistics sciences, human sciences, information sciences, materials sciences, and mechanical sciences. When requested to do so by ARL, the ARLTAB also examines plans for new work that ARL may initiate. This interim report summarizes the findings of the Board for the first year of this biennial assessment. During the first year the Board examined the following elements within the ARL competency areas: within ballistic sciences, terminal ballistics; within human sciences, translational neuroscience and soldier simulation and training technology; within information sciences, autonomous systems; and within materials sciences, energy materials and devices, photonic materials and devices, and biomaterials. The review of autonomous systems included examination of the mechanical sciences competency area for autonomous systems. A second, final report will subsume the findings of this interim report and add the findings from the second year of the review, during which the Board will examine additional elements within the five ARL competency areas. BALLISTICS SCIENCES: TERMINAL BALLISTICS ARL has a strong record of achievement and timely support of the warfighter in developing advanced capabilities for defeating many types of enemy targets and platforms, and the recent and ongoing work described within the review of terminal ballistics demonstrated how ARL continues to build upon its tradition of excellence. ARL’s efforts in terminal ballistics address both fundamental and urgent Army warfighter needs of great importance. The linkages between the research and technology presented and the ties to Army military vehicles and weapons were clearly demonstrated. The overall quality of ARL’s applied research and development is very high. There is, as realized by ARL management, a need to increase focus on the basic research that will underlie future developments. ARL’s existing science and technology work in the ballistics area is very well served by the current Aberdeen Proving Grounds infrastructure and facilities. There was clear evidence of speedy response to changing needs to support the warfighter with innovations in ballistic survivability and lethality. ARL’s experimental program concerning threats is quite detailed and demonstrates commendable knowledge of the evolving threats. The spectrum of armor design demonstrated a broad array of technical approaches and flexible and rapid response. ARL’s staff is clearly motivated and competent, and the staff members articulated a well-defined line of sight from their research to the mission of the Laboratory and to the warfighter. The overview presentations for the materials for the terminal ballistics area were very impressive and provided a rationale for the diverse materials issues under investigation; the researchers have gained from the recent combat experience and lessons learned from in-theatre observations. The evolving fundamental and applied projects focused on the science of penetration mechanics; the development and implementation of new imaging and velocimetry diagnostics aimed at the quantification of penetration linked to lethality; and a view into the continuum-level models under development for ceramic material 1

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response that attempts to bridge the scale from mesoscale to macroscale. The utilization of advanced diagnostics to quantify the time-dependent penetration behavior of ceramics is both innovative and crucial to the development of models capturing the physics involved in armor penetration and thereby seminally important to design from the perspectives of both survivability and lethality. Innovative mesoscale models from actual material reconstructions are under development to inform macroscale continuum models. Improvements were made in coupling of constitutive models to the host codes to better handle the failure and fracture of materials. The activities presented that address humans in extreme ballistic environments are well organized, the technical strategy is well posed, and the current state of science and technology in this area is well defined. The design, modeling, and testing of the warrior injury assessment manikin to test the effects of extreme acceleration and loading effects associated with underbody vehicle blast is clearly an area unique to Army mission challenges and well connected to warfighter needs. This is an excellent innovative and collaborative effort to collect data required for predicting injuries to support the design of an anthropomorphic test device and sensor placement on it. The ARL effort examining small combat units and scalable effects through new and effective systems appears well conceived and thoughtfully planned. Several overarching opportunities and challenges were identified for ARL’s enterprise in terminal ballistics, including these: • Examples of how the Army Research Office’s (ARO’s) individual projects fit into Army overall goals and relate to one another and to other ARL projects would facilitate the Board’s assessment of the quality of ARL’s S&T work. • A rigorous, formal internal validation program is needed for ARL to quantify the extent to which the physics within the broad spectrum of ballistics models is being developed to accurately describe the physics operative. Given the importance of such models to develop predictive design capability in support of current Army programs and future system, platform, and equipment development, increased emphasis on validation is warranted. • The staff is not visible in professional societies and technical conferences to the level that their accomplishments and scientific expertise warrant. While obviously the sequestration and travel restrictions have negatively affected staff interactions with the outside S&T community, the lack of interactions through conferences and professional associations will have a deleterious effect on collaborative efforts and on maintaining the edge in areas of expertise; it is therefore important to address this as soon as possible. • It is important to apply increased efforts to ARL’s damage and failure modeling across the spectrum of materials of relevance, given its importance to ballistics science and technology. These physically based damage models need to include the statistical aspects of how and where damage evolution and failure occur in a material. It appears crucial for ARL to develop, for the area of terminal ballistics, its strategic vision behind internal investments, program and mission deliverables, and staff planning to support the needs of the Army of the future. This strategic planning appears particularly poignant as the future ground combat vehicle design pathways are fixed. For example, while glass, effectively confined, is known to have potential for contributing to the defeat of shaped-charged jets, explosive reactive armor (ERA) and even nonexplosive reactive armor (NERA) have greater potential, and ERA is already being utilized with great effectiveness. 2

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HUMAN SCIENCES: SIMULATION AND TRAINING TECHNOLOGY This assessment is the Board’s first in-depth review of the Simulation and Training Technology Center (STTC) since its merger with the ARL’s Human Research and Engineering Directorate (HRED) in 2010. Overall, STTC has a clear and substantive mission to enhance military readiness by optimizing behavior and mission performance of individual soldiers and of small units or teams. To accomplish this mission, STTC engineers and scientists perform research, development, and assessment of modeling and simulation-based training technologies to assure cost and pedagogical effectiveness. The problems being tackled by STTC are large, complex, and important and have huge potential value to Army mission readiness and effectiveness. STTC’s efforts are focused in five broad areas: (1) designing, developing, and assessing adaptive and intelligent training technologies; (2) enhancing the state of the art of physics-based synthetic environment modeling; (3) assessing the extent to which training in virtual environments leads to better learning outcomes; (4) developing and testing physical- model- and software-based simulations for diverse training applications such as medical triage, dismounted soldier operations, or training on specific ground platforms; and (5) conducting research and development (R&D) to enable advanced distributed simulation. STTC is tackling a number of very challenging technical problems in the five areas of training technology that have great potential to set the standards across the Department of Defense (DoD). Technical problems include identifying, for example, how to develop tutoring systems that are adaptive to individual learners, how to best manage instructional experiences, how to make synthetic entities behave more intelligently in training simulations, and how to make training simulations more interoperable. STTC researchers are pushing the state of the art of simulation in the cloud and protocols for advanced distributed simulation (ADS). The ADS group has a unique opportunity to lead future developments across the DoD in these areas. The STTC work is demonstrably significant and valuable in specific application domains (e.g., simulations of battlefield medical situations), as well as the design of general tools for simulation (e.g., the generalized intelligent framework for tutoring [GIFT]) to make it possible for others to rapidly create new training modules for new content areas. Laudable progress has been made to date in the development of GIFT and in the incorporation of this framework within the computer game Virtual Battle Space II, now being used by the Army for training. STTC has historically been strong in computer science and engineering, and it has developed a number of successful technology-enhanced training products. The Board’s assessment recognized these accomplishments and also examined how the performance of the STTC might be improved through the integration of additional scientific expertise, exposure to new or alternative scientific approaches, and tactical consideration and staging of project goals. The training technologies being developed at STTC have significant implications for humans and their ability to acquire task-critical skills and to become proficient performers. Therefore, the design and development of effective training technologies and systems needs to be an interdisciplinary enterprise necessitating an early and balanced collaboration of computer science and human science inputs. The merger of STTC into ARL in 2010 brought together STTC’s core competency in computer science with HRED’s core competency in the human sciences, creating huge potential for new productive synergy. The Board’s most recent (2011-2012) report observed that the integration of the STTC into HRED creates great opportunities for human factors influence on STTC products and STTC enhancements of traditional HRED endeavors. While some progress toward this goal was evident in the present assessment, the merger of STTC with HRED needs to be accelerated to a higher level, with greater emphasis on and integration of human sciences into the program of work. For the most part, the quality (e.g., experimental design and statistical analysis) and outcome value of the research presented by STTC would significantly benefit from greater engagement of human science expertise (e.g., human factors and the cognitive and social sciences). The problems being tackled by STTC are complex and very relevant to the broader modeling and simulation community. There are many researchers working on these issues both in academia and in other military laboratories outside the STTC environment. STTC researchers need to clearly define and 3

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focus their efforts within the broader scientific community, identifying precisely where they expect to advance the state of the art and how the research is framed by the extant scientific literature. The Orlando-based leadership and scientific research groups exhibited a high level of professionalism, commitment to high technical standards in their projects, and a broad appreciation of their role in enhancing military and human outcomes. The esprit de corps and desire to integrate innovative and effective research strategies were notable in both research teams and leadership. Investment in professional development and training of junior scientists was integrated as a priority of the program. The STTC is an excellent research unit that embodies high technical standards and a strong operational attitude. HUMAN SCIENCES: TRANSLATIONAL NEUROSCIENCE The goal of the translational neuroscience (TN) program is to better understand soldier function and behavior in complex real-world (i.e., operational) settings in order to enhance soldier system performance. The TN group conducts foundational and enabling R&D for development of fieldable technologies that leverage state-of-the-art neuroscience, human factors, psychology, and engineering. The TN program at ARL is a unique and important effort whose objectives, if successfully accomplished, have potential to be a game changer for research on soldier and mission effectiveness. The group has concentrated its efforts on three research thrusts: 1. Brain–computer interaction (BCI) technologies. Enable mutually adaptive brain–computer interaction technologies for improving soldier-system performance. 2. Real-world neuroimaging. Assess those aspects of brain function that can be usefully monitored outside the laboratory setting and identify and/or develop the technologies that are best adapted for this purpose. 3. Brain structure function couplings. Translate knowledge of differences in individual brain structure and function to understand and predict differences in task performance. The TN group is tackling key technology bottlenecks to moving neuroscience from the laboratory to the field. For example, they are exploring (1) the integration of other sensing modalities (e.g., electrocardiography [ECG], electromyography [EMG], galvanic skin response [GSR], and eye movements) into electroencephalogram (EEG)-based BCI applications; (2) approaches to overcome real- world limitations for use of the electrode system so that it works with hair, slips on and off easily without significant setup, and has high enough sensitivity to capture the signals necessary for specific tasks; and (3) the development of nonproprietary dry electrodes, which, if successful, could significantly impact medical EEG, human factors, neuroeconomics, and neuromarketing and could lead to important new applications. From 2009 through 2013, the TN group has made significant gains in publication rates and quality (from 16 publications in 2009 to 44 in 2013, including an increase in publications in peer- reviewed journals from 6 in 2009 to 17 in 2013); numbers of postdoctoral researchers (from 2 in 2009 to 11 in 2013); outreach and mentoring activities (from none in 2009 to 7 in 2013); and level of external funding (from $730,000 in 2009 to $10.75 million in 2013). On these measures, the group has attained a level found at many neuroscience groups at first-tier academic institutions. As reviewed, the TN portfolio comprises a well-balanced mix of difficult and challenging fundamental science and engineering development problems that are well matched to the core competencies of the science staff and leadership and the emerging needs of the Army mission. The staff has continued to grow, attracting highly motivated early-career scientists from a well-dispersed set of universities, with the resultant benefits of fresh intellectual capital and a productive competition of ideas. Overall, the quality of the TN research presented, the capabilities of the leadership, the knowledge and abilities of the investigators and their scientific productivity, and proposed future 4

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directions are impressive. The work is well aligned with the clear and substantive mission to move neuroscience from the laboratory to real-world military settings (i.e., going from the bench to the battlefield). The TN group conducts high-quality neuroscience research that is routinely validated by its publication in good, peer-reviewed journals and is on a par with work at a good university neuroscience department. INFORMATION SCIENCES: AUTONOMOUS SYSTEMS Many of the ARL internal research projects in the autonomous systems enterprise are of very high quality and in general have benefited from engagement with other research institutions, including partners in the Collaborative Technology Alliances (CTAs). 1 For each of the key areas—perception, intelligence and planning, human–robot interaction, and manipulation and mobility—the overall technical quality of the work is high and is being recognized as such through publication in archival journals and proceedings of recognized conferences and symposia. Also, the recent Research@ARL monograph on Autonomous Systems 2 is commendable. For most of the work reviewed, the scientific quality is comparable to that at other federal research laboratories and at national and international universities. The research staff are very well qualified to undertake the research projects and are broadly aware of the state of the art in the field and ongoing research at other institutions. The laboratory facilities and the infrastructure are state of the art and supportive of the ongoing research activities. Research in the area of manipulation and mobility is closely linked to the ARL’s Collaborative Technology Alliances (CTAs) in autonomous systems, where significant collaboration with those partners is to be found. Work related to self-righting robots is of a very high caliber and also has direct applications in the field. The PiezoMEMS research and associated small robotics effort, in the Board's judgment, is first rate, with elements—specifically, the work in motion generation at the MEMS scale— that are seminal. The research projects in the area of perception are of a high caliber. The focus of the work is on developing techniques that allow for developing a description of the robot’s environments from sensor data. While there has been considerable progress toward describing environment for the purpose of mobility, deriving higher-level descriptions such as subtle cues and references that distinguish different behaviors and intents, recognition of specific classes of objects and features that are directly relevant to tactical behaviors, and labeling of object, features, and terrain classes remain a challenge. The primary accomplishments in robotic intelligence are advances in mapping capability, control for communications, and cognition. Much of this work is being published in top journal and conference venues (including the International Conference on Robotics and Automation, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Proceedings, and the International Journal of Robotics Research), which attests to the overall quality of the research. In the area of human–robot interaction (HRI), research at ARL is looking at design issues for safe operation of autonomous reconnaissance systems in complex environments. The experimentation conducted at Fort Benning has yielded an important basis for making design decisions. For example, experiments have demonstrated voice commands to be suitable for discrete actions but less so for controlling continuous processes. Similarly, the research has demonstrated how audio cues in 3D improve situation awareness in telepresence tasks. While there was considerable variation in both the quality and impact of the research presented, the researchers were largely cognizant of the progress in their fields, and that had a noticeable impact on their own work. ARL has recently recruited a number of very promising early-career scientists. It is important to ensure that they receive appropriate mentorship and career development opportunities as they develop their individual research portfolios. The new indoor Military Operations on Urban Terrain 1 There are currently two active CTAs related to autonomous systems: Micro Autonomous Systems and Technology (MAST) and Robotics. 2 Research@ARL: Autonomous Systems. Available at http://www.arl.army.mil/www/pages/172/docs/ Research@ARL_Autonomous_Systems_July_2013.pdf. Accessed September 20, 2013. 5

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(MOUT) facility was impressive and will go a long way in furthering the goals of the intelligence and planning program. The tour of the ARL Sensors and Electron Devices Directorate’s Specialty Electronic Materials and Sensors Cleanroom Research facility helped the review team understand the infrastructure support available to ARL researchers. ARL has a leading program in the area of small-scale robotics. A demonstrated ability to design, fabricate, and test these devices gives it a place of distinction in this field. Similarly, research in the area of perception is being performed at a high level. With a mission to develop machine understanding of objects, actions, and inter-relationships in an environment, this work is critical for advancing the state of autonomous systems. Ongoing research is focused on making advances in unsupervised human detection and in sensing and perception capabilities on constrained platforms. Research in the areas of human–robot interaction and intelligence are addressing important problems of mapping, cognition, and communication, as well as issues related to trust in autonomous systems. This research is cutting-edge, and portions of the work are poised for successful transition to applied research. All elements of the autonomous systems research program at ARL have continued to show progress, both in the quality of work and dissemination of results in distinctive publications. The program focuses on mobility and manipulation of robotic devices and on technologies that improve the usefulness of these devices such as intelligence, perception, and improved human–robot interaction. The ARL research program is part of a larger collaborative effort involving external partners. A better definition of the role of the internal research in the overall program goals and continued collaboration with partners is strongly encouraged. It was not clear how the individual research projects in each of the four areas representing the ARL autonomous systems enterprise fit within the larger research effort. Without such a roadmap, there is very little indication of the connectivity of the research projects in either the subareas or across the enterprise. At a fundamental level, ARL can take additional steps to enhance the quality and impact of its research efforts. There is a trinity in research and development: analysis, computation or simulation, and testing. Analysis is essential, and there is room for improvement on this front, before one proceeds with numerical simulation or building and testing artifacts. Results from analytical modeling can guide the subsequent steps in development and identify possible missteps—this analytical component needs to be integrated into the approach to research. MATERIALS SCIENCES: BIOMATERIALS, ENERGY MATERIALS AND DEVICES, AND PHOTONIC MATERIALS AND DEVICES ARL’s materials sciences span the spectrum of technology maturity and address Army applications, working from the state of the art to the art of the possible, according to the ARL. Materials research efforts and expertise are spread throughout the ARL enterprise. As the ensemble of the materials discipline and capabilities, the area of materials science is one of ARL’s primary core technical competencies. All the projects reviewed are engaged in collaborative efforts to various degrees; this is commendable. More excellence can be achieved by working on the efficiency of collaboration to deliver additional focus, quality, and selection of projects. Internal collaboration across the divisions and directorates is as beneficial as extramural collaboration. In today’s fast-moving technological landscape, additional opportunity is presented by the challenge to effectively utilize commercial technologies, particularly in the areas of wearability, mobility, and connectivity, which are critical to the well-being of the soldiers. A systematic, structured effort to scout technologies from the private sector to complement in-house projects will be highly rewarding. As technology marches on at an unprecedented pace, it will be important that new approaches to shorten the research cycle (from science to useful product) are always on ARL’s radar. A concerted effort to understand future needs and to craft projects relevant to the future is the ultimate challenge and opportunity. To this end, the materials genome initiative is one example to track. 6

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Overall, the researchers and the management are of high caliber and deserve kudos. Researchers appeared ebullient and passionate about their work. Most of the projects presented are excellent and are having a pervasive impact. The scientific soundness and the use of the fundamental sciences are outstanding. It is commendable that the ARL materials sciences area comprises a good mix of talents, ranging from experienced, savvy scientists and engineers to bright, early-career professionals. The project portfolio fits well with global thrusts and the national agenda, with research projects falling at the intersection of the pillar technologies of biotechnology, nanotechnology, advanced materials, energy, and the environment. Some of the projects in the portfolio are particularly impressive. The biomaterials group is making noteworthy progress, following the Board’s previous suggestions to recruit a new branch chief and to begin to establish a long-term program in biotechnology. The project on synthetic biomolecular materials offers a high level of Army significance by addressing the needs in situation awareness and force protection in the areas of on-demand production of biomolecular sensing materials in response to new and emerging hazardous threat materials, functional biomolecular materials that are stable in austere environments, persistent surveillance, and ubiquitous sensing. The project has already shown success by developing iterative and integrated multiscale computational biology capabilities—this is top-notch research. The project has also demonstrated for the first time rapid development of peptides as synthetic alternatives to antibody-based bioreceptors, which are difficult to produce and maintain in the field. The use of biogenerated fuel to drive a fuel cell and generate a periodic power boost is another research project important to the Army. ARL is a technology-driven and warfighter-focused institution: Developing technologies to deliver ubiquitous power and energy for warfighters is a compelling mission. The project on hydrogen production from water by photosystem for use as fuel in energy conversion devices offers promise. The project on nonnoble metal catalysts for alkaline fuel cells studies the catalysts supported on graphene. Impressive power density (300 mWcm−2 at 60°C) was demonstrated using a Pt-free cathode with an anode of standard carbon- supported Pt. When the performance can be improved further and stability demonstrated, this could represent a significant breakthrough. For lightweight, quiet, efficient, and reliable power sources for Army applications to enhance soldier combat capability, the project on fuel cells for military applications tests and evaluates commercial technologies, namely, direct methanol fuel cell and solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) systems. Fuel cells reduce weight and decrease the logistic burden associated with batteries. The 300 W SOFC systems, operated on propane, can be thermally cycled more than 40 times between room temperature and 800°C without significant degradation and can be heated to 800°C in less than 10 minutes. The system was successfully tested in an unmanned aerial vehicle. This represents an upward potential for Army applications. In the area of photonic materials and devices, the accomplishments of the project on electromagnetic modeling of quantum-well infrared photodetectors (QWIPs) are laudable. The model described explains the quantum efficiency (QE) of all existing detector structures, including the most advanced optical effects, and expresses the detector QE in terms of the material’s absorption coefficient and the volumetric integral of vertical electric field. Because affordable, high-speed, high-resolution, long-wavelength infrared (IR) cameras are critically important to the Army’s night vision, large area surveillance, and navigation in degraded vision environments, the success of this project is of enormous value. As a leader in QWIP technology, ARL can leverage this achievement to develop advanced technology and to strategically brand its leadership. Another high-impact project is developing a low-cost, III-V, direct-bandgap long-wavelength infrared (LWIR) detector for night-vision technology. LWIR detection is a niche Army technology requiring dedicated equipment and highly specialized skills and tool sets. The research involves the growth of defect-free unstrained and unrelaxed InAsSb material on binary substrates, such as GaSb, InSb, or InA. This Ga-free InAsSb detector is expected to be a disruptive technology for the LWIR field and to potentially replace the costly II-VI-based technologies. In laboratory physical facilities, state-of-the-art equipment and instruments are available to perform quality research work, and there is a high level of material characterization capabilities—for example, ultrafast THz, nano-NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance), time-resolved ultraviolet (UV) materials growth and characterization—and a clean room fuel-cell laboratory, all of which are supported by trained and knowledgeable personnel. However, synergistic capabilities can be further harvested through the tie-in of facilities across divisional branches as well as through collaborations with targeted external facilities. 7

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CROSSCUTTING RECOMMENDATIONS The metrics through which ARL, as a research organization, internally measures and quantifies the quality of its S&T research across the spectrum of its mission space were not provided to the Board. The options could include the number and impact factor of publications or the number of transitions to operational use to the warfighter. Definition of such metrics, and any relevant data, could enhance the impact of the ARLTAB assessments. The mix of low-risk and high-risk research to achieve an optimal balance continues to be a crosscutting issue for all of ARL’s S&T programs. ARL indicated that many of the Director’s Strategic Initiative (DSI) projects and 30-50 percent of the Director’s Research Initiative (DRI) projects go on to become core efforts. 3 While ARL is working for ways to encourage innovation impacting mission- critical programs, making it safe to fail is a necessary part of encouraging high-risk projects. Internal research investments in successful innovations and high-risk research expectations are in conflict. Risky research is likely to fail most of the time. If success is expected of nearly all projects supported by discretionary funds, staff cannot be expected to propose risky ones. Strategic management discussion of the objectives and expectations for DRI and DSI projects and how these precious funds are aligned or feed longer-term programmatic efforts is encouraged. ARL’s staff visibility in professional technical societies and technical conferences is not to the level their accomplishments and scientific expertise warrant. While it is clear that the sequestration and travel restrictions have negatively affected staff interactions with the outside R&D community, the long- term continuation of restrictions on external technical interactions will be significant. Lack of interactions through conferences and professional associations will negatively impact both collaborative programmatic efforts and maintaining the edge in areas of expertise. This has clearly already affected ARL staff morale, produced opportunity cost, and will pose serious consequences to staff retention and hiring in the future. Moreover, ARL’s strategic focus on innovation through adoption and development of scientific ideas and insights from the scientific community cannot be applied to solve Army problems if the focus is forced solely inward. If sustained, a “not-invented-here” syndrome is nearly impossible to avoid in the future, leading to the internal reinvention of wheels that would be better brought in from outside. Steps to improve the overall ARL research enterprise include the following: Recommendation 1. ARL should require researchers to clearly articulate the existing technical challenges in their research and how and why proposed tools and methods are likely to resolve those challenges. Recommendation 2. To allow for setting meaningful goals and adopting a research agenda that targets nonincremental advances, ARL should require all researchers to identify precise metrics against which progress can be gauged. Recommendation 3. As ARL continues to build its research staff, ARL should give some attention to bringing in mid-career and senior personnel to mentor the outstanding early-career scientists who have been recruited. Recommendation 4. ARL should look for additional ways to increase interaction of its researchers with leaders in industry and academia, given that limitations on travel have restricted this important function. 3 ARL uses the DSI and DRI research projects to build new research capabilities in long-term, high-risk scientific areas with very high potential payoff to the Army mission. DSI projects are typically $500,000 to $1 million per year while DRI projects are $250,000 per year. 8

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Recommendation 5. ARL should focus on developing a mature framework to guide the conception, design, development, and testing of small, unmanned autonomous systems, including definitions of pertinent parameters and their domain (values). Recommendation 6. ARL should adopt a systems integration approach as a fundamental research thrust. The details of how ARL is leveraging ARO’s 6.1 investment in support of the near-term and long-term Army strategic vision was not always clearly presented to the ARLTAB panels. Examples of how individual ARO projects fit into the Army’s overall goals and relate to one another and to other ARL projects would facilitate the Board’s tasking to assess the quality of ARL’s S&T. 9