the centers. The centers should use university researchers as active members of working teams in technical and scientific matters, design, facility upgrades and modifications, instrumentation design, and data presentation and interpretation of results. In addition, facilities and their use should be subjected to periodic evaluation by external experts.
The quality of the research and technical management staffs should be improved over time by providing a more attractive research environment for the best and brightest university graduates.
The committee is also concerned about the declining base of expertise and the lack of emphasis on naval hydromechanics in the research community that supports the Department of the Navy's needs. It therefore recommends as follows:
ONR should establish an institute for naval hydrodynamics (INH) subject to the following guidelines:
The INH should capture the best talents and the largest body of knowledge in hydromechanics from the United States and foreign countries. It should leverage existing funding and ensure a well-coordinated approach to research in hydromechanics.
The INH should be directed by a highly qualified scientific leader. The management style and philosophy should be in tune with the intellectual creativity expected of participants in the INH.
A small central facility should support the INH. This facility should be open to all INH participants.
The form of the center should be carefully determined. One attractive option would be a virtualcenter that uses distributed assets and extensive Internet communication. The virtual center would have a management committee and a small central supporting entity. The new NASA Astrobiology Institute organized by the NASA/Ames Research Center, the European Research Community on Flow, Turbulence, and Combustion, and the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts are models for virtual centers. Virtual centers could draw upon researchers anywhere at any time. Although the idea is relatively new and relatively untested, it is very promising, and the committee recommends that it be given serious consideration. Alternatively, the center could be modeled after the jointly managed NASA/Stanford Center for Turbulence Research and the independently managed Institute for Computer Application Science and Engineering, at NASA/Langley.
The committee believes that if the resources to support the initiatives recommended above can be found from new sources or budgetary rearrangements, the Department of the Navy will be in a good position to maintain its technical superiority in hydromechanics in the decades ahead.