interest that might be affected by CMS research recommendations; and special technical topics concerned with safety, reliability, structural maintenance, industry competitiveness, and advanced-materials technology. In order to provide proper visibility to the recommended projects, they are related as parts of total-program thrust areas that support SSC goals.

In September 1994, the CMS held its annual joint meeting with the Ship Structure Subcommittee to discuss research areas of most interest to sponsoring agencies, the strategic plan, and the future financial status of the SSC and its potential effect on CMS efforts. The CMS recognizes that research in ship structures is being sponsored independently by agencies with relatively large funds compared with those available to the SSC. The challenge to the CMS thus becomes one of developing and recommending meaningful and timely research programs that are complementary to these funded major programs and that will fill in gaps and provide initial guidance for, or otherwise enhance, sponsoring agency efforts. (In addition, the CMS recognizes that its recommendations can become the basis for establishing agency research programs.) For example, the Navy's Reliability-Based Structural Design Program stems from, and is supported by, the reliability thrust of the CMS.

In order to properly support the SSC, the CMS strives to maintain a balanced composition of expertise on the design and materials work groups. To ensure broad appeal among the sponsoring agencies and secure the benefits of relevant technologies and technology transfer, representation is obtained from all relevant technical disciplines, academia, the research community, and the marine industry.

The SSC unanimously endorsed a strategic plan on June 5, 1992, and this approved plan as amended in May 1994 is reproduced in its entirety in Appendix C. The CMS project recommendations are keyed to the national goals and specific strategies addressed in the SSC Strategic Plan. However, periodic review and revision of the strategic plan by the SSC will keep the plan abreast of changing circumstances.

In November 1993, the SSC approved publishing a biennial, rather than an annual, report of research recommendations. This step had two potential benefits: first, encouragement of multiyear contracts, thus streamlining the contracting process; and second, a potential for advice that is more cost-effective. This document is the first biennial report.

For the SSC research program for FYs 1996–1997, the current report recommends 20 research projects that fully support the strategic plan and its stated goals and strategies. Also included (in Appendix A) are 19 potential follow-on projects for later years in the 4 specific thrust areas.

Project Designations

In the following sections, projects designated with an “SSC-” prefix are published SSC reports; those designated with an “SR-” prefix are currently being funded; those with a “96-” prefix are recommended for FYs 1996–97, those with a “96D-” prefix are out-year potential projects proposed by the Design work Group, and those with a “96M-” prefix are out-year potential projects proposed by the Materials work Group

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