Fulbright Program Partners with National Archives on New Heritage Science Fellowship

Office of the Spokesperson

The U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, and the National Archives and Records Administration today formalized a new partnership to establish the first-ever Fulbright-National Archives Heritage Science Fellowship.

Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Marie Royce, Chair of the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board Paul Winfree, and Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero signed a memorandum of understanding that will support archival science education, conservation, and research.  Heritage science is an interdisciplinary field that includes conservation, preservation, cultural heritage, archaeological science, and heritage management.

The new Fellowship will connect Fulbright visiting scholars with National Archives staff to conduct research at the National Archives’ state-of-the-art Preservation Lab.  Details about the first Fulbright-National Archives Heritage Science Fellowship for Fulbright visiting scholars, including eligibility and application details, will be announced soon.

The National Archives is the lead U.S. government agency responsible for archival science, research, preservation, and conservation.  This partnership with the Fulbright Program allows the National Archives to continue to advance and support collaborative research and academic engagement, and to help shape future leaders from around the world in these fields.

Established by the U.S. Congress in 1946, and celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, the Fulbright Program annually supports more than 8,000 students, scholars, artists, and professionals from the United States and more than 160 countries to study, teach, conduct research, exchange ideas, and find solutions to shared international challenges.

The National Archives is an independent federal agency that serves American democracy by safeguarding and preserving the records of our government, so people can discover, use, and learn from this documentary heritage.  Public access to government records strengthens democracy by allowing Americans to claim their rights of citizenship, hold their government accountable, and understand their history so they can participate more effectively in their government.  The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, Presidential Libraries and online sources .

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) fosters mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries to promote friendly and peaceful relations and advance U.S. foreign policy goals.  The Bureau accomplishes this mission through academic, cultural, sports, and professional exchanges that engage youth, students, educators, artists, athletes, and rising leaders in the United States and more than 160 countries.  ECA administers the Fulbright Program, the U.S. government’s flagship international academic exchange program, and one of the most widely recognized and prestigious exchange programs in the world.

The Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, appointed by the President of the United States, is a 12-member board established by Congress to supervise the global Fulbright Program.  Representing diverse facets of American society, Board members select students, scholars, teachers, and others from the United States and abroad to participate in Fulbright exchanges, set policies, and guide the strategic vision of the Fulbright Program.

For more information, please visit eca.state.gov or contact ECA-Press@state.gov or National Archives Public Affairs at public.affairs@nara.gov.

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    The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) did not consider cost estimates in early major design decisions for the W87-1 warhead because it was not required to do so, but NNSA has since changed its guidance to require that cost be considered, according to a May 2019 NNSA review of program documentation. The design decisions that remain for features that would achieve either minimum or enhanced requirements for the W87-1 could affect cost, according to NNSA officials (see table). We found, however, that NNSA did not yet have study plans for assessing the costs and benefits of the remaining decisions consistent with best practices as detailed in NNSA's analysis of alternatives business procedure. NNSA does not require and only recommends that programs such as the W87-1 follow these best practices. By directing the W87-1 program and future weapons programs to follow best practices for design studies, or to justify and document deviations, NNSA would have better assurance that design studies apply consistent, reliable, and objective approaches. NNSA Cost Estimates for W87-1 Warhead Design Variations That Meet Minimum and Enhanced Requirements, as of December 2018 (Dollars in billions) W87-1 design variations Cost estimate rangea Design includes features that meet minimum safety and security requirements 7.7 - 13.3 Design includes enhanced safety and security features 8.6 - 14.8 Difference between the above estimate ranges 0.9 - 1.5 Source: National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) documentation | GAO-20-703 aThe cost ranges reflect low and high estimates for a single design variation. The ranges represent technical and production risk and uncertainty. It is not clear that NNSA will be able to produce sufficient numbers of pits—the fissile cores of the primary—to meet the W87-1 warhead's planned production schedule. Recent NNSA and independent studies have cast doubt on NNSA's ability to ready its two planned pit production facilities in time. If one facility is not ready to produce pits in the early 2030s, for example, NNSA would likely produce fewer weapons than planned, according to GAO's analysis of NNSA plans. We were unable to fully assess the extent to which the two pit production facilities will be ready to produce pits for the W87-1 because NNSA's plutonium program—which is managing the facility readiness efforts—has not yet completed an integrated schedule for the overall pit production effort. An integrated schedule is important, according to best practices, because it integrates the planned work, resources, and budget. An NNSA official stated that the program was building a schedule, but could not provide documentation that it would meet best practices. A schedule consistent with best practices would provide NNSA with better assurance that it will have adequate pits to meet planned W87-1 production. This is a public version of a classified report that GAO issued in February 2020. Information that NNSA or DOD deemed classified or sensitive has been omitted. The Department of Defense (DOD) and NNSA restarted a program in fiscal year 2019 to replace the capabilities of the aging W78 nuclear warhead with the W87-1. NNSA made key design decisions for this weapon from 2010 until the program was paused in 2014. NNSA estimated in December 2018 that the W87-1 would cost $8.6 billion to $14.8 billion, which could make it the most expensive warhead modernization program to date. NNSA plans to newly manufacture the entire warhead, including the two major nuclear components, called the primary and secondary, using facilities it is modernizing or repurposing. You asked us to examine plans for the W87-1 warhead. This report examines, among other things, the extent to which NNSA (1) considered cost estimates in prior design decisions for the W87-1 and the potential effects of remaining design decisions on program cost, and (2) will be able to produce sufficient numbers of key nuclear components to meet W87-1 production needs. GAO reviewed NNSA documentation on prior and remaining design decisions and preliminary cost estimates, reviewed warhead and component production schedules, and interviewed NNSA and DOD officials. GAO is making four recommendations, including that NNSA require programs such as the W87-1 to follow analysis of alternatives best practices when studying design options and that the plutonium program build an integrated schedule consistent with schedule best practices. NNSA generally agreed with the recommendations. For more information, contact Allison B. Bawden at (202) 512-3841 or bawdena@gao.gov.
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    Why This Matters The Department of Education gives grants to schools and organizations that provide disadvantaged students with services to help them attend college. These eight grant programs are collectively known as “TRIO”, named for the original three programs. Congress provides over $1 billion each year to these programs, but Education could do more to understand how well these grants work to help students. Key Takeaways Education could improve the information it has about TRIO programs in two areas: (1) grantee performance data, and (2) program assessments. Schools and organizations report data to Education to show how the TRIO grants they receive have been working. For example, organizations that receive grants to encourage students to complete college report on the numbers and percentages of students who received services and earned degrees.  Education evaluates grantees’ performance using the self-reported data, but has done little to verify the data. Accurate performance data are important because returning grantees can earn points for past performance in the next grant competition—increasing the likelihood that they will receive new grants. Almost 80 percent of recent TRIO grants went to returning grantees.  Therefore, grantees may have an incentive to report a more positive picture than warranted. Officials from an organization representing TRIO grantees told us there is a risk that some grantees may report inaccurate information.  As for assessing the individual TRIO programs, studies of some programs are outdated. In addition, Education has never assessed the effectiveness of three of the seven TRIO programs that serve students, and did not have any new assessments planned as of August 2020. How GAO Did This Study We analyzed data from Education about TRIO grantees and applicants. We also reviewed relevant federal laws and regulations and agency documents, and interviewed Education officials and other TRIO stakeholders. Education should take additional steps to ensure the reliability of grantees' performance data and develop a plan for assessing the effectiveness of the TRIO programs that serve students. Education generally agreed with our recommendations. For more information, contact Melissa Emrey-Arras at (617) 788-0534 or emreyarrasm@gao.gov.
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