DTRA: Fundamental Research to Counter Weapons of Mass Destruction (C-WMD)


This BAA is an extramural endeavor that combines fundamental research needs of DTRA and other DOD interests. DTRA safeguards America and its allies from weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and provide capabilities to reduce, eliminate and counter the threat and effects from chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high yield explosives. DTRA seeks to identify, adopt, and adapt emerging, existing and revolutionary sciences that may demonstrate high payoff potential to Counter-WMD (C-WMD) threats. This announcement solicits white papers for long-term challenges in specific fundamental areas of research that offer a significant contribution to the current body of knowledge, understanding of phenomena and observable facts, significantly advance revolutionary technology, new concepts for technology application, and may have impact on future C-WMD capabilities. A small portion of this effort is expected to be devoted to awards for science, technology, engineering and mathematics education programs with a C-WMD focus; such as, but not limited to, stipends, degrees, and visiting scientist programs.

White papers and proposals shall be written against the Thrust Area descriptions:
Thrust Area 1: Science of WMD Sensing and Recognition: The basic science of WMD sensing and recognition is the fundamental understanding of materials that demonstrate measurable changes when stimulated by radiation or particles from WMD in the environment. This research thrust involves exploration and exploitation of interactions between materials and various photons, molecules, nuclear radiation and/or particles. These interactions and the specific form of recognition they provide are used for subsequent generation of information that provides knowledge of the presence, identity, and/or quantity of material or energy in the environment that may be significant.

Thrust Area 2: Cognitive, Information and Network Science: The basic science of cognitive and information science results from the convergence of computer, information, mathematical, network, cognitive and social science. This research thrust expands our understanding of physical and social networks and advances knowledge of adversarial intent with respect to the acquisition, proliferation, and potential use of WMD. The methods may include analytical, computational or numerical, or experimental means to integrate knowledge across disciplines and improve rapid processing of intelligence and dissemination of information.

Thrust Area 3: Science for Protection: Fundamental science for protection involves advancing knowledge to protect life and life-sustaining resources and networks. Protection includes threat containment, decontamination, threat filtering, and shielding of systems. The concept is generalized to include fundamental investigations that reduce consequences of WMD, assist in the restoration of life-sustaining functions, and support forensic science.

Thrust Area 4: Science to Defeat WMD: Fundamental Science for significantly improving energetic materials for use against WMD facilities and systems, for deeper penetration to deny the adversary sanctuary of WMD, for predictable modeling of counter-WMD munitions and simulation of in-theater scenarios with accurate lethality calculations, for minimizing collateral effects when engaging WMD and for exploiting vulnerable pathways, infrastructure etc. to eliminate the threat of WMD.

Thrust Area 5: Science to Secure WMDs: Fundamental science to support securing WMD includes: (a) environmentally responsible innovative processes to neutralize chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosive (CBRNE) materials and components; (b) discovery of revolutionary means to secure components and weapons; and (c) studies of scientific principles that lead to novel physical or other tags and methods to monitor compliance and disrupt proliferation pathways. The identification of basic phenomena that provide verifiable controls on materials and systems also helps arms control.

Thrust Area 6: Cooperative Counter WMD Research with Global Partners: Cooperative fundamental research to reduce the global threat of WMD in collaboration with a broad range of global research partners. This thrust area involves exploratory applied research that may have a basic research component to address opportunities to reduce, eliminate, and counter WMD across the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and High Explosive (CBRNE) spectrum. Strong international relationships will foster smooth transition of C-WMD program ownership to the partnering country. The foci are to improve international collaboration to detect, characterize, and report WMD, and to advance host nation sustainment through a culture of long-term cooperation and scientific responsibility for C-WMD programs. Multidisciplinary research in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics promotes transparency through quality research publications and continual dialogue between scientist/engineers and young researchers.

There are 2 categories of award that will be considered:
1. Single Investigator Awards: Proposals that focus on exploratory aspects of a unique problem, a high risk approach, or innovative research in subjects with potential for high impact to fundamental C-WMD science.
2. Single Grant/Multiple Investigator/Multidisciplinary Awards: Proposals that involve a comprehensive program of innovative research in either a focused or interdisciplinary area with potential for high impact. The proposed research must involve fundamental contributions in research by multiple investigators from diverse disciples (proposal must be multidisciplinary). Investigators may be from a single institution or different institutions.