In 2007 the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) established a new basic research program to solve the most challenging problems for reducing the threats from weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The program has two interlinked principal goals:
1.Stimulate the development of innovative solutions to enable revolutionary change for achieving effective, efficient and affordable threat reduction
2.Promote the development of the next generation science and technology (S&T) workforce for combating WMD
From the beginning, DTRA recognized that partnership with academia would be crucial for achieving both goals. Equally important is a continuing dedication to be excellent stewards of taxpayer resources and ensuring that DTRA’s basic research program avoids duplication with other U.S. Government funded research while concentrating on counter-WMD efforts. This plan details our strategy and approach to accomplishing these goals. The DTRA basic research program is led by the Basic and Applied Sciences Department (BA) within the Research and Development Directorate (J9). The Department funds results-oriented, basic research across the full range of DTRA operational and technical mission areas. The Department continuously strives to achieve its vision of being the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s strategic investor and transition enabler. As a core element of the DTRA – and the greater Department of Defense (DoD) – research enterprise, the Department carries out its mission to plan, foster, encourage and facilitate transition of scientific research in recognition of its paramount importance as related to combating weapons of mass destruction by facilitating world class basic and applied research while developing the next generation S&T workforce.
The J9-BA program strategy for fulfilling this mission has five major components:
1.Bring science and scientists back to DTRA
2.Ensure that basic research is aimed at high risk, high pay-off research unconstrained by specific requirements or applications
3.Attract the “best of breed” performers from the national and international research communities
4.Give highest priority to technical quality and degree of innovation in project selection
5.Achieve collaboration and transition appropriate for basic research with both internal and external partners
Just as DTRA is the DoD’s primary counter-WMD operational and technical arm, J9-BA is the DoD’s primary counter-WMD strategic investor. To that end, the Department maintains a clear focus on using near-term scientific achievements to reduce WMD threats while allowing for scientific discovery to create unimagined capabilities for the warfighter.