FORT BELVOIR, Va. – More than 120 Department of Defense and Department of Energy laboratory principle investigators and program managers attended the second Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s (DTRA) Laboratory Engagement Workshop, in Lorton, Virginia, on Feb. 20.
DTRA Science and Technology managers (STMs) and subject matter experts (SMEs) executing the agency’s Joint Science and Technology Office’s (JSTO) mission, delivered in-depth briefings which focused on invested program areas and current research gaps. Following the plenary session, breakout sessions were held with the participants to discuss their ideas on addressing program needs.
“The primary purpose of today’s event is to work collaboratively with our laboratory partners to align their scientific and technological capabilities to the Chemical Biological Defense Program’s (CBDP) mission requirements,” said Dr. Baochuan Lin, laboratory coordinator for DTRA’s Warfighter Integration division. “Our goal here today is to impact the fiscal year 2021 program build, so we must ensure our lab partners attain a thorough understanding of our research needs in order to effectively provide relevant research support.”
Today’s chemical and biological emerging threats are evolving at unprecedented rates, displaying increased evasion and resistance capabilities. With unpredictability as a trait, threats must be confronted by all available resources. DTRA counters these threats by executing agile, broad-spectrum research and development approaches which are supported by robust service laboratory partnering.
Throughout the day, laboratory participants conducted one-on-one and group sessions with DTRA program managers to bridge knowledge gaps and ensure communication channels remain transparent and mission focused.
“It was a very informative event,” according to Dr. Jason W. Roback from Oak Ridge National Laboratory. “We found all of the overview presentations useful and appreciated the opportunity to have a more intimate discussion on JSTO’s basic research strategic plan.”
The complexity of the JSTO mission portfolio requires multifaceted application capabilities. Areas of expertise comprise of detection and diagnostic technology development, digital information management and analysis, vaccine and therapeutic discovery and advanced and emerging threat identification and behavior characterization. This portfolio equips U.S. warfighters with an integrated layered defense to defeat threats without fear of chemical, biological or radiological contamination.
“The majority of our participants stated that this event was very informative and appreciated the details provided on current capabilities and future research efforts, as well as in having important face time with the STMs. It’s our job to bridge the gap and communicate JSTO’s needs in potential areas for science and technology investment so what we can better equip warfighters with relevant tools to enhance their ability to counter weapons of mass destruction and improvised threats,” Lin added.