First HSARPA Solicitation Seeking Biological and Chemical Countermeasures

First HSARPA Solicitation Seeking Biological and Chemical Countermeasures Solutions For Immediate Release Science and Technology

For Immediate ReleaseScience and TechnologyDirectorate September 25, 2003

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology division announced today the release of the first HomelandSecurity Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA) Research Announcement solicitation.The notice, which is available at http://www.fedbizopps.govand the DHS web site: www.dhs.gov, outlines the Department's technological requirementsin the area of detection systems for biological and chemical countermeasures.

"Our goal for this first solicitation is to develop and transition to the field the nextgeneration of biological and chemical detectors," said Dr. Charles McQueary, UnderSecretary, Science and Technology.  "These detectors will significantlyadvance the capabilities of our first responders and Federal programs to counterterrorism." The announcement addresses two key areas in biologicalcountermeasures and three key areas in chemical countermeasures: Thebiological countermeasure area will seek technologicaleas for Bioagent AutomousNetwork Detectors that will be developed to continuously monitor outdoor urban andmarine/shipboard areas for presence of bacteria, viruses or toxins.  In addition,responses will be requested for Rapid automated Biologicalentification Systems whichwill monitor indoor buildings, such as shopping malls, stadiums and large ships, butwith a quicker response time, providing occupants protection from the effects of an attack.

Thechemical countermeasures area will seek technological concepts for an Automous RapidFacility Chemical Agent Monitor that can continuously monitor facilities for thepresence of both toxic industrial chemicals and chemical warfare agents.  Inaddition, the solicitation requestseas for the development of a LightweightAutonomous Chemicalentification System, a hand-held device for first responders.  This device will have two functions:

  1. to assist first-responders in determining an area of contamination, and
  2. indicating whether or not protective gear needs to be worn while working

in the contaminated area. The third project is developing the Portable High through-put Integrated Laboratoryentification System (PHILIS) whichwill be capable of analyzing thousands of samples each day to helpentify areas thatmay be contaminated by dangerous chemical compounds.  PHILIS will be designed tobe fully self-contained and easy to transport to suspected contamination sites. "Bringingthese new biological and chemical countermeasures sensors and systems to realityrequires innovative thinking and partnerships among a wide variety of commercialbusinesses, laboratories, and academic institutions," said Dr. David Bolka,Director, HSARPA.  "Our phased evaluation approach will be key in developingthe most promising technologicaleas and system concepts in a rapid and costeffective manner." HSARPA is the external research funding arm for theDepartment of Homeland Security. This Agency within Science and Technology is expectedto develop revolutionary changes in technologies that support homeland security, to advancethose technologies which are "critical," and to "accelerate the prototypingand deployment of technologies" that reduce homeland vulnerabilities. TheU.S. Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology division serves as theprimary research and development arm of the Department, utilizing our nation'sscientific and technological resources to provide federal, state and local officialswith the technology and capabilities to protect the homeland. HSARPA Fact Sheet