The mission of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Defense Sciences Office (DSO) is to identify and create the next generation of scientific discovery by pursuing high-risk, high-payoff research initiatives across a broad spectrum of science and engineering disciplines and transforming these initiatives into disruptive technologies for U.S. national security. In support of this mission, the DSO Office-wide BAA invites proposers to submit innovative basic or applied research concepts that address one or more of the following technical domains: (1) Frontiers in Math, Computation and Design, (2) Limits of Sensing and Sensors, (3) Complex Social Systems, and (4) Anticipating Surprise. Each of these domains is described below and includes a list of example research topics that highlight several (but not all) potential areas of interest. Proposals must investigate innovative approaches that enable revolutionary advances. DSO is explicitly not interested in approaches or technologies that primarily result in evolutionary improvements to the existing state of practice.
Frontiers in Math, Computation & Design: The increasingly complex, technologically sophisticated, fast-paced and dynamic military operational environment imposes fundamental challenges in how we design and plan for future military needs. The DoD implications of these trends drive a need for new math, computation, and design tools that enable trusted decision making at increased speed and with known confidence levels. Topics of interest under this domain include, but are not limited to, the following:
Limits of Sensing & Sensors: Sensing and measurement of signals ranging from “DC to daylight” are ubiquitous to military systems and missions. Surveillance, navigation, warfighter health monitoring, and target ID/tracking are just a few examples of missions and/or applications that rely on various sensing modalities. Topics of interest under this domain include, but are not limited to, the following:
Complex Social Systems: Understanding social behavior and the dynamics of complex social networks is critically important for many military operations including stability, deterrence, compellence, counter-terrorism, shaping the environment, training, and mission planning. Additionally, increasingly robust machine capabilities in the form of automation, platforms, and artificial intelligence (AI) will fundamentally change how human teams frame problems, plan, and operate at tempo and manage complexity. Topics of interest under this domain include, but are not limited to, the following:
Anticipating Surprise: Ultimately, the goal of DSO Research and Development (R&D) investments is to ensure that U.S. warfighters have access to the most advanced technologies. Research funded under this thrust area supports scientific and technological discovery that leads to “leap ahead” capabilities for enhanced military readiness across multiple operational domains. Example topics of interest under this domain include, but are not limited to, the following: