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Project on Advanced Systems and Concepts for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s (DTRA) Project on Advanced Systems and Concepts for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (PASCC) supports research activities that benefit the public through analysis and engagement to reduce and counter the threats posed by weapons of mass destruction and weapons of mass effect (WMD/WME).  Additional priority areas that reflect the addition of the Joint Improvised Threat Defeat Organization (JIDO), which is now part of DTRA, are included.

PASCC seeks to:

  • Cultivate national and international research community partnerships across domains
  • Bring scientific, technical, and social science faculty/experts together
  • Look ahead to help understand and anticipate WMD/WME capabilities and threats

Established in 2011, PASCC plans and conducts research studies and strategic dialogues that support the mission of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to counter the full spectrum of threats posed by weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and weapons of mass effect (WME). Until 2016, the PASCC program was administered out of the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in Monterey, California. The Naval Postgraduate School continues to retain a large archive of PASCC research papers and can be found on the NPS website.  Many PASCC papers may also be accessed via the Homeland Security Digital Library.


PASCC sponsors innovative studies by working with a diverse set of research partners.  The annual merit-based, peer-review process for selecting projects ensures that DTRA and other stake holders benefit from the most rigorous research by the best subject matter experts (SMEs) in the field.  PASCC project awards are based on the evaluation criteria of quality, rigor, and technical merits; responsiveness to PASCC’s BAA; the qualifications, capabilities, and experience of the performer; and cost realism and efficiency.

PASCC does not fund:

  • Development of technologies or scientific capabilities
  • Studies about cybersecurity or traditional counterterrorism
  • Construction projects

PASCC accepts but does not directly fund- Proposals from Federally Funded Research & Development Centers (FFRDCs), including Department of Energy National Laboratories. This includes subcontracting/sub-recipient efforts. (There is, however, a method in which FFRDC submissions will be taken into consideration.)


PASCC is directed by Dr. James Smith, INSS and PASCC Director, at the Institute for National Security Studies at the US Air Force Academy.  PASCC governance includes a Senior Steering Group (SSG) that assists the PASCC Director in setting research priorities, and a Selection Committee that reviews and recommends selection of projects for funding.

  • White Papers for FY19 consideration are due on June 7, 2018
  • FY19 notifications have been made

The PASCC FY19 research priorities and topics of interest have been published and can be found at:

PASCC FY19 Broad Area Announcement (BAA) and CALL Links

The following links provide instructions on how to submit White Papers to PASCC. The Broad Area Announcement (BAA) was published in 2016 and will remain valid for 5 years.  The BAA provides detailed information on the application process, including specific guidelines for the submission of White Papers.  The CALL is updated annually and outlines areas of research that are of particular interest to DTRA. Although the year “2016” appears in the title of the CALL, the link below is current and valid for FY19 research.

Save the date: The Defense Treat Reduction Agency’s (DTRA) Project on Advanced Systems and Concepts for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (PASCC) will hold a research results workshop on Thursday, May 10, 2018 at the National Academy of Sciences; 2101 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC



Gryphon Scientific (Berger), “Development of a Roadmap for Implementing New and Changing U.S. Biosecurity Policy”
Berger Abstract

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (Dalton), “Regional and Alliance Implications of Evolving Deterrence on the Korean Peninsula”
Dalton Abstract

Federation of American Scientists (Ferguson), “Emerging Technologies’ Potential Effects on Nuclear Proliferation and Strategic Nuclear Forces Survivability: Adversary Perspectives and Implications for Strategic Stability”
Ferguson Abstract

Bowdoin College (Gibbons), “The Effect of the Proposed Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty on US Allies”
Gibbons Abstract

Australian National University (Gill), “Interpreting China’s New Strategic Forces: Motivations, Doctrinal Shifts, Implications”
Gill Abstract

University of Sydney (Hastings), “Illicit Networks and the Nuclear Fuel Cycle”
Hastings Abstract

Center for Strategic and International Studies (Hersmann), “Deterrence Reset: Prospects for WMD Attribution and Accountability in a Post-CW Use World”
Hersman Abstract

Utah State University (Johnson), “Assessing Prospects for Iranian Compliance with the JCPOA: An Applied Case Study in Socio-Cultural Modeling and Analysis”
Johnson Abstract

Henry L. Stimson Center (Lalwani), “Examining Continuity and Change in Pakistan’s Strategic Thinking”
Lalwani Abstract

Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (Lewis), “Addressing the Threat of State-Level Radiological Weapons Programs”
Lewis Abstract

Naval Postgraduate School  (Ostovar), “Iranian Politics and Future WMD Decision-Making”

Nonproliferation Policy Education Center (Sokolski), “Speaking Truth to Nonproliferation”
Sokolski Abstract

University of Georgia (Zwald), “Risk Disposition and Multi-domain Strategic Stability: An Empirical Examination”
Zwald Abstract


National Academy of Sciences (Bowman/Husbands/Thevenon), “Regional Workshops on Science and Technology Issues for the Biological Weapons Convention”
Bowman Abstract

Center for Strategic and International Studies/Naval Postgraduate School (Cossa/Twomey), “US-China Strategic Nuclear Dialogue”
Cossa and Twomey Abstract

Center for Strategic and International Studies (Glosserman) “Trilateral Cooperation to Strengthen Extended Deterrence in Northeast Asia”
Glosserman Abstract

UPMC Center for Health Security/Johns Hopkins (Gronvall), “India-US Strategic Dialogue on Biosecurity”
Gronvall Abstract

UPMC Center for Health Security/Johns Hopkins (Inglesby/Cicero), “US-Singapore-Malaysia-Indonesia Multilateral Dialogue on Biosecurity”
Inglesby Abstract

Middlebury Institute of International Studies (Kane), “U.S.-Israel Security Dialogue”
Kane Abstract

Naval Postgraduate School (Kapur), “United States-India Strategic Dialogue”
Kapur Abstract

Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (Mahnken), “U.S.-Australia-Japan Strategic Dialogue on Security, Deterrence, and Proliferation”
Mahnken Abstract

National Academy of Sciences (Rusek), “Advancing Joint Chinese-U.S. Dialogue on Biological Safety and Global Health Security”
Rusek Abstract

Center for Strategic and International Studies (Squassoni), “A Track II Dialogue on U.S.-Russia Crisis Stability”
Squassoni Abstract


If you have any questions about the submission process, please don’t hesitate to contact INSS at 719-333-2717 or INSS@usafa.edu.  The INSS/PASCC director may be reached at 719-333-7144.