Past Solicitations
BAA12-002
Chemical Attribution Signature Studies for Chemical Threat Agents

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate Chemical and Biological Division (CBD) seeks technologies to prevent and defend against a chemical and biological attack. Within the Chemical and Biological Division is the Threat Characterization and Attribution (TCA) Branch, which has the mission to conduct threat and risk assessments on both traditional and advanced agents; conduct experiments to close major scientific knowledge gaps; provide scientific support to the biodefense, chemical defense and intelligence communities; and provide the Nation with an operational biological and chemical forensics capability. The Chemical Forensics Program (Chem FP) supports the latter part of the above TCA mission. The threat of terrorist or criminal use of chemical threat agents is of great concern in the United States. There are vulnerabilities that create the need to perform chemical analyses for attribution in a rigorous scientific manner. As part of the effort to deter criminal and terrorist chemical attacks and strengthen the law enforcement response to such an act, Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) 22, a classified document dealing with domestic chemical defense, was issued. An unclassified portion of this document addresses attribution as a means of identifying the nature and source of materials, the perpetrators and the methods of chemical attacks. The primary internal customers of the Chem FP are law enforcement and intelligence components of the DHS, and the primary external customer is the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) due to its lead investigative agency role in acts of terrorism. This Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) seeks to provide sound scientific techniques related to supporting attribution analyses leading to the capture, indictment, and prosecution of the perpetrator(s) of a criminal or terrorist act involving the actual or threatened use of Chemical Threat Agents (CTAs).

Topics

TFA-1 - Technical Focus Area 1

Determine if high-priority CTAs or precursors produced by various synthesis methods or procured from various commercial sources contain/retain CAS that have value in associating various samples with each other and/or distinguishing how, where and/or by whom the recovered CTA or precursor samples were produced and subsequently handled. High-priority CTAs include, but are not limited to, the following: a) Blood Agents b) Blister Agents/Vesicants c) Nerve Agents d) Lung/Choking/Pulmonary Agents e) Highly Toxic Pesticides, Rodenticides and Fumigant Chemicals f) Toxic Industrial Chemicals (TICs) g) Toxic Industrial Materials (TIMs) h) Other Chemical Toxins and Toxicants Determine optimal methods and analytical techniques for conducting comprehensive forensic analyses of samples for source determination and association with other samples. Consideration should be given to both destructive and non-destructive techniques. Approaches that apply to a group or class of chemicals are preferred over those that address only a particular CTA. Proposals that involve applications or minor modification of equipment that is "Commercial Off-the-Shelf" (COTS) and generally available in DHS Chem FP customer and performer laboratories are preferred. Proposals for the building of prototype equipment will have to provide a compelling justification as to why COTS equipment is not capable of meeting the requirements. (Note: The recovery and analysis of CAS from biological and botanical samples (e.g., metabolics and biomarkers) are not within the scope of the DHS Chemical Forensics Program mission and this BAA. Research in these areas is funded by other agencies.) 1) What are the best instrumental approaches for analyzing different types of CAS? Note: The goal of the DHS Chem FP is to provide its customers with peer-reviewed reports, standard analytical methods and scientific journal articles that are admissible in judicial proceedings. The Chem FP does not plan to fund classified CAS studies. Other agency partners are presently addressing certain NTAs due to their classified nature.

TFA-2 - Technical Focus Area 2

Determine optimal techniques for sampling (collection and preservation) of different types of CAS at chemical incident scenes to stabilize the samples and minimize derivative chemistry and degradation. Consideration should be given to both destructive and non-destructive techniques. Approaches that apply to a group or class of chemicals are preferred over those that address only a particular CTA. Proposals that involve applications or minor modification of equipment that is "Commercial Off-the-Shelf" (COTS) and generally available in DHS Chem FP customer and performer laboratories are preferred. Proposals for the building of prototype equipment will have to provide a compelling justification as to why COTS equipment is not capable of meeting the requirements. (See above TFA-1 note about the recovery and analysis of CAS from biological & botanical samples.) 1) Can a concise document be developed to provide to First Responders with guidance on best practices for the collection of samples to support chemical forensics investigations? 2) What are the best methods and instrumental techniques for obtaining CAS samples from different types of substrates commonly encountered in buildings and mass transit venues? 3) What are the best types of containers to store and transport CAS samples recovered at the scenes of chemical incidents? 4) Are their certain materials/surfaces that should be sampled over others because of their demonstrated efficiency in retaining CAS at the scenes of chemical incidents? 5) Can "universal" or broad-based sampling techniques be identified that would be optimal for unknowns? 6) Can spray-type, tape lifts, rollers or peel products that provide simpler sampling (similar to those used in latent fingerprint processing) be developed? 7) Can existing commercially available materials be modified to for chemical forensic sampling purposes? 8) Can materials and techniques developed for environmental sampling or sampling for radiological contamination be altered to address chemical forensic sampling?

TFA-3 - Technical Focus Area 3

(Proposals from Academic Institutions Encouraged) - Conduct a comprehensive review of forensic and chemical journals (e.g., Journal of Forensic Sciences, Forensic Science International, Analytical Chemistry, etc.) for articles relating to methods and analytical techniques for the attribution of drugs and explosives and report on potential applicability of methods to Chemical Forensics and Attribution. 1) Identify those articles that present methods that have a high likelihood of applicability and transferability to the chemical laboratories of DHS Chemical Forensics Program customers and performers. 2) Identify those articles that present methods that with some modification could be used to the support attribution within the DHS Chemical Forensics Program.

TFA-4 - Technical Focus Area 4

(Proposals from Academic Institutions Encouraged) - Conduct open source (printed and internet) literature searches and provide descriptions of the methods that are being discussed to produce and use various CTAs. 1) What types of open source materials are publicly available that describe methods to produce and use CTAs. Particular attention should be paid to material that either states or infers that the CTAs could be used against persons or property.

Key Dates
Solicitation Open Date:
10/31/2011
White Paper Registration Deadline:
12/16/2011 04:30 PM ET
White Paper Submission Deadline:
12/16/2011 04:30 PM ET
Submission Deadline:
06/29/2012 04:30 PM ET


Amendments and Q&As
amendment icon Amendment # 4
Posted Date 5/14/12

amendment icon Amendment # 3
Posted Date 5/14/12

amendment icon Amendment # 2
Posted Date 12/9/11

amendment icon Amendment # 1
Posted Date 11/10/11



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