Defense Science Board

Studies

Current DSB Studies

Summer Studies

2023-12-04
The broad objective of the DSB’s Summer Study is to recommend strategies that best enable DoD’s continued development of symmetric and asymmetric capabilities that will characterize future conflicts. The specific objectives of the Summer Study are addressed in a classified annex to this Terms of Reference (ToR). The DSB will consider the tasks contained in the classified annex and provide a written report and recommendations in response.
See ToR…

2023-01-10
The objective of this Summer Study is to recommend a strategy for anticipating the global stresses and possible conflict due to climate change, as well as to provide investment priorities for new systems and technology to address the near-, mid-, and far-term needs. The DSB recommendations and report should take into consideration the following tasks: Investigate climate change impact on global political and military stability and highlight regions where current and future security stresses may increase the possibility of regional conflict; Investigate new dimensions of conflict driven by climate change, including the control of resources, interference in relief efforts, and influence of mass migration; Assess and recommend investments in new defense capabilities to anticipate needs driven by climate change; Recommend areas where Allies and partners can share the responsibility to address the global security impact of climate change.
See ToR…


Task Forces

2023-10-04
The Task Force should review the state of Generative Artificial Intelligence (GAI) utilization and integration within the Department and provide recommendations to improve our capabilities, capacity, and resilience and diminish our vulnerabilities and susceptibility to adversary actions.
See ToR…

2023-03-28
As potential threats have evolved, the Department needs a strategy to improve the defense industrial base resilience and to protect its supply chains for the development of current and future defense systems and technology. This study should review the state of the defense industrial base and provide recommendations to improve our capabilities, capacity, and resilience and diminish our vulnerabilities and susceptibility to adversary actions.
See ToR…

2022-11-09
This Task Force has been established to provide advice and recommendations on commercial space systems. The DoD increasingly uses access to commercial space systems for imagery, communication, and other purposes. Technological improvements in commercial space technology continues to enhance the quality and accessibility of commercial space products in ways that provide significant value for DoD operational needs. Because of the rapidly improving commercial space capabilities and access, a comprehensive plan for using commercial space systems in the context of classified U.S. space capabilities is needed.
See ToR…

2022-07-10
Section 231(f) of the NDAA for 2020 Public Law 116-02, directs the DSB to complete an independent assessment of the progress made by the Secretary of Defense in implementing sections 231(a) through (c) of the FY2020 NDAA.
See ToR…

2022-07-10
The 2022 NDAA legislated that the Secretary of Defense direct the DSB to “carry out a study on the resources and capabilities of the test and evaluation organizations, facilities, and laboratories of the Department of Defense.” This Task Force has been established to carry out the tasks identified in the terms of reference and provide its findings and recommendations to the USD(R&E).
See ToR…

2021-11-09
Section 213 (a) of the NDAA for FY2021 requires establishment of a mechanism to seek advice from existing Federal advisory committees on matters relating to USD(R&E) activities required in Section 230 (a) of the FY2019 NDAA, specifically: a) the implementation and prioritization of activities; and b) determining how such activities may be used to support the overall technology strategy of the Department of Defense.
See ToR…

2021-01-21
Section 1655 of the NDAA for FY2020 requires the Secretary of Defense direct the DSB to conduct a study on future cyber warfighting capabilities. Areas of study to include; a technical evaluation of the Joint Cyber Warfighting Architecture of the Department; a technical evaluation of the tool development and acquisition programs; an evaluation of the operational planning and targeting of USCYBERCOM; and development of recommendations for legislative or administrative action related to the future cyber warfighting capabilities of the Department.
See ToR…

2021-01-21
Section 263 of the NDAA for FY2020 requires the Secretary of Defense direct the DSB to “carry out a study on the emerging biotechnologies pertinent to national security.” This study is tasked to examine ways in which the DOD can take better advantage of the rapidly expanding technologies in biology, and to better understand and prepare for their application or misuse by adversaries.
See ToR…

2019-12-06
This study will identify and recommend specific architectures and operational approaches to enhance current PNT and support communications missions as well as provide ability to deny and confound other space based PNT systems over the next 10 years. Also, the Task Force will consider what synergy and dual use opportunities are possible for both PNT and communication missions across military, government infrastructure, and commercial applications.
See ToR…

2019-10-30
This study is charged to investigate DOD’s dependencies on non-DOD owned critical infrastructure with a focus on the energy, water, transportation, and communications sectors, and potential vulnerabilities and consequences from intentional multi-domain attacks against them. The Task Force should also assess how well the Department has addressed any issues related to its reliance on the DIB, for which it has direct responsibility.
See ToR…


Permanent Subcommittees

2023-10-05
The DSB, working through the Permanent Subcommittee, will identify concepts, capabilities, strategies, and courses of action in the scientific and technical enterprises that inform decision-making and serve to rebalance intervention cost and benefit to ensure U.S. operational dominance. Under the DSB, the Permanent Subcommittee areas of consideration will include (but not be limited to at the discretion of the USD(R&E)) new and novel uses of space assets; employment of cyber systems; development of new methodologies and countermeasures for electronic warfare; rapid collection and use of strategic counterintelligence; logistics resiliency both within the United States and abroad; region- and circumstance-specific integrated deterrence; existing and potential norms of behavior and escalation thresholds; advanced undersea assets and operational concepts; effective deterrence of adversarial coercive and malign activities in the gray zone; and additional considerations should include the adversary’s attempts and operations to undermine U.S. dominance in the air, space, sea, and cyber domains.
See ToR…

Current Studies:

2024-02-26
The Permanent Subcommittee on Strategic Options is directed to conduct a study that will identify options for mission defeat of difficult targets to ensure U.S. operational dominance for various scenarios. Areas of consideration will include (but not be limited to at the discretion of the (USD(R&E)): Recent intelligence on threat attributes and prevalence; Additional intelligence needed; Past studies and programs for addressing capabilities needed to defeat difficult targets; Development of an “effects chain” model for difficult target operation, including relevant inputs and outputs; Development of options for wide-area sensing and identification of difficult targets through multiple modalities and domains; Development of recommended system architectures for connecting detection, identification, decision support, effects implementation, and damage assessment for implementation across several organizations.
See ToR…

2024-01-12
The DSB, working through its Permanent Subcommittee on Strategic Options, is directed to conduct a study to consider the topic of commercial provision of navigation signals for operational use. The study should include the benefits of commercial constellations broadcasting PNT signals for DoD operational usage. The evaluation of these commercial alternatives must consider issues including security, technical viability, resilience, and industrial capacity.
See ToR…

2023-10-05
The Permanent Subcommittee is tasked to explore ways the DoD can create low-cost mass assets across the air, sea, and land domains in the “multiple thousands” within the next few years, as well as identify ways to counter adversarial assets that would present similar capabilities.
See ToR…

2022-05-06
With the return of great power competition and the lessons that history has taught us about the continuing evolution of WMD threats, the Permanent Subcommittee on Threat Reduction is established to examine on an ongoing basis how effectively the Department of Defense is – or should be – deterring, countering, and mitigating such threats against the nation, its military forces, and allies.
See ToR…

Current Studies:

2023-09-07
The DSB working through its Permanent Subcommittee on Threat Reduction, is directed to conduct a study to consider a range of potential “surprises” that might require demilitarization of chemical weapons, agents, or precursors, especially on a compressed timescale, as well as what “hot” or “warm” capabilities are the critical few for being able to respond – and at what level. Options for various levels of capability to mitigate risk and provide confidence should be considered. Scenarios should assess potential needs spanning domestic and international areas of operation during peacetime to wartime, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. The study should evaluate existing and on-the-horizon technologies and capabilities with considerations for the resources and workforce required to maintain these capabilities. If other matters material to the study topic are discovered in the subcommittee’s fact finding, those matters should be addressed as well.
See ToR…

2022-05-06
This Permanent Subcommittee is tasked to provide continuous, independent technical and programmatic advice regarding the safety, security, control, and reliability of the nuclear enterprise. It will play an independent role in ensuring that new technologies and ideas improve the safety, security, and reliability of our nuclear deterrent through the modernization and sustainment lifecycle. This Permanent Subcommittee will also continuously assess the progress of the nuclear modernization and sustainment programs overall.
See ToR…