CTTSO Challenge: Safer and More Effective Less than Lethal Capabilities for Area Denial and Crowd Control

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Challenge overview


Security forces require more effective and safer Less than Lethal capabilities to control individuals and crowds in both open areas and confined spaces. Such capabilities would enable security forces to carry out their missions successfully while mitigating injury and unintended effects to themselves and the public. The Seeker for this Challenge, the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO) of the United States in partnership with the Government of Israel seek to identify innovative new technologies and concepts for Less than Lethal capabilities for area denial and crowd control.

This Challenge seeks Ideation and Theoretical level submissions for different potential awards and requires only a written proposal.



Security forces around the world need capabilities that deliver compelling effects without inflicting undue harm to those in a crowd while ensuring effective protection to the security forces employing the capability. Two key tasks are area denial and crowd control. This may include a specific individual or a group of people and may happen in an open area or a confined space. It is undeniable that safer and more effective methods to accomplish these tasks benefit all parties involved. The Seeker wishes to identify innovative new technologies for area denial and crowd control. Submissions should address methods that are useable at a distance and applicable to individuals and/or groups in open areas, and/or methods effective against all occupants of a confined space without requiring the user to enter that confined space. Solutions must not cause permanent physical harm to the target subjects.

The Seeker is soliciting two levels of submissions for two different levels of awards: (1) Ideation level submissions consisting of descriptions of novel ideas, concepts, and approaches addressing the goals of the Challenge, and (2) Theoretical level submissions consisting of a detailed description with detailed supporting information as outlined in the Project Criteria section of the Challenge. A total award pool of up to $135,000 is available with full awards for winning Theoretical level submissions of $20,000 each and partial awards for winning Ideation level submissions of $5,000 each. The Seeker anticipates making multiple awards at each level.

In addition, winning Solvers may be invited to present and discuss their winning solutions at a virtual Less Than Lethal Capabilities Symposium involving representatives of the governments of the U.S. and Israel.

This Challenge requires only a written proposal to be submitted. The Challenge award will be contingent upon theoretical evaluation of the proposal by the Seeker. After the Challenge deadline, the Seeker will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the Winning Solution(s). All Solvers that submit a Theoretical level proposal will receive feedback on their submissions while Solvers submitting Ideation level submissions will be notified on the status of their submissions; however, no detailed evaluation of individual Ideation level submissions will be provided.

To receive either level of award, the Solvers will not have to transfer their exclusive IP rights to the Seeker. Instead, Solvers will grant to the Seeker a non-exclusive license for U.S. and Israel government use.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on 01-Feb-2021. Late submissions will not be considered.



Participants must certify they do not have identical or essentially equivalent work funded by another U.S. or Israeli government agency.

U.S. or Israel government employees acting within the scope of their employment are not eligible to participate. A U.S. or Israel government employee acting outside the scope of his or her employment should consult his or her ethics official before participating in the Challenge.




The Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO) provides a forum for interagency and international users to discuss mission requirements to combat terrorism, prioritize those requirements, fund and manage solutions, and deliver capabilities.  The CTTSO accomplishes these objectives through rapid prototyping of novel solutions developed and field-tested before the traditional acquisition systems are fully engaged.  This low-risk approach encourages interdepartmental and interagency collaboration, thereby reducing duplication, eliminating capability gaps, and stretching development dollars.

The Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D), at Israel’s Ministry of Defense, is a globally recognized center of knowledge and expertise in the field of military technology, the DDR&D contributes to the development, production and maintenance of the tools and technology used by the IDF and the entire defense establishment.  Their work guarantees Israel’s ability to protect its civilians and maintain its qualitative edge.


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