The Department of Defense challenged the public to design a kit for use in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) situations.

In December 2010 the U.S. Congress passed the America Competes Reauthorization Act, providing agencies with broad authority to conduct prize competitions as called for in President Obama’s 2010 Strategy for American Innovation. The America Competes Reauthorization Act gives agencies a simple and clear legal path to conduct prize competitions, thereby dramatically lowering barriers for agencies to use prizes to spur innovation, solve tough problems and advance their core mission.

The National Defense University and the Center for Technology and National Security Policy announces the Humanitarian Assistance and Distaster Relief-Challenge under the America Competes Act!


In March of 2010 a Joint Capability Technology Demonstration was initiated by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) to deliver a capability that can support the immediate needs of first responders to a crisis event by providing essential services and the capability to quickly assess and survey a crisis area and communicate with regional and national level leaders to coordinate the national response.  The project developed an integrated kit that provides:

- Reliable power from primarily renewable sources to power system components

-Potable water from local sources

-Local and global communications to transmit & receive voice, data and images

-Local situational awareness and information sharing

The kit satisfies all operational requirements as defined by DoD, and delivers more capability than is required by other user organizations. However, the JCTD kit is bigger, heavier and more costly than some user organizations can accommodate.

Interested individuals and organizations are invited to design a kit for use in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HA/DR) situations.  The kit will be suitable for initial HA/DR response activities by US government departments and agencies, as well as by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) and foreign governments. The kit and all its components must not be subject to export control restrictions and should, if possible, cost no more than US$50,000.

Design Parameters:

a.    Integrated Kit:

1.    Fit inside a single Joint Modular Intermodal Container (JMIC) (51.75″ L x 43.75″ W x 43″H;

2.    Weigh less than 500 lbs (excluding container)

3.    Include physical protection for components (such as protective Pelican cases)

4.    Components capable of operating simultaneously using only the kit power supply

5.    Components capable of operating independently or as an integrated kit

6.    Comply with Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) safety requirements

b.    Power Generation:

1.    Generate all power from renewable sources

2.    Provide a constant 1KW for 24/7 operations

3.    Regulated 12/24VDC and 110/220VAC outlets

4.    Capable of integrating with external power supplies (mains, vehicles, etc)

c.    Water Purification:

1. Filter fresh and brackish water up to 15,000 ppm TDS

2. Produce 1,000 gallons per day of potable water

3. Disinfection procedure to maintain potable water at U.S. government standards

4.  Product water must comply with EPA standards for safe drinking water.

d.    Communications:

1. Independent communication system for up to 20x users

within a two mile radius

2.  Capable of linking to local cell phone networks, if


3.  Capable of linking to the internet

4.  Capable of transmitting text, voice, photos and

short/limited video. 

View full rules

How to enter

ALL competitors must submit an HADR-Challenge Submission Packet (Packet available here) via the DoD’s Challenge.Gov Platform NLT15 August 2011. All submissions must address the HADR Challenge Design Parameters as outlined in the challenge announcement. Please email for more details.


No avatar 100

Dr. Linton Wells
National Defense University

Judging Criteria

  • See Enlcosure 1: Assessment Matrix
    Personnel from the National Defense University and CTNSP will provide expert advice and guidance on competitor performance and will serve as judges for the purpose of the HADR-Challenge.