Now that summer is over, we are entering a busy time of the year at the SERDP and ESTCP offices. We are finalizing project selection for FY19 in both programs and are starting to rough out the SERDP Statement-of-Need topics for the FY20 solicitation. I like it when the pace picks up this time of the year even if it is sometimes too easy to get caught up in the flow of events and forget to take time to think.

The SERDP Technical Committees completed their ranking of SERDP proposals over the summer. As most of you know, full proposals are first sent out for peer review and those that pass this gate are ranked for DoD-relevance and program balance by the Technical Committees. Based on these rankings and priorities of various research topics, we have completed final selections for the FY19 SERDP program. At this point, there are only two remaining hurdles to a final program. The first, which is familiar to many SERDP PIs, is approval of individual Core projects by the Technical Review Board. We are using the TRB this cycle as a stand-in for our Scientific Advisory Board which will be back in action later this year.  As usual, Board meetings will be held this month and again in October. The second is approval of the program as a whole by the SERDP Council. This ten-member body has representatives from all three partner agencies and is responsible for overall direction of SERDP and approval of each year’s program. The Council is scheduled to meet this year on September 28th.

The ESTCP Selections are not quite as far along. The Weapons Systems and Platforms ESTCP Technical Committee met last week to hear presentations from those projects invited to submit full proposals. The other Program Areas will follow the remainder of this month and in to October. Once the individual Technical Committees have ranked the ESTCP proposals, final selections will be made and the whole program submitted to our management for approval. Final approvals should occur the last week in October.

As we finish up the FY19 selections, we are also working on the FY20 program. The Technical Committees have started their deliberations on potential SERDP Statements-of-Need and ESTCP Topics for FY20. At the same time, we are interacting with members of the Council, the SERDP Executive Working Group, and others in senior leadership in the Department to get their perspectives on the pressing environmental issues of the day. We will release SERDP Statements-of-Need in late October and ESTCP Topics in early January 2019. Then, the selection cycle begins again.