Posted 13 days ago by

About the Challenge

The U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ) National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and other federal agencies have funded research to develop materials, performance standards, and compliance testing methods to help ensure that body armor meets certain minimum performance requirements to protect the officers who wear it.  

The replacement cycle of a body armor system such as a ballistic-resistant vest is generally from three to five years.  This is typically defined by the warranties that manufacturers or suppliers provide with the products.  The ballistic performance of an individual vest may vary because of differences in normal daily wear and tear, other environmental factors, and the intrinsic chemical or physical properties of the ballistic materials from which the vest is constructed.  Ideally, because the safety of officers is the ultimate priority, the service life of a vest should be determined based on its actual ballistic performance, rather than on a general warranty.  However, there is currently no known way to predict the amount and rate of change of the ballistic performance of an individual vest.

Through the Body Armor Challenge, NIJ seeks viable solutions to determine whether individual in-service body armor has maintained an acceptable level of ballistic performance to a high degree of certainty at any point during its service life and in a manner that does not render it unfit for continued use. The goal of this Challenge is to empower end users who depend on this critical safety equipment to make informed decisions based on solid scientific evidence regarding the ballistic performance of the soft body armor they use.

Following the announcement of the award, the Challenge winner will be honored at an NIJ event in Washington, DC. It is also anticipated that the winner may be invited to attend the FY2013 annual meeting of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) to be recognized for their contribution to the safety of law enforcement officers.

This is a multi-phase Challenge.  Initial submission and award dates are listed below.  Subsequent submission and prize dates are listed on the NIJ Challenge web site along with complete application instructions and rules.

Competitors are encouraged to think creatively about how open data, data sharing, and crowdsourcing of data can play a role in the development, operation, and ongoing improvement of the solution.

Important dates

Submission Period:
Start: Sep 14, 2012 03:00 PM EDT End: Dec 14, 2012 05:00 PM EST
Winners announced:
Mar 15, 2013 12:00 PM EDT