Cyrus Jabbari, IDENT 2020 Winner and new member of DDR&E(AC)

A key element of DOD innovation is the ability to recruit and retain the world’s best talent. This is evident in the example of Cyrus Jabbari, an analyst in the Director of Defense Research and Engineering for Advanced Capabilities (DDR&E(AC)), Rapid Reaction Technology Office (RRTO), which is a part of the Office of the Undersecretary for Research and Engineering (OUSD (R&E). Cyrus recently distinguished himself as the winner of the Integrated Discovery of Emerging and Novel Technologies (IDENT) 2020, a research competition sponsored by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) R&D Directorate to discover emerging or disruptive technologies that support the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD) mission space. Cyrus won the IDENT 2020 competition before joining DDR&E(AC)//RRTO; the competition burgeoned his interest in the RDT&E process, and brought him to accept an offer as a support analyst for AC.

image of Cyrus Jabbari

The competition ran from April 1 to August 31, 2020. Built as a platform for gaining and sharing knowledge to protect our national and international security interests, IDENT draws from a pool of government defense experts, industry leaders, and seasoned academics to identify and assess emerging and disruptive CWMD threats or opportunities. Specifically, this competition provides defense leadership with the latest information on technologies related to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) weapons. The competition is scored based on risk assessments and technologies identified.


Cyrus’ meticulous research scored highest in the competition, propelling him ahead of the competitive field to win. A highlight of Cyrus’s project was presenting his research on microfluidics to the audience of lead academics, government, and industry subject matter experts, many of whom he has looked up to as leaders in the field. Microfluidics refers to the study of small-scale (sub-millimeter) fluids that can be precisely controlled and manipulated – a field crucial to detecting, understanding, and countering chemical weapons of mass destruction. In his presentation on microfluidics, Cyrus identified emerging technologies; analyzed tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs); and conducted a microfluidics CWMD risk assessment.

Cyrus applies the lessons learned from the competition to his current role performing data analytics at DDR&E(AC)//RRTO. Advanced Capabilities mission to identify emerging technologies to meet Combatant Commander needs, including in the CBRN and CWMD mission space, and Cyrus has proven his ability in IDENT 2020. Cyrus’s unique position, not as a seasoned government worker, but rather as a new analyst will provide new insight and fresh skills to DDR&E(AC)//RRTO. And without a doubt, his prestigious win at IDENT 2020 will likely be only the first of many accolades he receives in his burgeoning career.

Cyrus’s research has been published at the National Defense University, Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction and at the U.S. Naval Institute (paywall). Learn more here about USD(R&E) Advanced Capabilities.