The military is hiring hairdressing students to help it improve its ability to protect troops from the potential for biological or chemical weapons, according to a report in The Times.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded the contract to a company called Ab Fab in September to conduct a study on how to make hairdresses that are resistant to biological and chemical agents.
DARPA has awarded the work to the firm for up to two years, and the Army said it plans to hire about 300 students over the next two years.
The Army is looking for students to work on their skills at a military installation and to study and practice new technologies in a small group environment.
“The goal of the study is to develop and deliver technology that can be used to enhance the safety of troops while minimizing potential injury and disease exposure,” a DARPA spokesperson said in a statement.
“The Army hopes to use this technology to improve the efficiency of the Army’s deployment of soldiers and civilians in a rapidly changing environment.”
The military has faced increased security threats since September’s deadly attack in Baghdad, and more than 100,000 troops have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan since then.
The Defense Advanced Resilience Agency, a Pentagon agency that manages the Army and Navy’s equipment, has been in talks with the private company since at least late October, according the Times.
DARP also has an agreement with Ab Fab to help develop new materials that can help the military withstand biological and other agents.
The company’s research is focused on developing new bio-resistant fabrics, but DARPA is also looking for ways to protect against chemical agents like mustard gas and anthrax, the Times said.
A military study in March showed that some of the most common bioweapon agents are now more lethal than previously thought.
In addition to the chemical weapons threat, the military is working to improve its response time to potential biological or cyberattacks.
The Pentagon has been trying to figure out how to best deal with such attacks since the election of President Donald Trump in November, according to Reuters.
According to the Defense Intelligence Agency, an intelligence agency that studies cyber and military threats, the US military has been testing its response to bioweapons attacks since late last year.
Bacteria and viruses have become more powerful and persistent over the past decade, making it increasingly difficult to prevent and respond to.
At the end of December, the Defense Department began sending teams of military scientists to the United States to test new chemical, biological, and radiological agents, according Reuters.
President Donald Trump has said that his administration would prioritize finding new ways to prevent terrorist attacks and prevent the spread of Ebola.
Trump has also said he will try to renegotiate a deal that would require the Pentagon to spend less on defense and more on homeland security.