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    * DARPA *

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    (Wikipedia) - DARPA This article is about the US military research agency. For other uses, see DARPA (disambiguation). Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Agency overview Formed Headquarters Employees Annual budget Agency executive Parent agency Website
    1958
    Arlington, Virginia, U.S.
    240
    2.8 billion
    Arati Prabhakar, Director
    Department of Defense
    www.darpa.mil
    DARPA''s former headquarters in the Virginia Square neighborhood of Arlington. This agency recently moved to 675 North Randolph Street, near the Ballston Common Mall.

    The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is an agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the development of new technologies for use by the military. DARPA has been responsible for funding the development of many technologies which have had a major effect on the world, including computer networking, as well as NLS, which was both the first hypertext system, and an important precursor to the contemporary ubiquitous graphical user interface.

    DARPA began as the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) created in 1958 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower for the purpose of forming and executing research and development projects to expand the frontiers of technology and science and able to reach far beyond immediate military requirements. The administration was responding to the Soviet launching of Sputnik 1 in 1957, and ARPA''s mission was to ensure U.S. military technology be more sophisticated than that of the nation''s potential enemies. From DARPA''s own introduction:

    DARPA’s original mission, established in 1958, was to prevent technological surprise like the launch of Sputnik, which signaled that the Soviets had beaten the U.S. into space. The mission statement has evolved over time. Today, DARPA’s mission is still to prevent technological surprise to the US, but also to create technological surprise for our enemies.

    ARPA was renamed to "DARPA" (for Defense) in March 1972, then renamed "ARPA" in February 1993, and then renamed "DARPA" again in March 1996.

    DARPA is independent from other more conventional military research and development and reports directly to senior Department of Defense management. DARPA has around 240 personnel (about 140 technical) directly managing a $3 billion budget. These figures are "on average" since DARPA focuses on short-term (two to four year) projects run by small, purpose-built teams.

    Contents

    HistoryPlay mediaDARPA achievements for the past 50 yearsEarly history

    The creation of DARPA was authorized by President Eisenhower in 1958 for the purpose of forming and executing research and development projects to expand the frontiers of technology and science, and able to reach far beyond immediate military requirements., the two relevant acts being the Supplemental Military Construction Authorization (Air Force) (Public Law 85-325) and Department of Defense Directive 5105.15, in February 1958. Its creation was directly attributed to the launching of Sputnik and to U.S. realization that the Soviet Union had developed the capacity to rapidly exploit military technology.

    Additionally, the political and defense communities recognized the need for a high-level Department of Defense organization to formulate and execute R&D projects that would expand the frontiers of technology beyond the immediate and specific requirements of the Military Services and their laboratories. In pursuit of this mission, DARPA has developed and transferred technology programs encompassing a wide range of scientific disciplines which address the full spectrum of national security needs.

    From 1958 to 1965, ARPA''s emphasis centered on major national issues, including space, ballistic missile defense, and nuclear test detection. During 1960, all of its civilian space programs were transferred to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the military space programs to the individual Services.

    This allowed ARPA to concentrate its efforts on the Project Defender (defense against ballistic missiles), Project Vela (nuclear test detection), and Project AGILE (counterinsurgency R&D) Programs, and to begin work on computer processing, behavioral sciences, and materials sciences. The DEFENDER and AGILE Programs formed the foundation of DARPA sensor, surveillance, and directed energy R&D, particularly in the study of radar, infrared sensing, and x-ray/gamma ray detection.

    ARPA at this point (1959) played an early role in Transit (also called NavSat) a predecessor to the Global Positioning System (GPS). "Fast-forward to 1959 when a joint effort between DARPA and the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory began to fine-tune the early explorers’ discoveries. TRANSIT, sponsored by the Navy and developed under the leadership of Dr. Richard Kirschner at Johns Hopkins, was the first satellite positioning system."

    During the late 1960s, with the transfer of these mature programs to the Services, ARPA redefined its role and concentrated on a diverse set of relatively small, essentially exploratory research programs. The agency was renamed the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in 1972, and during the early 1970s, it emphasized direct energy programs, information processing, and tactical technologies.

    Concerning information processing, DARPA made great progress, initially through its support of the development of time-sharing (all modern operating systems rely on concepts invented for the Multics system, developed by a cooperation among Bell Labs, General Electric and MIT, which DARPA supported by funding Project MAC at MIT with an initial two-million-dollar grant).

    DARPA supported the evolution of the ARPANET (the first wide-area packet switching network), Packet Radio Network, Packet Satellite Network and ultimately, the Internet and research in the artificial intelligence fields of speech recognition and signal processing, including parts of Shakey the robot. DARPA also funded the development of the Douglas Engelbart''s NLS computer system and The Mother of All Demos; and the Aspen Movie Map, which was probably the first hypermedia system and an important precursor of virtual reality.

    Later history

    The Mansfield Amendment of 1973 expressly limited appropriations for defense research (through ARPA/DARPA) to projects with direct military application. Some contend that the amendment devastated American science, since ARPA/DARPA was a major funding source for basic science projects of the time; the National Science Foundation never made up the difference as expected.

    The resulting "brain drain" is also credited with boosting the development of the fledgling personal computer industry. Many young computer scientists fled from the universities to startups and private research labs like Xerox PARC.

    Between 1976 and 1981, DARPA''s major projects were dominated by air, land, sea, and space technology, tactical armor and anti-armor programs, infrared sensing for space-based surveillance, high-energy laser technology for space-based missile defense, antisubmarine warfare, advanced cruise missiles, advanced aircraft, and defense applications of advanced computing. These large-scale technological program demonstrations were joined by integrated circuit research, which resulted in submicrometer electronic technology and electron devices that evolved into the Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Program and the Congressionally mandated charged particle beam program.

    Many of the successful programs were transitioned to the Services, such as the foundation technologies in automatic target recognition, space based sensing, propulsion, and materials that were transferred to the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (SDIO), later known as the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO), now titled the Missile Defense Agency (MDA).

    Recent history

    During the 1980s, the attention of the Agency was centered on information processing and aircraft-related programs, including the National Aerospace Plane (NASP) or Hypersonic Research Program. The Strategic Computing Program enabled DARPA to exploit advanced processing and networking technologies and to rebuild and strengthen relationships with universities after the Vietnam War. In addition, DARPA began to pursue new concepts for small, lightweight satellites (LIGHTSAT) and directed new programs regarding defense manufacturing, submarine technology, and armor/anti-armor.

    On October 28, 2009 the agency broke ground on a new facility in Arlington, Virginia a few miles from the Pentagon.

    In fall 2011, DARPA hosted the 100-Year Starship Symposium with the aim of getting the public to start thinking seriously about interstellar travel.

    DARPA History
    Play media
    The Formative Years (1958–1975) 
    Play media
    The Cold War Era (1975–1989) 
    Play media
    The Post-Soviet Years (1989–Present) 
    Organization Key characteristics

    According to former DARPA Director Tony Tether and W. B. Bonvillian (“Power Play”, W. B. Bonvillian, The American Interest, Volume II, p 39, November–December 2006), DARPA''s key characteristics to be replicated to reproduce DARPA''s success are:

    Current program offices

    DARPA has seven program offices, all of which report to the DARPA director:

    Former offices

    A 1991 reorganization created several offices which existed throughout the early 1990s:

    Reorganization in 2010 merged two offices:

    Projects Active projectsPast projectsNotable fiction

    ARPA/DARPA is well known as a high-tech government agency, and as such has many appearances in popular fiction. Some realistic references to ARPA in fiction are in Tom Swift and the Visitor from Planet X (DARPA consults on a technical threat), in episodes of television program The West Wing (the ARPA-DARPA distinction), the television program Numb3rs (DARPA research into creating the first self-aware computer), and in the motion picture Executive Decision (use of a one-of-a-kind experimental prototype in an emergency). It is also in the movie Chain Reaction, starring Keanu Reeves and Morgan Freeman.

    Other references often attribute to DARPA an operational or political role, in addition to its high-tech responsibilities. Examples are the Matthew Reilly books Temple and Hell Island, the James Rollins Sigma Force book series, and the video game series Metal Gear Solid, as well as the video games Infamous, Vanquish, and Tom Clancy''s Splinter Cell: Conviction. DARPA also appears in three novels by Andy McDermott, The Search for Excalibur, The Covenant of Genesis and The Empire of Gold. The institution Dharma Initiative in the series Lost bear a resemblance to DARPA more than in the name.

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