DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is known for the wide range of research and development programs it runs to open pathways toward technologies that can further the cause of national security. Each program is most often known by its very own acronym, so for all those returning to school, or just to their normal post-summer routines, DARPA offers its own version of the ABCs.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Defense responsible for the development of emerging technologies for use by the military.
Originally known as the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), the agency was created in February 1958 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in response to the Soviet launching of Sputnik 1 in 1957. Since its inception, the agency’s mission is ensuring that the United States avoids further technological surprise. By collaborating with academic, industry, and government partners, DARPA formulates and executes research and development projects to expand the frontiers of technology and science, often beyond immediate U.S. military requirements.
DARPA-funded projects have provided significant technologies that influenced many non-military fields, such as computer networking and the basis for the modern Internet, and graphical user interfaces in information technology.
DARPA is independent of other military research and development and reports directly to senior Department of Defense management. DARPA has about 240 employees, of whom approximately 15 are in management, and close to 140 are technical staff.
The name of the organization changed several times from its founding name ARPA: DARPA (March 1972), ARPA (February 1993), and DARPA (March 1996).
For more information about the programs mentioned here, as well as the other breakthrough technologies DARPA is developing, visit the Agency’s web site at www.darpa.mil.