Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

Norm Whitaker, Program Manager, DARPA, wraps up the day in Mountain View, California. Norm also answers some questions from the press, most involving the history of Darpa, and how it came to be.


The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) was established in 1958 as the first U.S. response to the Soviet launching of Sputnik. Since that time DARPA’s mission has been to assure that the U.S. maintains a lead in applying state-of-the-art technology for military capabilities and to prevent technological surprise from her adversaries. The DARPA organization was as unique as its role, reporting directly to the Secretary of Defense and operating in coordination with, but completely independent of, the military research and development (R&D) establishment. Strong support from the senior DoD management has always been essential since DARPA was designed to be an anathema to the conventional military and R&D structure and, in fact, to be a deliberate counterpoint to traditional thinking and approaches.