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When Alfred Loomis gathered America’s brightest clinical minds in ~ the MIT Radiation Laboratory, the result was developments in radar technology that countless say won human being War II. Then came the atom bomb — which finished the war, and secured America’s place as the people leader in army science.

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But a little over a decade later, the Russians introduced Sputnik, capturing Americans off guard. In response, Congress created the Defense advanced Research Projects company — or DARPA. The mission: come make certain America was never ever again beaten by technical surprise.

To learn an ext about the firm behind today’s most cutting-edge army science, American experience spoke with Annie Jacobsen, author of The Pentagon’s Brain: an Uncensored history of DARPA, America’s Top mystery Military research Agency, which was a finalist because that the 2016 Pulitzer compensation in History. The book is based upon exclusive interviews through 71 human being affiliated with DARPA over the years.

By Cori Brosnahan

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The Modular advanced Armed Robotic system (MAARS robot) can kill targets from nearly two mile away. U.S. Army.

Where does that leave DARPA in the net of the military industrial complex?I would say DARPA is the driver of the military industrial complex. You can say that’s not as sinister together it sounds, or you can say it"s at sight sinister. Civilization that ns was interviewing for the book, different scientists, would frequently say to me, ‘How would the American public feeling if Iran, if Russia, if a dark equine like Saudi Arabia come out with some weapon system, some technical surprise the the unified States can not complete with? Everyone would say where is DARPA?’

How are all these DARPA projects financed and run?DARPA gets its three billion dollars a year indigenous Congress. Readjusted for inflation, that"s about what the spending plan has been since day one. It is its white budget — its spending plan that’s known. In various other words, there could be an ext money because that DARPA it is hidden.

What"s interesting about is that unlike the military, that does not have a large bureaucracy. There are only approximately 120 DARPA program managers who divvy increase that 3 billion dollars among the tasks that lock lead. It"s really flexible. Those routine managers can suddenly, if they have actually a need, put a entirety bunch the money into one program and also shut down another. Castle don"t have actually to deal with the red ice of anything going to Congress.

Does DARPA’s original mission explain still hold true?One-hundred percent. And also I"ll leaving you v this thought. Today, DARPA, an agency that has been an extremely secretive throughout the decades, has a visibility in the contemporary press. You deserve to read about DARPA, yet it will constantly be these stories on the beneficent access — like DARPA’s working on a cure for Alzheimer"s, or DARPA’s sending robots into the Fukushima atom site.

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But what I will certainly tell you, and it"s for sure true, is the DARPA"s mission statement indigenous 1958 in its explain to conference is exactly what it is today. And also that is this: come create substantial weapon equipment of the future.