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U.S. ARMY PHOTO

INNOVATION

DARPA was rejuvenated when it took on the job of seeking technological alternatives to nuclear weapons to respond to the Soviet Union’s force posture in Europe. This initiative was highly important to President Richard M. Nixon and his National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger, and continued under President Gerald R. Ford and his Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger. Under Lukasik, DARPA formulated a Long Range Research Planning Program in 1973 that guided DARPA research programs for the next 20 years. Among these were network-centric warfare, stealth technology, precision and autonomous systems, and theater missile defenses. In 1975, DARPA Director George Heilmeier – most famous for his “catechism” of questions he asked program managers to help determine the worthiness of the programs they proposed – scaled up major efforts in stealth aircraft, space-based lasers, space-based infrared technology, and artificial intelligence (AI).

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DEFENSE ADVANCED RESEARCH PROJECTS AGENCY I 60 YEARS

DARPA IMAGE

ABOVE: Pfc. Michael J. Mendoza fires his M16 rifle into a suspected Viet Cong occupied area on Sept. 8, 1967. Among the sub-projects of Project AGILE was development of the M16 rifle, which still serves the U.S. armed forces today. RIGHT: The ARPA Vela program developed sensors to detect nuclear explosions in space, the upper atmosphere, and underwater to support the 1963 Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, under which the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union banned atmospheric tests of nuclear weapons.

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DARPA: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency 1958-2018  

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