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Type: Government
Founded: 1958
Headquarters: 3701 North Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22203-1714
Country: USA
Website: darpa.mil
LinkedIn: DARPA
Twitter: TwitterIcon.png@DARPA_News
Key People
Dr. Regina Dugan, Director
Dr. Kaigham (Ken) J. Gabriel, Deputy Director

DARPA stands for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. It is the United States Department of Defense agency that is responsible for the production of new technologies for use by U.S defense forces. Its main objective is to fund and develop advanced technologies for military purposes in order to maintain the technological superiority of the country.[1]

Formative Years: 1958-1975

DARPA was formed in response to the Soviet Union’s launch of the Sputnik satellite on October 4th, 1957. The launch of the Soviet space satellite came as a massive setback to the United States' space program, so it was decided by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to start an organization, reporting directly to the Secretary of Defense, to coordinate all military technological development. DARPA (originally ARPA) was established in February, 1958 as a special Pentagon agency. In a period of just over ten years, DARPA developed various space programs, as well as a reliable nuclear explosion detection system for both Space and the Earth. It also invented ARPA-NET, which formed the basis for the present day internet, and also assisted the US military with field technology during the Vietnam War.[2]

The Cold War: 1976-1989

With the arms race against the Soviet Union and the looming threat of nuclear warfare, DARPA undertook various tactical projects focusing primarily on building advanced weapons systems with which to threaten the Soviet Union. One such innovative technology was stealth aircrafts. These aircrafts were invisible to radar and were, as the time, the most technologically advanced aircrafts in the world. The Unmanned Aircraft Vehicle (UAV), capable of flying for a week at 75,000 feet, was also developed during this period. In 1976 the first wireless transmission around the world was made using ARPA-NET, an event that marked the beginning of mobile technology. With U.S. technology growing ever more powerful and the Russian military finding it difficult to keep up due to financial lapses, Russia finally withdrew from the race.[2]

Post Cold War: 1989 – Present

After the Cold War was resolved, the fall of Soviet Communism unleashed a new security threat. Chemical warfare, biological warfare, threat from EMP’s, radiological attacks and other enumerable threats that may have affected the security of the U.S. and its citizens, were prevalent. In response to these threats, DARPA formed an organization to monitor them and began creating technology to overcome them. In the mean time, the success of operation Desert Storm in 1990 was greatly due to DARPA’s technological advancement in various tactical fields such as stealth crafts and laser-guided missiles. DARPA continues to produce new technologies both for military and commercial usage. [2]


ICANN has taken over the functions of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), which was originally a research project handled by the University of Southern California – Information Sciences Institute, under a contract awarded by DARPA. IANA was set up to establish, implement and look after IP allocation and related policies, as well as run the DNS, which included assigning technical parameter numbers, managing the assigned values, and supervising the operations of DNS root server system. [3]