DARPA at Dugan plus one year

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It’s been a year since DARPA’s new chief, Regina Dugan, took over the reigns from an administration that found itself crosswise with the academic community at just about every opportunity. By all accounts, she has been a welcome change.

According to a blog post at the CCC Ken Gabriel, the deputy director of DARPA, recently gave a talk looking back at the past year. Some of the changes he highlighted

Darpa logoSpecifically, Gabriel started by highlighting five key changes that have occurred at DARPA in the past year:

  • “Go/no-go” is gone.
  • Contracting has been simplified. The process is as clear, simple, and fast as the law allows.
  • More realistic conflict of interest rules have been applied to people coming to work at DARPA.
  • Program managers are once again managing programs.
  • Program managers have been reeducated about the need to consider basic research as a critical element of their programs.

Gabriel then mentioned three areas of emphasis for the agency: manufacturing, edge-finding (I read the description and still don’t get it), and cyber defense. According to the summary, no big computing emphasis mentioned in the talk, but this hasn’t stopped Bill Harrod in the TCTO from making waves with UHPC and OHPC.