News FocusMILITARY RESEARCH

Pentagon Agency Thrives on In-Your-Face Science

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  03 Sep 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5433, pp. 1476-1479
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5433.1476

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Summary

For 41 years, the Defense Department's $2 billion research agency, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), has given a small group of program managers extensive power to direct high-risk, and sometimes wacky, research projects, in sharp contrast to the larger and more mainstream science agencies, which use peer-review panels to pick grant winners and then stay out of a researcher's way. Although some researchers grumble that DARPA's approach is heavy-handed, its unorthodox management style has had some spectacular successes, including the Internet, night-vision goggles, and radar-evading stealth aircraft. And it's winning converts in Congress and at some federal science agencies, notably the National Institutes of Health.