What makes DARPA tick?

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Science  05 Feb 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6273, pp. 549-553
DOI: 10.1126/science.351.6273.549

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Founded in 1958 in the aftermath of Sputnik, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is supposed to make sure the U.S. military holds a technological edge over its enemies. Over the decades since, it has earned a reputation for using out-of-the-box thinking to solve what defense officials like to call "DARPA-hard" problems. The key to its success, say dozens of people who have worked for or with DARPA, is its cadre of program managers. Some call them DARPA's "secret sauce." Although they typically stay for only 4 to 5 years, they can have an enormous impact on the agency because of a combination of autonomy, authority, and ample resources that is rare in government.