Explore videos, read articles, and view exhibit panels outlining DARPA's work over the past 50 years.
DARPA has worked to enhance our national security by funding research and technology development that not only improve our military capabilities but change the way we live. In 2008, DARPA celebrated 50 years of technical achievement.
Established to maintain U.S. technological superiority over potential adversaries, ARPA is created in 1958 as a division of the Department of Defense.
Stealth technology, the first ARPANET wireless transmission, and STARWARS were developed largely in response to the Soviet threat.
With the fall of the Iron Curtain, international instability sparks developments in robot vehicles, bio-warfare defense and computer simulated training.
In April 2008, DARPA published a book DARPA: 50 Years of Bridging the Gap, in commemoration of the Agency’s 50th anniversary. Letters and Notices Celebrating DARPA’s 50 Years.
Dr. Robert M. Gates, U.S. Secretary of DefenseDr. Anthony J. Tether, Director of DARPAFrom the Congressional Record, February 7, 2008: In the SenateFrom the Congressional Record, February 7, 2008: In the House of Representatives
DARPA has performed a unique role and continues to be DoD’s “Chief Innovation Agency,” pushing the frontiers of what is possible for the benefit of national security and the nation.
There are many example of how DARPA’s technologies have changed civilian lives and made an impact on the commercial marketplace.
The M-16 and Javelin weapons are only two of the DARPA technologies that have influenced how land warfare is fought today.
To enable a robot to scan a situation, make an informed decision and act on it is has been part of DARPA culture almost from day one.
DARPA’s nuclear test-detection role was pivotal in keeping the Cold War cold; the technologies and processes developed pierced veils of secrecy that benefited the entire world.
Ballistic missile defense (BMD) has been part of ARPA's charter since it was established in the shadow of Sputnik in 1957. The BMD work it accomplished in those years has lived on.
If sensors could be used to isolate seismic movement, couldn’t they be used to isolate submarine movement as well?
While the Internet is perhaps DARPA’s biggest legacy and cognitive computing is one intriguing approach for the future of information technology, DARPA is aggressively pursuing a panoply of other high-risk approaches as well.
DARPA's involvement in the creation of the Internet began with an idea to link time-sharing computers into a national system.
The Strategic Technology Office (STO) has been at the forefront of providing U.S. warfighters with robust, self-forming, and self-defending networks at the strategic and tactical levels.
March 11, 2002, was a turning point for supercomputing – and for the history of DARPA’s role as an incubator of transformational computing research and development.
Translations are critical to decision-makers on all levels to properly gather intelligence and understand how people respond to U.S. actions.
While atom-sized circuits may bring an end to Moore’s Law, these quantum mechanical systems also bring new opportunities.
The launch of Sputnik spurred the space race, ARPA’s beginnings and U.S. advancement into the final frontier.
To operate efficiently, strategic and tactical sensor and communications systems require small, compact microelectronic components – now known as microsystems.
Although humans have used, studied, and improved materials since before our earliest records, materials research as a multidisciplinary thrust is a relatively young science.
Many of the key advances that facilitated the revolution in military aviation are the direct result of investments made by DARPA.
Signature management goes back over 100 years, beginning with camouflage designs on warships and later being applied to aircraft and eventually to submarines as well.
DARPA's Biological Warfare Defense Programs aim to protect U.S. military forces from biological warfare attacks and naturally emerging infectious diseases. DARPA's Revolutionizing Prosthetics effort is developing a prosthetic arm and hand that will restore an upper extremity amputee to full functional capability. DARPA's Fundamental Laws of Biology program seeks to bring a completely new understanding to biology and, as a result, to provide tangible benefits to the warfighter.
Conducting military operations in urban areas has always been difficult and particularly dangerous.
New technology explorations can be found in a variety of programs such as Palm Power, BioFuels, Very High Efficiency Solar Cells (VHESC), and High Energy Distributed Lighting (HEDLight).
On the occasion of DARPA’s 50th Anniversary celebration, DARPA created an exhibit that chronicled DARPA technical achievements in key areas. View the exhibit panels below.