On February 7, 1958, four months after the Soviet Union boosted the intensity of the Cold War by launching humanity’s first satellite, then Secretary of Defense Neil McElroy established the Advanced Research Projects Agency with this mandate: “to provide within the Department of Defense an agency for the direction and performance of certain advanced research and development projects.” In carrying out that open-ended mission for the past 60 years, the Agency has become widely known as a driver of technological developments that have girded national security (stealth, precision munitions, and unmanned aerial vehicles) and that sometimes have transformed daily civilian life (the internet, miniaturized GPS, and emerging fleets of driverless vehicles).
“As we at DARPA move into our seventh decade of anticipating the technological curves that matter to national security, we will take strength from the thousands of forward-looking men and women who preceded us at the Agency,” said Dr. Steven Walker, DARPA’s 21st Director, during a small celebration on February 7 for DARPA staff at the Agency’s headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. “It will be our calling in the coming years to catalyze innovation throughout the technoscape, whether in longstanding technological traditions like electronics, propulsion, and materials science or in emerging trajectories such as artificial intelligence, neurotechnology, biological technologies, and, of course, all of those not-yet-imagined territories.”
The capstone event of DARPA’s 60th year will unfold in early September at a many-faceted symposium dubbed D60: Breakthrough Technology | Past, Present, Future. The institutional goals of the event are to strengthen and expand DARPA’s innovation ecosystem (which includes academia, industry and government partners), inform stakeholders about DARPA’s vision and priorities, and learn from the Agency’s ongoing record of achievements and experience in the challenges of rendering not-yet technology into here-now technology. General registration for the event is now open and the procedure to do so can be found on the event website (http://www.darpa.mil/about-us/d60-about). Taking place from September 5-7, 2018 at the Gaylord National Harbor in Oxon Hill, MD, the D60 symposium will feature:
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