Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyOur Research

Our Research

DARPA’s investment strategy begins with a portfolio approach. Reaching for outsized impact means taking on risk, and high risk in pursuit of high payoff is a hallmark of DARPA’s programs. We pursue our objectives through hundreds of programs. By design, programs are finite in duration while creating lasting revolutionary change. They address a wide range of technology opportunities and national security challenges. This assures that while individual efforts might fail—a natural consequence of taking on risk—the total portfolio delivers. More

For reference, past DARPA research programs can be viewed in the Past Programs Archive.

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is the predominant means of positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) for a majority of systems and applications, both military and civilian. The Spatial, Temporal, and Orientation Information in Contested Environments (STOIC) program seeks to develop a backup PNT system that provides GPS-level and better performance without relying on GPS. More
| PNT | Spectrum |
Modern military engagements increasingly take place in complex and uncertain battlefield conditions where attacks can come from multiple directions at once, and in the electromagnetic spectrum and cyber domains, as well. U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps dismounted infantry squads have been unable to take full advantage of some highly effective multi-domain defensive and offensive capabilities that vehicle-assigned forces currently enjoy -- in large part because many of the relevant technologies are too heavy and cumbersome for individual warfighters to carry or too difficult to use under demanding field conditions. More
The security and integrity of DoD electronic systems is challenged by the presence of counterfeit integrated circuits (ICs) in the supply chain. Counterfeiters use a variety of easy and inexpensive techniques to recycle discarded ICs, alter them, and reintroduce them to the supply chain for profit. These parts have questionable reliability and may not function as specified. The failure of a fielded DoD system due to the presence of a counterfeit IC can jeopardize the success of a mission and put lives at risk. More
Cyber physical systems (CPS) are instrumental to current and future Department of Defense (DoD) mission needs – unmanned vehicles, weapon systems, and mission platforms are all examples of military-relevant CPS. These systems and platforms integrate cyber and physical subsystems, and the enormous complexity of the resulting CPS has made their engineering design a daunting challenge. An immediate consequence of this complexity is development cycles with prolonged timelines that challenge DoD’s ability to counter emerging threats. More
The Synergistic Discovery and Design (SD2) program aims to develop data-driven methods to accelerate scientific discovery and robust design in domains that lack complete models. Engineers regularly use high-fidelity simulations to create robust designs in complex domains such as aeronautics, automobiles, and integrated circuits. In contrast, robust design remains elusive in domains such as synthetic biology, neuro-computation, and polymer chemistry due to the lack of high-fidelity models. SD2 seeks to develop tools to enable robust design despite the lack of complete scientific models. More
The SoSITE program aims to develop system of systems architectures to maintain U.S. air superiority in contested environments. More
Electronic systems have become a critical part of daily life. Due to increased proliferation and reliance on these systems, their security is paramount to the Department of Defense (DoD), commercial industry, and beyond. Current efforts to protect electronic systems, however, rely on developing and deploying patches to the software layer, without addressing underlying vulnerabilities in the hardware. More
Future U.S. land forces are increasingly likely to face an adversary force that is overwhelmingly superior in size and armament with formidable anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) capabilities. SESU seeks to deliver system-of-systems (SoS) capabilities that could enable a small unit (~200-300 soldiers, corresponding materiel footprint, and limited rear-echelon support) to destroy, disrupt, degrade, and/or delay the adversary's A2/AD and maneuver capabilities in order to enable joint and coalition multi-domain operations at appropriate times and locations. More
| A2/AD | BMC2 | Systems |