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The history of technology is a rich story with individual, institutional, corporate, and governmental protagonists driven by necessity, the pursuit of fame and fortune, and visions of becoming more powerful actors in the world. The invention and proliferation of new technology has been a primary driver of both local and civilization-scale transformation. It’s a story that features brilliance of the highest order, dogged determination, good luck, bad luck, glorious successes, miserable failures, happy accidents, and lamentable unintended consequences. When it was founded in 1958 in the midst of the Cold War with a charge to prevent technological surprise by potential adversaries, DARPA became part of the ongoing technology story and has been conspicuously influential ever since.
DARPA occasionally stands up temporary special projects offices focused on coordinating, developing and/or deploying advanced capabilities on an accelerated time scale. These efforts fall outside of DARPA’s typical program structure and leverage the Agency’s unique organization and skill sets to make rapid progress in technology areas that are critical to national security. DARPA currently operates one special projects office: the Aerospace Projects Office