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DARPA Director Leaves Pentagon For Google 70

Posted by Soulskill
from the needs-better-funding dept.
New submitter srussia writes with this quote from Wired: "DARPA director Regina Dugan will soon be stepping down from her position atop the Pentagon's premiere research shop to take a job with Google. Dugan, whose controversial tenure at the agency lasted just under three years, was 'offered and accepted at senior executive position' with the internet giant, according to DARPA spokesman Eric Mazzacone. She felt she could not say no to such an 'innovative company,' he adds. ... 'There is a time and a place for daydreaming. But it is not at DARPA,' she told a congressional panel in March 2011. 'DARPA is not the place of dreamlike musings or fantasies, not a place for self-indulging in wishes and hopes. DARPA is a place of doing.' For an agency that spent millions of dollars on shape-shifting robots, Mach 20 missiles, and mind-controlled limbs, it was something of a revolutionary statement. The shift was only one of the reasons why Dugan was a highly polarizing figure within her agency, and in the larger defense research community."
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DARPA Director Leaves Pentagon For Google

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  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdotNO@SPAMhackish.org> on Saturday March 17, 2012 @01:56PM (#39390241)

    There are various places you can live on the axes of basic versus applied research, though. DARPA traditionally spent a larger proportion of its budget on basic research than it does today; nowadays the vast majority of DARPA projects intend practical outcomes in the 3-5-year timeframe, often pairing universities doing near-term applied research with companies like Lockheed who're simultaneously implementing it, and expected to exercise considerable pressure on the university partners to focus their research on the near-term "deliverable". Traditionally, that was part of the DARPA budget, while blue-skies research, often in the form of block grants to e.g. a physics or CS research group, was another part of it. The relative percentages have shifted a lot towards the former.

    Some of the justification is that the NSF is supposed to fund basic research, while DARPA is supposed to fund things of near-term practical use to the military. That makes some sense conceptually, but a shift in DARPA priorities without a reallocation in funds between the NSF and DARPA means that in effect science/engineering research funding is being cut in favor of something that leans closer to military R&D.

  • Re:Embrace Evil (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 17, 2012 @02:55PM (#39390515)

    Yes, bringing in someone from the eeeeeevil research agency that basically gave us Internet and many more is definitely eeeeeeevil thing to do.

    You google bashers need to work harder on your delivery, you lack impact.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 17, 2012 @05:48PM (#39391613)

    The Federal Inspector General is investigating her for funneling money into favored contractors, including a company she founded and still largely owns.

    Internally to DoD, what Wired sees as "good politics" in closer coordination with the pentagon, others see as "misallocation of funds".

    Under her tenure the politicization of DARPA has accelerated. Lobbying firms are on DARPA payroll to determine program directions and make funding decisions. Program managers are being selected from among Congressional staffers rather than academia or military labs.

    DARPA is only a small part of DoD R&D. After enough of us have had conversations with internal auditors about possibly going to jail over the things we've done under her direction, she made a "choice" to leave... Sure.

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