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The DARPA Model for Transformative Technologies: Perspectives on the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

The DARPA Model for Transformative Technologies: Perspectives on the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency William Boone Bonvillian, Richard Van Atta and Patrick Windham (eds.)
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-78374-791-7 £20.95
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The authors have done a masterful job of charting the important story of DARPA, one of the key catalysts of technological innovation in US recent history. By plotting the development, achievements and structure of the leading world agency of this kind, this book stimulates new thinking in the field of technological innovation with bearing on how to respond to climate change, pandemics, cyber security and other global problems of our time. The DARPA Model provides a useful guide for governmental agency and policy leaders, and for anybody interested in the role of governments in technological innovation.
—Dr. Kent Hughes, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

This volume contains a remarkable collection of extremely insightful articles on the world’s most successful advanced technology agency. Drafted by the leading US experts on DARPA, it provides a variety of perspectives that in turn benefit from being presented together in a comprehensive volume. It reviews DARPA’s unique role in the U.S. innovation system, as well as the challenges DARPA and its clones face today. As the American model is being considered for adoption by a number of countries worldwide, this book makes a welcome and timely contribution to the policy dialogue on the role played by governments in stimulating technological innovation.
— Prof. Charles Wessner, Georgetown University

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has played a remarkable role in the creation new transformative technologies, revolutionizing defense with drones and precision-guided munitions, and transforming civilian life with portable GPS receivers, voice-recognition software, self-driving cars, unmanned aerial vehicles, and, most famously, the ARPANET and its successor, the Internet.

Other parts of the U.S. Government and some foreign governments have tried to apply the ‘DARPA model’ to help develop valuable new technologies. But how and why has DARPA succeeded? Which features of its operation and environment contribute to this success? And what lessons does its experience offer for other U.S. agencies and other governments that want to develop and demonstrate their own ‘transformative technologies’?

This book is a remarkable collection of leading academic research on DARPA from a wide range of perspectives, combining to chart an important story from the Agency’s founding in the wake of Sputnik, to the current attempts to adapt it to use by other federal agencies. Informative and insightful, this guide is essential reading for political and policy leaders, as well as researchers and students interested in understanding the success of this agency and the lessons it offers to others.

The DARPA Model for Transformative Technologies: Perspectives on the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
William Boone Bonvillian, Richard Van Atta, and Patrick Windham (eds.) | January 2020
510 pp. | 8 B&W illustrations | 6.14" x 9.21" (234 x 156 mm)
ISBN Paperback: 9781783747917
ISBN Hardback: 9781783747924
ISBN Digital (PDF): 9781783747931
ISBN Digital ebook (epub): 9781783747948
ISBN Digital ebook (mobi): 9781783747955
ISBN Digital (XML): 9781783747962
DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0184
Subject codes: BIC: JP (Politics and Government), JPP (Public administration), TBX (History of engineering and technology), KCP (Political economy); BISAC: TEC025000 (TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Military Science), TEC056000 (TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / History), POL069000 (POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Military Policy).

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Notes on Contributors

1. Introduction: DARPA—The Innovation Icon
Patrick Windham and Richard Van Atta

2. Fifty Years of Innovation and Discovery
Richard Van Atta

3. NSF and DARPA as Models for Research Funding: An Institutional Analysis
Michael J. Piore, Phech Colatat, and Elisabeth Beck Reynolds

4. The Connected Science Model for Innovation—The DARPA Model
William B. Bonvillian

5. The Value of Vision in Radical Technological Innovation
Tamara L. Carleton

6. ARPA Does Windows: The Defense Underpinning of the PC Revolution
Glenn R. Fong

7. Rethinking the Role of the State in Technology Development: DARPA and the Case for Embedded Network Governance
Erica R. H. Fuchs

8. DARPA’s Process for Creating New Programs
David W. Cheney and Richard Van Atta

9. Some Questions about the DARPA Model
Patrick Windham

10. DARPA—Enabling Technical Innovation
Jinendra Ranka

11. Program Management at DARPA: A Personal Perspective
Larry Jackel

12. Lessons from DARPA for Innovating in Defense Legacy Sectors
William B. Bonvillian

13. ARPA-E and DARPA: Applying the DARPA Model to Energy Innovation
William B. Bonvillian and Richard Van Atta

14. IARPA: A Modified DARPA Innovation Model
William B. Bonvillian

15. Does NIH need a DARPA?
Robert Cook-Deegan

16. Lessons from DARPA’s Experience
Richard Van Atta, Patrick Windham and William B. Bonvillian

Recommendations for Further Reading
List of Illustrations and Tables
William B. Bonvillian is a Lecturer at MIT, and Senior Director at MIT’s Office of Digital Learning, leading a project on workforce education. From 2006 until 2017, he was Director of MIT’s Washington Office, supporting MIT’s historic role in science policy. He teaches courses on innovation systems at MIT and is coauthor of three books on innovation, Advanced Manufacturing: The New American Innovation Policies (2018), Technological Innovation in Legacy Sectors (2015), and Structuring an Energy Technology Revolution (2009), as well as numerous articles.  Previously he worked for over fifteen years on innovation issues as a senior advisor in the U.S. Senate, and earlier was a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Transportation. He serves on the National Academies of Science standing committee for its Innovation Policy Forum and chairs the Committee on Science and Engineering Policy at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).  He was elected a Fellow of the AAAS in 2011.

Tamara Carleton, PhD, is the CEO and founder of Innovation Leadership Group LLC and lead author of the Playbook for Strategic Foresight and Innovation (2013), a hands-on guide that has been used by hundreds of the world’s most innovative companies to make their teams more successful. She is the executive director of the Silicon Valley Innovation Academy at Stanford University and a visiting professor at the Osaka Institute of Technology in Japan. Previously she was an Innovation Fellow with the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, a Fellow with the Bay Area Science and Innovation Consortium, and a Fellow at the Foundation for Enterprise Development. She has worked as a management consultant at Deloitte Consulting LLP, specializing in innovation, customer experience, marketing strategy, and enterprise applications. A multidisciplinary scholar, Dr. Carleton holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, a master’s of science from Syracuse University, and a bachelor’s degree from The George Washington University. 

David W. Cheney is a consultant and Managing Partner of Technology Policy International, a firm that provides analyses of science, technology, and innovation policy. He is the former Director of the Center for Science, Technology and Economic Development at SRI International, where his work focused on planning and evaluating science, technology, and innovation programs and institutions, primarily in the United States and Middle East.  He is also a consultant to the World Bank and has been an adjunct professor at George Mason University.  Before joining SRI in 1998, he was a senior executive in the U.S. Department of Energy, serving as director of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board and advisor to the Deputy Secretary on industrial partnerships and national laboratories.  He previously was a senior associate with the Council on Competitiveness, and an analyst with the Congressional Research Service.  He has also held positions with the Internet Policy Institute, the Optoelectronics Industry Development Association, the Competitiveness Policy Council, and the Institute for Policy Science at Saitama University in Japan.  He has a PhD in public policy from George Mason University, a MS in Technology and Policy from MIT and a BS in Geology & Biology from Brown University.

Phech Colatat is Assistant Professor of Strategy at the Olin Business School, Washington University in St Louis. He is a business school-trained sociologist with interests in healthcare, R&D, and strategic management. Motivated by alarming trends in the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), his current research examines the way organizational and social network processes affects the diagnostic process. He completed his PhD at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Robert Cook-Deegan, PhD, is a professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society, and with the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes at Arizona State University. He founded and directed Duke’s Center for Genome Ethics, Law & Policy (2002-12), and Duke-in-Washington through June 2016. Prior to Duke, he was with the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (1991-02); National Center for Human Genome Research (1989-90); and congressional Office of Technology Assessment (1982-88). His research interests include science policy, health policy, biomedical research, cancer, and intellectual property. He is the author of The Gene Wars: Science, Politics, and the Human Genome (1994) and more than 250 other publications.

Glenn R. Fong is an associate professor of global studies at Thunderbird School of Global Management. He is also the academic director of the school’s Master of Arts in Global Affairs and Management. His areas of expertise include technology, global trade and industrial policies of the U.S., Japan and China, government and business relations and international political economy. Of Chinese-American ancestry, Fong has contributed commentaries and monographs to Business and Politics, Issues in Science and Technology, International Security, International Studies Quarterly, Comparative Politics, and the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. In 1996, Fong authored Export Dependence vs. the New Protectionism: Trade Policy in the Industrial World. He has served as a consultant to the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, Japan’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry (now METI), and IBM Corporation’s e-Business Technology division. He earned his BA at the University of California, Berkeley, and MA and PhD degrees in government from Cornell University. Earlier in his career, he was an assistant professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago and a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Business Administration.

Erica R. H. Fuchs is a Professor in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University, and a Research Associate with the National Bureau of Economic Research. Her research focuses on the development, commercialization and global manufacturing of emerging technologies, and national policy in that context. She was the founding Faculty Director of Carnegie Mellon University’s Manufacturing Futures Initiative—an initiative across six schools aimed to revolutionize the commercialization and local production of advanced manufactured products. Over the past decade, Dr. Fuchs has played a growing role in national and international meetings on technology policy, including being one of twenty-three participants in the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology workshop that led to the creation of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, and serving on the expert group that supported the White House in the 2016 Innovation Dialogue between the U.S. and China. In 2012 she was selected a World Economic Forum "Young Scientist” (top 40 under 40 globally.)  She currently serves on the National Academies’ National Materials and Manufacturing Board; the Academic Advisory Board for MIT’s Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, of which MIT’s Technology Policy Program is a part; the World Economic Forum’s Future of Production Global Futures Council; and the Advisory Editorial Board for Research Policy. Before coming to CMU, Dr. Fuchs completed her PhD in Engineering Systems at MIT in June 2006. She received her Masters and her Bachelor’s degrees also from MIT in Technology Policy (2003) and Materials Science and Engineering (1999), respectively. Dr. Fuchs spent 1999-2000 as a fellow at the United Nations in Beijing, China. She grew up and attended K-12 in the Reading Public School District in Reading, PA. Her work has been published among other places in Science, the Nature journals, Research Policy, and Management Science; and has been covered on National Public Radio, by Bloomberg, and in the New York Times.

Larry Jackel
is President of North-C Technologies, where he does professional consulting in robotics and machine learning. He also currently serves as a Learning Advisor to the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab (SAIL)-Toyota Center for AI Research at Stanford University. From 2003-07 he was a DARPA Program Manager in the IPTO and TTO offices. He conceived and managed programs in Autonomous Ground Robot navigation and Locomotion. For most of his scientific career Jackel was a manager and researcher in Bell Labs and then AT&T Labs. Members of Jackel’s Adaptive Systems Department at Bell Labs laid the foundation for much of the machine learning that dominates AI today. He has also created and managed research groups in microscience and microfabrication, and in carrier-scale telecom services. Jackel was a founder of the Snowbird Workshop on Neural Networks for Computer and led the workshop many years. He was also a founder of the NIPS conferences. He has served as Program Chair for IJCNN. He has also been an organizer of the Frontiers in Distributed Information Systems (FDIS) workshop series. Jackel holds a PhD in Experimental Physics from Cornell University with a thesis in superconducting electronics. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the IEEE. He has published over 150 papers and has over twenty patents.

Michael Piore has been on the faculty of the Department of Economics at MIT since 1966, and also currently holds a joint appointment with the Department of Political Science. He is also currently a Visiting Senior Fellow in International and Public Affairs at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University. He earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees at Harvard University, where he wrote his doctoral dissertation under the direction of John T. Dunlop. He is the founding director of the MIT-Mexico Program and former associate director of the Center for Technology, Policy and Industrial Development. He has served as president of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) and as an elected member of the executive committee of the American Economic Association. He was a MacArthur Prize Fellow (1984-89), a member of the Executive Committee of the American Economic Association (1990-95), and a member of the Governing Board of the Institute for Labour Studies of the International Labour Organization (1990-96).

Jinendra Ranka, PhD, has over twenty-five years of experience in academic, commercial, and government research and development. He was a technical staff member at Bell Labs, Sycamore Networks, and MIT Lincoln Laboratory, and is currently the CEO at JASR Systems.  Dr. Ranka served as a program manager in the Strategic Technology Office at DARPA and as a Deputy Office Director at IARPA.  He has over 40 publications with over 5,000 citations and numerous patents.  Dr. Ranka received his Doctoral degree in Applied & Engineering Physics from Cornell University in 1997 and his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 1991.  Dr. Ranka is a fellow of the Optical Society of America and is known for his discovery of supercontinuum generation in optical fibers.

Elisabeth B. Reynolds
is the executive director of the MIT Industrial Performance Center and a lecturer in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning. Reynolds works on issues related to systems of innovation, regional economic development, and industrial competitiveness. She is a member of the Massachusetts Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative as well as the Northeast Clean Energy Council. Her current research focuses on the pathways that U.S. entrepreneurial firms take in scaling production-related technologies, as well as advanced manufacturing, including the globalization of the biomanufacturing industry. Before coming to MIT for her PhD, Reynolds was the director of the City Advisory Practice at the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), a non-profit founded by Professor Michael Porter, focused on job and business growth in urban areas. Reynolds has an AB from Harvard in government and was a Fiske Scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge. She holds an MSc from the University of Montreal in economics and a PhD from MIT in urban and regional studies.

Richard Van Atta’s career has focused on the national security policy, strategy, and technological capabilities of the United States for the Department of Defense, chiefly for the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) of the White House, and the Intelligence Community. From 1983 to his retirement in 2018, he was a senior research staff member of the Strategy, Forces and Resources Division (SF&RD), the Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI) and the Science and Technology Division at the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA), with a focus on innovation for national security. His work at IDA included assessments of the programs and development strategies of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). From 1993 to 1998, he served as Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Dual Use and Commercial Programs (on temporary assignment from IDA). He also was an adjunct faculty member in Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program and the Science, Technology and International Affairs (STIA) program teaching courses on Emerging Technology and Security. Dr. Van Atta has a PhD in Political Science from Indiana University and a BA degree in Political Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Patrick H. Windham is a Lecturer in the Public Policy Program at Stanford University and a Partner with Technology Policy International, a consulting firm. In the past he has taught at the University of California’s Washington, DC, center and the University of Maryland.  From 1984 until 1997 he served as a Senior Professional Staff Member for the Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space of the United States Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.  He helped Senators oversee and draft legislation for several major civilian science and technology agencies and focused particularly on issues of science, technology, and U.S. industrial competitiveness. He has served on five committees and roundtables of the U.S. National Academies. Mr. Windham received a BA from Stanford University and a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of California at Berkeley.