DARPA’s Director Quits to Take Executive Slot at Google

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The Intellihub
By Shepard Ambellas
March 13, 2012

The world is a mysterious place.

Regina Dugan, the director of the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) is quitting her Pentagon funded post at the agency — trading it for a ‘senior executive’ position with internet giant Google.

It makes you wonder just how big and powerful Google is getting, and what are they actually into.

Google has previously been reported to have been spawned by NSA funding.

According to Donald Melanson;

 The company (Google) has just reported $8.58 billion in gross revenue for the first quarter of 2011, which represents a 27 percent increase over the first quarter of last year, but is actually a bit less than analysts were expecting. That figure also doesn’t include the company’s so-called traffic acquisition costs, however, which totaled $2.04 billion for the quarter and bring the company’s actual revenue down to “just” $6.54 billion. Net income for the quarter was $2.3 billion, which represents a more modest gain from $1.96 billion in the first quarter of 2010. Also cutting into profits quite a bit was Google’s operating expenses, which were up a hefty 33 percent to $2.8 billion — a sizable chunk of which went to the nearly 2,000 new employees the company hired during the quarter.

That’s a pretty hefty take, must be nice.

Darpa Director Regina Dugan. Photo: Anette Polan / Wikimedia

A Wired excerpt reads;

Dugan’s emphasis on cybersecurity and next-generation manufacturing earned her strong support from the White House, winning her praise from the President and maintaining the agency’s budget even during a period of relative austerity at the Pentagon. Her push into crowdsourcing and outreach to the hacker community were eye-openers in the often-closed world of military R&D. Dugan also won over some military commanders by diverting some of her research cash from long-term, blue-sky projects to immediate battlefield concerns.

“There is a time and a place for daydreaming. But it is not at Darpa,” she told a congressional panel in March 2011 (.pdf). “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. The Pentagon’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) is alsoactively investigating hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of contracts that Darpa gave out to RedX Defense — a bomb-detection firm that Dugan co-founded, and still partially owns. A separate audit is examining a sample of the 2,000 other research contracts Darpa has signed during Dugan’s tenure, to “determine the adequacy of Darpa’s selection, award, and administration of contracts and grants,” according to a military memorandum.

Results of the Inspector General’s work haven’t been released and, according to her spokesman, the work had “no impact” on Dugan’s decision,  “The only reason she decided to leave the Pentagon was the allure of working at Google.”

So what will Dugan really be working on for Google? Only time will tell.