Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) - Profiles

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Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

U.S. Department of Defense
Work 675 North Randolph Street Arlington VA 22203-2114 Work Phone: 703-526-6630 Website: DARPA


The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) agency charged with seeking breakthrough concepts and technologies with broad applicability against threats to national security.

DARPA invests primarily in the early technology development phases of programs and the demonstration of prototype systems.

DARPA works to complement the DoD CBRN Defense Program by anticipating threats and developing novel defenses against them. The agency coordinates with the services and other agencies, including the Deputy Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for CBD and DTRA Chemical & Biological Technologies Directorate (DTRA-CB) to avoid duplication of efforts and to maximize effectiveness of resources.

DARPA’s programs are conducted under the oversight of six technical offices: the Defense Sciences Office, the Information Innovation Office, the Microsystems Technology Office, the Strategic Technology Office, the Tactical Technology Office, and the agency’s most recent addition, the Biological Technologies Office.

In 2014 DAPRA merged components of several program offices into a new Biotechnology Technologies Office (BTO) to foster innovations related to biological sciences. BTO’s investment portfolio goes far beyond life sciences applications in medicine to include areas of research such as human-machine interfaces, microbes as production platforms, and deep exploration of the impact of evolving ecologies and environments on U.S. readiness and capabilities.

The agency supports approximately 240 government employees, about half of whom are program managers. Its research is conducted by a wide array of public- and private-sector performers via 2,000 contracts, grants and other agreements.


Editor’s Picks: Articles related to DARPA. Links may lead to external sites.


Isolating Urban Objectives: Teams Test Swarm Autonomy in Second Major OFFSET Field Experiment

OFFSET envisions large swarms of collaborative autonomous systems providing critical insights to small ground military units in urban areas where vertical structures, tight spaces, and limited sight lines constrain communications and mobility. The technology would enable applications in CBRNE response and counterterrorism.

Protecting Cities from Chemical Threats: Block MEMS Wins $3.5M DARPA Contract

Block MEMS will leverage its standoff sensing laser capability to generate chemical detection maps in a complex three-dimensional urban topography as part of the DARPA SIGMA+ Program.

DARPA Gamma-Ray Inspection Technology Program

The program aims to develop prototype systems capable of producing intense, tunable, and narrow bandwidth gamma rays using novel techniques and emerging component technologies. Applications include special nuclear materials detection, elemental imaging, narcotics and explosives detection.

SIGMA+ Threat Sensors Successfully Networked at This Year’s Indy 500

DARPA collected background air-sampling data using new chemical threat sensors known as ChemSIGMA at the 2018 Indy 500. In fall 2018, DARPA conducted additional testing, which involved releasing safe chemical simulants in the empty speedway, to determine sensor efficacy in precisely identifying type and location of a plume’s source. The sensors performed extremely well, proving the system’s maturity for a full-scale, all-modality deployment at the 2019 Indianapolis 500.

DARPA and JPEO-CBRND Sign MOU to Formalize Collaborative CWMD Efforts

This MOU formalizes early collaboration and technology transitions from DARPA to the JPEO-CBRND in Physical Protection and Mitigation, Medical Protection and Mitigation, and Integrated Situational Awareness.

SIGMA Program Completes Testing of Ambulance-Mounted ‘Dirty Bomb’ Detectors

Emergency vehicles equipped with radiation detectors provide an excellent means of achieving a large-scale scan for radiological risks. In the just-completed test deployment, up to 73 large detectors were installed on emergency vehicles that together logged well over 100,000 hours of detector operation covering more than 150,000 miles.