DARPA: The Post Soviet Years 1989 – Present

DARPA: The Post Soviet Years 1989 – Present


[ Silence ] [ Music ]>>DARPA, shaping the future,
creating opportunities for new capabilities – strategically,
tactically. 1989, George Herbert Walker Bush was President. After 28 years, the Berlin
Wall is open to the west. The fall of Soviet Communism
unleashes a new security environment, one of international instability. DARPA director, Dr. Craig Fields.>>The Soviet Union fell in that exact period,
wasn’t so clear they weren’t going to reform, it was a lot of anxiety about
the fact that they might reform. And nuclear proliferation, biological warfare,
chemical warfare, radiological attacks, EMP. There are any number of things that are of the
traditional sort, and then you deal with cases of things that are not quite war like
insurgency and occupation in Iraq today.>>In 1990 Iraq invaded Kuwait. Our capabilities unleashed in
Desert Storm were the culmination of DARPA’s technological prowess. Stealth aircraft delivering precision ordinance,
destroyed the Iraqi army in just 42 days. Dr. Victor Reis became director in 1990.>>It was a time of considerable turmoil. I realized after a short period of time
that this was the most important… thing that DARPA could be doing, was
in the information technology area.>>DARPA saw the opportunity to
incorporate real battles from Desert Storm to enhance computer simulated training.>>One of the things that the applications of this packet switching was a program
called SIMNET, simulation networking. You could simulate about size of a battle,
where people could sit in what looked like little tanks, but they
were really work stations. And so they could sit and look out
and see a terrain and see people, or other tanks or other things coming at them. So you could sit in a room, not unlike this one,
and play a whole battle out and learn that way.>>Secretary of Defense Dick Chaney saw
the simulation and wanted more like it. Simulation technology transitioned to the
services, becoming key to troop training. Dr. Gary Minden became director in 1991.>>The first Gulf war was
underway just over when I arrived in the early days of my tenure, and that… less from the lessons learned part of
you that sets the tone for the agency.>>The monolithic adversary was gone. But now… several smaller complex conflicts arose
from the broken pieces of the Soviet empire.>>I think a military person would tell you
all I need is perfect information on the enemy, and I can take care of the problem. Well obviously you never have perfect, but
can DARPA help you make it better than it is? And we focused a great deal on sensors
and techniques to get better intelligence and reconnaissance of the
battlefield or potential adversaries.>>Yugoslavia was spiraling into war. DARPA was asked to find a solution to the operational challenges
of fast moving urban warfare. Director Larry Lynn.>>Probably the thing that, the
external thing that drove most of our thinking was the Bosnia
situation at the time. There was a real need to
improve the communications and the information exploitation for Bosnia.>>DARPA responded with a Bosnia command
and control augmentation initiative, connecting deployed forces
with assets in the states. Another remnant of the Cold War
was raising security concerns. The Soviets had maintained a
robust biological warfare program. Now with a diminished military budget, there was chance these germ warfare secrets
could extend beyond Russia’s borders, and proliferate in the wrong hands. Lynn and a DARPA team traveled to
Moscow to learn what they could to start up a biological warfare defense
program at DARPA.>>It became apparent that biological warfare
was rising to the level of a lot of concern, and that DOD had very little
capability in biology. And so we started a hefty biological program.>>Dr. Frank Fernandez was
appointed director in 1998.>>We focused on bio-defense,
defense gets biological attack, and the second one was the
defense against cyber attack.>>In the military area back
then, a precision strike against moving targets was a very hard problem. Predator in Kosovo as a situation where we got
a call from some operational people saying, we found out that Predator is accurately
tracking the movement of some of these people that we want to shoot at in real time. The problem was that the camera on Predator
was, had to look out at very low angle, low grazing angles, so that there
was a lot of distortion in the scene and you couldn’t register what
you saw with an accuracy enough to essentially use that to target a vehicle.>>DARPA saw the moving target problem
– integrating multiple sensors sources to direct weapons to a moving target. DARPA was pushing core sciences too.>>At that time we were learning how to do
integration of multiple components on a chip, integrating optics and electronics on 1 single
chip, putting a lot of transistors on a chip; numbers getting close to a
billion transistors on a chip.>>In 2001 George W. Bush became President. 9/11 came just 8 months later. With the operations in Afghanistan and Iraq,
DARPA responded to the national security threats as it had throughout it’s 50 year
history by combining technologies in new ways, and imaginative field solutions. The war in Iraq provided insights as
to what future operations might entail, the urban nature of the war, the harsh
conditions, the scattered asymmetrical enemy. DARPA believed part of the answer
was unmanned ground vehicles that could save lives on the battlefield. Could anyone build an unmanned vehicle that
could autonomously travel long distances? To accelerate research and development
of robot cars, DARPA held a contest. They called it the Grand Challenge. 2004 – the first DARPA Grand Challenge. The robots vehicles had to navigate a 150
mile course through the Mojave Desert. None of the contestants made
it more than 7 miles. 2005 – the second Grand Challenge. 132 miles through the desert. 5 teams made it across the
finish line, an amazing feat.>>The check goes to Stanley. [ Applause ]>>DARPA plays a major role in sponsoring
the development of our defense technology. The agency has transitioned stealth
bombers, armed with precision weapons, developed network battlefield
simulations for training, improved sensors and reconnaissance capabilities,
deployed Predator and Global Hawk, developed new biological and chemical defense
strategies, advanced computer technology, and stimulated robot vehicle developments. Impressive, but barely scratching
the surface of things to come. Space, 1 of DARPA’s original frontiers. In the future we will be defending
more and more on satellites, for both commercial and military communications. DARPA is working to protect these assets
and provide new capabilities in space. In an increasingly complex world, with 1 eye
on the immediate needs of national securiy, and the other anticipating future
events, DARPA will continue to create even more technological advances and
technological surprise for the next 50 years. [ Music ]

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