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Am I wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32911658)

...or does DARPA not already have a MASSIVE amount of researchers under their wing?

Re:Am I wrong... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32911756)

Maybe, maybe not. I know of researchers who have no problem with weapons funding whereas I do for the most part. IME, the DARPA program managers are sharp, but I reckon they're lap dogs of the military who simply want $WEAPON and don't really understand the science, and there are willing to throw money -- a lot of money -- at the problem.

In the current funding climate, it's perhaps inevitable to have to accept some funding from entities whose interests are not terribly academically aligned.

Re:Am I wrong... (1)

tophermeyer (1573841) | about 4 years ago | (#32912280)

reckon they're lap dogs of the military who simply want $WEAPON and don't really understand the science,

Right, its DARPA. The D stands for Defense. In the US, Defense is a political term for Military. That is exactly who they are.

Re:Am I wrong... (2, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 4 years ago | (#32916046)

Don't forget, the internet is a product of DARPA (formerly ARPA). Having advanced communications is essential for an effective military spread over the world, but it also happens to be very handy for everyone else too. Military campaigns are about more than just shooting things and blowing things up; fundamentally, they're really just giant exercises in logistics. Logistics have many applications outside the military: construction, commerce, etc. Someone who develops tools to improve logistical capabilities would be helping not only the military, but many other areas of human endeavor as well.

Re:Am I wrong... (3, Interesting)

sam_handelman (519767) | about 4 years ago | (#32911862)

<quote><p>...or does DARPA not already have a MASSIVE amount of researchers under their wing?</p></quote>

  Yes, but there's been a recent policy shift.

  DARPA has, for the past several years, been trying to refocus away from academic research and more into "applied" (meaning, basically, private-sector) research.

  This has not worked out so well, in a number of respects (both practical and pseudo-political) so DARPA is now moving back towards a more academia-friendly approach.

Theo (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32911670)

Call on Theo De Raadt

Re:Theo (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | about 4 years ago | (#32911754)

Isn't he a South African living in Canada who makes a product that ships with uber-strong crypto out of the box (like, even encoding the password file in Blowfish by default) and doesn't host any servers in the US to avoid crypto export regulations? As awesome as he would be at somehing like NSA's IAD, he seems to be kind of the opposite of what they're looking for.

Re:Theo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32911802)

He blew a massive DARPA grant by talking about the Iraq war to some newspaper - http://marc.info/?l=openbsd-misc&m=105061580500738&w=2

I think this guy is looking for work... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32911684)

http://news.slashdot.org/story/10/07/14/1842236/Deported-Russian-Spy-Worked-At-Microsoft

In case you mssed it: (3, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 4 years ago | (#32911738)

These are JOB postings, guys. Rare enough in the US these days.

Of course, you'll have to pass a background check, so you all just go ahead.

Re:In case you mssed it: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32911752)

It ooks more like a grant opportunity to me.

Re:In case you mssed it: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32913386)

I think it ooks funny

Re:In case you mssed it: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32913556)

I don't grok you brother.

Re:In case you mssed it: (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32911790)

Well, it is DARPA. They're looking for research that will point toward new weapons.

No matter how many industries fail in America, murder is still as profitable as oil.

Re:In case you mssed it: (2, Informative)

varcher (156670) | about 4 years ago | (#32912072)

it is DARPA. They're looking for research that will point toward new weapons.

Actually, they are not always looking for research on new weapons. Sometimes, they're looking for other stuff.

This book [amazon.com] offers a keen insight into Darpa. While their research is pursued with the military in mind, it's not all about weapons. The chapter on limb research is a fascinating counter-example, as is the part on auto-surgeons. Of course, the author got permission to explore mostly the popular stuff : as a PR job, it's better to show off your ability to help rather than your capacity to maim.

Re:In case you mssed it: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32914596)

Well if you haven't already noticed, the military IS all about weapons, and what is the U.S. military all about these days? UAV's. They can conduct military strikes in other countries almost effortlessly without the pilots even being near the field. There's talk now (although I don't have the article reference at the moment, it was recent so Google might be able to help) of developing and using UAV's as "border security" tools.

I think the possibility is quite strong that the "systems" they're looking to develop (and thus the need for computer scientists, who would have a strong mathematical background and likely exposure to topics such as computer vision and AI) are the systems that will run the UAV's of the future, and trust me, there's going to be a hell of a lot more of them. They're effective, they're deadly and they will potentially be able to operate entirely autonomously.

Now are they necessarily looking to invest in computer scientists to develop weapons that -they- will use? Not necessarily. Britain is heavily investing in UAV technology as well (e.g. the Project Taranis/UCAV, http://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/tanaris/), the U.S. could potentially make billions, trillions in defense contracts if they have the leading edge in UAV technology, selling the components or even the entire finished craft to the U.K, Israel and other military allies. Make no mistake, however, they ARE looking for weapons. They might come up with some very interesting discoveries along the way that aren't even related, but what they WANT is whatever will give the U.S. an edge on the battlefield. That is their ultimate "purpose," it's the reason why the larger percentage of their projects are classified top secret, it's the reason that they EXIST for that matter -- defense contractors and the military. It's their job.

Re:In case you mssed it: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32912520)

Well, it is DARPA. They're looking for research that will point toward new weapons.

Yeah, like this evil and dangerous Internet thing I keep hearing about.

Re:In case you mssed it: (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32914424)

Yeah, their first murderous project is a 'universal compiler'. I'm sure it will kill twice as many people as gcc, but probably only half as many as gpp. Run and hide!

Re:In case you mssed it: (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about 4 years ago | (#32911880)

I suppose it means to be a US citizen and to not have smoked pot in the past 6 months ? (Which probably leaves only about 25% of slashdotters left)

Re:In case you mssed it: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32912564)

These are JOB postings, guys. Rare enough in the US these days.

Of course, you'll have to pass a background check, so you all just go ahead.

The sad thing is, that when corporations like Darpa ask for researchers (and more specifically university researchers), they generally mean people who have PhD's, which rules out all self-taught computer scientists, amongst others.

As regards to background checks, large student loans will likely mean you will fail, because Human Resources people consider people who are in debt to be "at risk" people. Also, if you are "anti-social" (i.e. have few or no friends) then you will also be viewed as unfavorable for any background checks (depending on how in-depth they are).

But if you are successful at socializing at cocktail parties, ass-kissing, lying on resumes, stealing, passing lie detector tests (like so many infamous spies have done), getting good references (like so many bad cops have done), getting a cheap mail-order diploma (they are very popular amongst the manager-class, especially in government), then you will likely get the job, because of your very favorable impression.

On the other hand, if you spend most of your free time in your mother's basement figuring out different and more efficient ways of sorting or path-finding through data structures, then you are already at a grave disadvantage. You need to spend more time figuring out how to fool "lie detectors" (when they ask you, for example, if you enjoy socializing) and less time practicing differential equations. There are services were you can get companies to call your cell phone to make it seem as if you are very popular, which is something that should be happening when you are in the reception area waiting for an interview. Yes, some employers even monitor you before the interview. It's all about the "science" of Human Resource Management.

Re:In case you mssed it: (1)

Lando (9348) | about 4 years ago | (#32913870)

Well, speaking as someone that at one point of time held a security clearance above secret. Being in debt and not having many friends didn't seem to impact my ability to get my clearance. Although, I assume drugs will instantly disqualify you if you are currently using, previous use in the past doesn't seem to disqualify you either.

As long as you're honest, getting a high level security clearance is fairly easy, just takes the FBI 6+ months to check up on you and give you the go ahead.

So a basic background check really shouldn't be that hard to pass, in my opinion.

Hmmm, one caveat I got my clearance 20 years ago or so, not sure if it's gotten worse since the creation of the DHS.

Re:In case you mssed it: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32914898)

Well, speaking as someone that at one point of time held a security clearance above secret. Being in debt and not having many friends didn't seem to impact my ability to get my clearance. Although, I assume drugs will instantly disqualify you if you are currently using, previous use in the past doesn't seem to disqualify you either.

As long as you're honest, getting a high level security clearance is fairly easy, just takes the FBI 6+ months to check up on you and give you the go ahead.

I guess it depends. If you want to be an officer in the Canadian military (for example), the recruiting department will disqualify you if they find out that you don't have friends and don't socialize. Also, for more sensitive (military) careers like Communications they will want to interview your friends and neighbours (this is, once again, assuming you are social).

I could also presume that supply and demand issues would be involved (J. Robert Oppenheimer was head of the Manhattan Project, and yet the CIA and many in government did not like or trust him because of his communists sympathies). Many companies do credit checks. In fact I was told that a temp agency would deduct from my salary the cost of doing a credit check (this was for unskilled manual labour). As for "drugs"; you can't even get a student loan in the United States if you are convicted of smoking marijuana (thanks to Bill Clinton, the guy who doesn't "inhale"), although yes I am aware that you can become President of the United States and head of its armed forces if you have smoked marijuana (like the Right Wing Barack Obama, who also likes to wage war against Drugs). I don't for one moment believe the "honesty" business you speak of (I do realize that there is probably some amount of cognitive dissonance on your side). Most people in sensitive positions that I have either met or heard of (through scandal and/or through the media) I have found to be unreliable (when it comes to truthiness).

Re:In case you mssed it: (1)

vadeskoc (1374195) | about 4 years ago | (#32912908)

Actually, the link I clicked through looked like a relatively ordinary (and not terribly big) grant program. Looks like the news here is maybe just that they are targeting individual junior faculty (rather than the gigantic industry-academia mega-consortium partnership programs that they usually fund)?

postings that show how bad it is (2, Interesting)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about 4 years ago | (#32914124)

Did you RTFA? These aren't job postings. You already have to have a very particular job. A mere PhD is not good enough, no you must be employed at a university as a junior faculty member and have received your PhD within the last 7 years. (Amazing how quickly an advanced degree becomes stale. Guess it would have been discriminatory to require that every participant be under the age of 40.) This DARPA program is a way for you to secure your tenured faculty position by bringing in DARPA money.

Nowadays there are so many new PhDs fighting for so few positions that it has become extremely competitive. Lot of new professors quickly lose their positions for not having done enough quality publishing. DARPA will have no trouble recruiting, and attaching all kinds of onerous strings. Before the 1970s, you could have your own lab before you turned 30. Not impossible today, but very, very hard. This is a big reason why universities have been able to get away with paying at least 20% less than industry. And why DARPA can push such arbitrary criteria. Maybe they're trying to help younger faculty with this restriction of no more than 7 years. Bar highly, highly competitive, more experienced faculty from participating. But it is easy to see a self-serving pandering to the pop-science idea that people are mentally sharpest and do their best thinking and work before the age of 50 or perhaps 40. They're also angling for the more desperate professors who still have to prove themselves, and will therefore supposedly work harder. They may also impose their unthinking assumptions of how research should be done, and demand "action plans", "deliverables", and a full accounting of hours worked, as if research was only another business process. This is consistent with what I have seen from military backing of research efforts. That DARPA has the luxury to play along with such notions is yet another sign of how bad it is out there.

Re:postings that show how bad it is (1)

RockoTDF (1042780) | about 4 years ago | (#32914670)

Given how it is a bitch to get an NSF or NIH grant under the age of 40 (or so I am told), as a future academic I am actually happy to see that someone is saying "hey, young faculty, have we got a grant for you! - And even if you hate weapons, you can work on non-weaponized stuff that will one day help civilians as well!"

I think the reason why it is so hard to have a lab under 30 is because Ph.D.s take longer, and postdocs are more common. Pretty much every professor I know over the age of 40 took four years to get through all of grad school (masters and PhD) in experimental psychology(non-clinical) and neuroscience. It will take my friends and I five or six years. This is because we now need more publications just to get our postdocs, and our Master's Theses had better be publishable, and not just a "first year project." Some schools are starting to cut out the master's degree or even the comprehensive exams (although the latter is rare) just so they don't have to support students for an eternity.

Another upside to these grants is that sometimes the grad students in your lab need security clearances or to at least be US citizens only. This means that those labs can only recruit American students, which is good considering how foreign students are getting more and more of the graduate degrees at American Universities, which can lead to a brain drain if they return home or don't go into industry.

Re:postings that show how bad it is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32916752)

I just find it pathetic that DARPA seems to think that any and all research MUST be performed in a university setting by underpaid flunkies who couldn't hack it in industry, or else it's not "real" research. Especially calling for "revolutionary and not incremental" advances from those whose best bet in their career is to grind out mostly derivative publications, as opposed to those who are bringing real advances to industry and performing continuing research in an incorporated setting.

But then again, I guess going the university route is how they can keep the grant amounts low, as this seems to be a very intern-like setup. They seem to want to grab some diamonds in the rough before they're successful enough to cost too much, taking advantage of the university situation you describe.

Re:postings that show how bad it is (1)

gillbates (106458) | about 4 years ago | (#32920806)

setting by underpaid flunkies who couldn't hack it in industry,

As someone with much experience in the industry, I find this rather amusing. Given the number of genuinely stupid people I see promoted to managerial positions in the industry, I'd say it's just the opposite: those who can't think creatively or logically *have* to find a job in industry, because it's the only place where lack of creativity and objectivity are an asset, rather than a liability. In academia, you could never get away with:

  1. Reprimanding someone for coming up with a creative solution which reduced the amount of work necessary, simply because someone else had already decided to use a different method.
  2. Imputing that the engineer is to blame for a late project when he wasn't allowed to start work on it until after the due date.
  3. Insisting that everyone just works hard enough, a faulty design will somehow work correctly.

Industry does have challenges that academia does not, and is quite frequently years, even decades ahead of them, but there are so many opportunities for the lazy and incompetent that someone who can't hack it in industry won't be able to hack it in academia either.

Re:postings that show how bad it is (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 4 years ago | (#32917510)

Did you RTFA? These aren't job postings. You already have to have a very particular job.

It's still an offer of employment, which is a job.

Just because one of the qualifications is that you have a particular job, doesn't mean it's not a job listing. For example, a job as a full professor often requires that you have a position as an assistant or associate. But they're still "job postings" when you see them in Chronicle of Higher Education.

Re:postings that show how bad it is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32919792)

It's still an offer of employment, which is a job.

A grant is not a job. Sorry, it's better to admit you were wrong that try and change definitions of word to save face. Instead of looking like you made a mistake, you look stupid.

Re:postings that show how bad it is (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 4 years ago | (#32921744)

A grant is not a job

In academia it is.

I don't think I want them winning hearts or minds (4, Funny)

physburn (1095481) | about 4 years ago | (#32911758)

Job Spec: As part of this great, well paid opportunity, You will be developing our SkyNet and Colossus robot based anti personnel devices.

Re:I don't think I want them winning hearts or min (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 4 years ago | (#32911832)

Test in Iraq, deploy at home? You would think they would just buy off the shelf from Australia, UK, Canada, France, Italy or South Africa. People who love and need their death jobs vs the questions of US patriots.
Have them see their work used in main street USA is a huge emotional security risk.

Re:I don't think I want them winning hearts or min (2, Insightful)

radtea (464814) | about 4 years ago | (#32912080)

You will be developing our SkyNet and Colossus robot based anti personnel devices.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could develop stuff like the Internet without at the same time spending such a vast quantity of otherwise productive wealth on deadweight loss activities like developing weapons systems?

And if we simply must pour huge amounts of otherwise productive wealth into deadweight loss activities, why not make it space exploration, unlikely-to-pay-off energy research, a cure for the common heartbreak?

What is it about killing people in large numbers that is so fascinating that it compels our interest?

It certainly isn't any actual utility: violience is the least efficient and effective way of solving any problem. History supports this with endless examples and a handful of counter-examples. So it can't be that anyone remotely sane ever looks at the world and says, "I know, what we need is more and better ways of killing people, because what we have isn't enough!"

So what is it? Why do people build such huge deadweight loss systems, far beyond anything required to simply protect ourselves from invasion by others? It can't be the purported serendipitous benefits because they could be had in far less devastating ways.

Re:I don't think I want them winning hearts or min (1)

refrigeratorpanic (1832792) | about 4 years ago | (#32912302)

As far as deadweight loss goes, it's technically not deadweight loss because the money spent eventually makes it back into the broader economy. There are many other programs that have a much higher economic return rate per dollar spent, but those tend to be politically sensitive social programs.

The ability to project military force anywhere around the globe is a strategic objective of the united states armed forces and is instrumental in serving our interests. There's simply no faster way to get the economic deals and natural resources we want than being able to level a few distant cities to make a point.

I don't endorse this, but that's why we need weapons.

Re:I don't think I want them winning hearts or min (1)

shadowofwind (1209890) | about 4 years ago | (#32912778)

So what is it? Why do people build such huge deadweight loss systems, far beyond anything required to simply protect ourselves from invasion by others?

Here are a few reasons I see:

1. Offshoring of manufacturing. Weapons are physical things, and most other physical things are now made in China. If you live somewhere like Ohio, weapons development is pretty much what is left. In theory we could make other stuff like windmills, but there is a lot of inertia in economic development. Most people can't just get together with a half dozen friends and start an alternative energy company. But its pretty easy to get into DoD work, because it already exists locally.

2. Job competition from immigrant graduate students. If you've got US citizenship or a greencard, there's a lot less competition for grant money in research areas that are closed to non "US persons". This tends to drive native US engineering talent into DoD and 'homeland security' R&D, which fuels expansion in those areas.

3. Blood lust. A fairly significant portion of the people involved in DoD research are fascinated by lethal power, and presumably this accounts for much public support for it also. I think there are metaphysical causes for this, that it can't be understood purely in terms of a rational cost/benefit analysis. Or, if you're adverse to philosophical speculation, just chalk it up to our prehistoric past as hunter-scavangers, though I don't think that's a complete answer.

4. Fear. There is a lot of dishonesty our lives, and living a lie tends to be productive of paranoia. Some people are in a position to take advantage of that. There's a lot of fear in congress also, which results in ostensibly dovish representatives pouring a lot of money into secret defense and surveillance programs.

5. Greed. People want money so they can live in big houses, take expensive vacations, and retire early. Fear sells at higher margins than other services.

Re:I don't think I want them winning hearts or min (2, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | about 4 years ago | (#32914284)

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could develop stuff like the Internet without at the same time spending such a vast quantity of otherwise productive wealth on deadweight loss activities like developing weapons systems?

Finally, a slashdove who acknowledges that DARPA actually had a positive role...

And if we simply must pour huge amounts of otherwise productive wealth into deadweight loss activities, why not make it space exploration, unlikely-to-pay-off energy research, a cure for the common heartbreak?

What is it about killing people in large numbers that is so fascinating that it compels our interest?

It gets results.

It certainly isn't any actual utility: violience is the least efficient and effective way of solving any problem.

An item of faith among pacifists, particularly those protected by a government willing to use violence at a drop of a hat. But false; violence is quite effective, perhaps uniquely so; that's why all current systems of government are based on it.

Re:I don't think I want them winning hearts or min (1)

ultranova (717540) | about 4 years ago | (#32915948)

An item of faith among pacifists, particularly those protected by a government willing to use violence at a drop of a hat. But false; violence is quite effective, perhaps uniquely so; that's why all current systems of government are based on it.

Violence isn't effective. Quite the contrary, it involves tremendous costs; for example, the current running cost of Iraq and Afghanistan wars comes to over one trillion dollars - and let's not forget that these are wars against a hopelessly outmatched foe, and have actually failed to meet their objectives, for Al-Qaida and Taleban still exist and Iraq is far from a peaceful democracy. It's the threat of violence that's effective, but once you resort to actual violence, you'd better hope that you have some deep pockets to draw from.

Suppose you'd given trillion dollars to, say, NASA instead of blowing shit up? You'd be selling hot dogs at the Moon right now. Or maybe you'd prefer to have covered the Wall Street bailout with it? You'd still had over 300 billion dollars to spend on NASA, social security, or simply tax cuts. Instead, you used it all to blow shit up half the world over, and accomplished nothing except killing thousands of your people and possibly close to a million other people. And you call that effective? Hell, you could had put a billion dollar bounty on Osama's head; you'd almost certainly got him, and still had 999 billions left over.

This is what I've never understood about hawks: their position is completely irrational. Even if one adopts the position that the only thing that matters is homeland's power and glory, it's still irrational: a nation that invests its money on growing its economy will always beat one that invests in its army instead, simply because of compound interest. Getting involves in a war always weakens you, simply because you are wasting resources you could invest in making yourself stronger otherwise. Why are these people having such a problem understanding this?

Re:I don't think I want them winning hearts or min (1)

russotto (537200) | about 4 years ago | (#32916148)

Violence isn't effective. Quite the contrary, it involves tremendous costs;

This is a non sequitur. I never said it was cheap. I merely said it was effective. It's efficiency varies widely.

Suppose you'd given trillion dollars to, say, NASA instead of blowing shit up? You'd be selling hot dogs at the Moon right now.

More likely we'd have a couple more half-developed launch platforms destined for cancellation.

Instead, you used it all to blow shit up half the world over, and accomplished nothing except killing thousands of your people and possibly close to a million other people.

Actually, at least two things intended were accomplished: One, Al Queda is no longer in effective control of Afghanistan. This goal was accomplished relatively quickly. Two, Saddam Hussein is no longer running Iraq. You can argue all day about whether the latter goal was an important one, but it was accomplished. Both wars were badly managed, and the goals (besides those two) were pretty murky to begin with.

a nation that invests its money on growing its economy will always beat one that invests in its army instead, simply because of compound interest.

Until the nation which invests in the army waltzes in and takes over. Or some group hating that nation just starts blowing infrastructure up.

Re:I don't think I want them winning hearts or min (1)

ultranova (717540) | about 4 years ago | (#32917166)

This is a non sequitur. I never said it was cheap. I merely said it was effective. It's efficiency varies widely.

Given infinite resources, almost everything is "effective", since it gets your goal. Given finite resources, whatever gets your goal cheapest is "effective".

More likely we'd have a couple more half-developed launch platforms destined for cancellation.

The reason NASA projects get cancelled is that the funding gets cancelled. Give them a trillion dollars and a directive to colonize the Moon with it, and it'll get done.

Actually, at least two things intended were accomplished: One, Al Queda is no longer in effective control of Afghanistan. This goal was accomplished relatively quickly.

As soon as USA pulls off - as it has to do pretty soon, since the money to continue the war is running out - Taleban and Al-Qaeda will retake the country.

Two, Saddam Hussein is no longer running Iraq. You can argue all day about whether the latter goal was an important one, but it was accomplished.

Indeed. Of course, Saddam was a secular maniac, so with him gone Iraq is on its way to become a terrorist training ground, but hey: mission accomplished.

Both wars were badly managed, and the goals (besides those two) were pretty murky to begin with.

Yes, I get the feeling that the people in charge just wanted a war, and damn the consequences.

Until the nation which invests in the army waltzes in and takes over. Or some group hating that nation just starts blowing infrastructure up.

It takes far less money to defend than to attack. A nation that invests in its infrastructure can hold off nation that attacks, yet still increase the size of its economy, and eventually dwarf that nation even in military might.

Or some group hating that nation just starts blowing infrastructure up.

An army can't stop a terrorist group. You need intelligence services and police for that.

Re:I don't think I want them winning hearts or min (1)

russotto (537200) | about 4 years ago | (#32917832)

Given infinite resources, almost everything is "effective", since it gets your goal. Given finite resources, whatever gets your goal cheapest is "effective".

Infinite resources spent in the wrong way are NOT effective.

The reason NASA projects get cancelled is that the funding gets cancelled. Give them a trillion dollars and a directive to colonize the Moon with it, and it'll get done.

Now there's an article of faith. I find it more likely they'd burn through the trillion with various poorly thought out and poorly executed programs, and then go begging for more.

As soon as USA pulls off - as it has to do pretty soon, since the money to continue the war is running out - Taleban and Al-Qaeda will retake the country.

Maybe. But even if so, was there another way to unseat them?

It takes far less money to defend than to attack. A nation that invests in its infrastructure can hold off nation that attacks, yet still increase the size of its economy, and eventually dwarf that nation even in military might./blockquote.
It does NOT take far less money to defend than attack. That's what asymmetrical warfare (or terrorism, if you prefer) is all about.

Re:I don't think I want them winning hearts or min (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | about 4 years ago | (#32914480)

It certainly isn't any actual utility: violience is the least efficient and effective way of solving any problem.

There's a saying: violence is like XML. If it isn't solving your problem, you're not using enough of it!

(A more serious answer would be that at some point or in some cases, only more violence can beat violence. If I'm willing to solve my problems with violence and you aren't, at some point I'm always going to win. Passive resistance only works if I have a sense of shame.)

Re:I don't think I want them winning hearts or min (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32914824)

What is it about killing people in large numbers that is so fascinating that it compels our interest?

Power, dear boy.

Re:I don't think I want them winning hearts or min (1)

Beeftopia (1846720) | about 4 years ago | (#32922432)


Military technology is a double-edged sword. A peaceful society with white marble libraries, people in flowing robes discussing philosophy and nary a bad word to be heard will be destroyed when the first Viking longboat comes ashore.

On the other hand, an otherwise peaceful society with fantastically effective military technology might become militarily adventurous. And what the modern communications media is teaching us is that all war - ALL war - results in mangled noncombatants as well as mangled soldiers.

There needs to be a balance.

The US should (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 4 years ago | (#32911768)

Be spending at home during the hard economic times.
Trusted partners with security clearances who have been with the US security establishment from their inception*.
Larger organisations that can bring a wealth of real world experience to any DARPA project.
Developers who understand the interface needs of raw US armed forces recruits.
Developers who are committed to security.
Developers, developers ... Your spending. Our passion, *now with 100% less FSB.

Re:The US should (1)

refrigeratorpanic (1832792) | about 4 years ago | (#32912232)

wait...what?

Re:The US should (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 4 years ago | (#32912740)

MS could do with a good news story :) Something patriotic, no perl, passwords, modems or UFO's in sight.

Weapons systems designed by graduates (1)

PerformanceDude (1798324) | about 4 years ago | (#32911774)

Great idea!! DUCKS!!!!

DARPA is Soooo '70s (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32911818)

Retro ain't cool, Joe!

Pharmacology is where it's at, Bro!!

CS 101 suuukas!!!

Re:DARPA is Soooo '70s (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 4 years ago | (#32911906)

Pharmacology is so 1980's
Anthropology will provide an insight into the family, tribe, clan and nationalist issues offering a clean divide and conquer process for long term resource control.

I'll happily work for the military (1)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | about 4 years ago | (#32912058)

as soon as they start issuing salaries that are competitive with the private sector. When I was at university job fairs last year, entry level positions at Microsoft offered almost 50% more than equivalent government jobs, and the latter seemed to have better career opportunities later in life. Not sure if this applies to all professions, or just programmers/computer scientists, but that's who they want apparently.

I have heard that at the moment wages are increasing faster in the government than the private sector due to the recession, but that's a temporary situation at best.

Re:I'll happily work for the military (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | about 4 years ago | (#32912152)

I refuse to work for the military or Microsoft until they offer more money than I get as a crack-dealing gigolo hitman.

Re:I'll happily work for the military (1)

rfelsburg (1237090) | about 4 years ago | (#32912212)

I refuse to work for the military or Microsoft until they offer more money than I get as a crack-dealing gigolo hitman.

In all fairness that is 3 jobs...

sgc pays better but you are putting your life on t (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32912294)

sgc pays better but you are putting your life on the line and they want the kind of people who will be able to work while you are being shot at.

Re:I'll happily work for the military (1)

Wiarumas (919682) | about 4 years ago | (#32912594)

It very well might be a trade off for more job security. From my experiences, private sector may make a bit more at first, but if you work in government, get your clearance, etc, not only will you be matching or surpassing the private sector, but you will have job security far superior than any other market (even health care). Anyone can code Java, but not everyone can code Java and have over $100k invested in them in background checks.

If they want to PAY for it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32912142)

Typically Gov't jobs don't pay that well, and as such attract lower than average skilled workers. If they want to pay above average and perhaps remove some of the cruft, I'm sure they won't have as tough a time attracting better workers!

not any more (1)

zogger (617870) | about 4 years ago | (#32912810)

Government jobs are now -generally speaking- higher paying than civilian jobs, at least in the US. Of course this will contribute to the insane economic trickle down theory of boom and eventual bust/collapse (along with the usury and wealth skimming industry and money "creation" model we have), but they hold most of the aces now and can just demand that everyone else support their growth and raises.

http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20091211/1afedpay11_st.art.htm [usatoday.com]

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503983_162-5007862-503983.html [cbsnews.com]

Position Requirments (1)

charteux (777673) | about 4 years ago | (#32912166)

From the article: "The restrictions? An eligible participant must be a junior faculty member at a US higher education institution. Participants should be no more than seven years beyond receiving a doctoral degree, pretenure junior faculty, with demonstrated exceptional potential for worldclass contributions to the field of computer science."

What is "demonstrated exceptional potential"? This makes no sense. Either you have performed exceptionally or you haven't. And what is up with junior faculty? They are not interested in those with an actual record of world-class contributions? This looks to me as if they are just buying younger faculty (without the security of tenure to date) for use at a later date.

Re:Position Requirments (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32912702)

"Demonstrated" means you've done it. They want junior faculty because the junior faculty are more likely to be willing to take a full-time hitch with DARPA.

I may qualify, btw, for this, so I'm looking into it. (This is why I'm posting AC.)

Too bad they kill innocent people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32912258)

After completing my BS in Computer Science, I'd rather work waiting tables than for the military.

CS Grads developing military weaponry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32913360)

Way back in 1990 when I was a fresh CS grad, I felt the same way. There were tons of high-paying entry-level comp sci job openings for defense contractors in the Dallas/Ft.Worth metroplex. The pay scale for defense contractor jobs was substantially higher than the rest of the commercial IT job market, but I, like you, refused to use my talents towards developing military weaponry of any kind and went to work for a business software company that folded within 6 years. Now that I'm in my 40's, I would work for a defense contractor in a heartbeat, if there were any such jobs around that had had an elevated pay scale above the rest of the job market like they did 20 years ago. However I'm just glad to have an IT job now, in VoIP telephony, which isn't too shabby and is steady work.

BTW the old saying that says "If you're not liberal in your 20's, you have no heart, and if you're not conservative when you reach your 40's you have no brains".... it's abso-farkingly true. But what you need in your 20's is to displace some of your heart with some more brainage early on in your adulthood, in order to be more successful.

And as to the "killing innocent people" bit, as I've grown older, I've learned that the world is filled with good people that do not want to harm anyone, but it also has a huge number of extremely evil people who *do* need to be killed with all due haste and efficiency before they kill you or your fellow countrymen or your allies. That's what developing high-tech weaponry is all about, and I'd much rather our nation have it if it's ever needed, or just have it to deter someone from doing evil against us.

Re:Too bad they kill innocent people (2, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | about 4 years ago | (#32914222)

And AQ/Taliban killed what? Guilty ppl?

Your future: (1)

Hartree (191324) | about 4 years ago | (#32920112)

Hokay! I'll take fries with that!

FTA: (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | about 4 years ago | (#32912284)

The restrictions? An eligible participant must be a junior faculty member at a US higher education institution. Participants should be no more than seven years beyond receiving a doctoral degree, pretenure junior faculty, with demonstrated exceptional potential for worldclass contributions to the field of computer science.

So, it seems like they only want faculty with the most tenuous positions at their institutions to do projects that will likely be viewed with suspicion by their more senior peers. After completing their project terms, they'll likely be anathema to the other faculty in their departments, and since they don't have tenure and likely won't be able to get it, will be ripe for the poaching. But they pay and benefits are probably a lot better than the universities can muster these days.

Re:FTA: (1)

jfoobaz (1844794) | about 4 years ago | (#32912474)

I kind of wonder if they're fishing for the next batch of project managers for information systems projects.

The previous director of DARPA, wasn't so popular with the research community; he was an engineer from industry, and instituted a regime of (fairly unrealistic) GNG (go/no go) targets in programs every year. If sites didn't hit certain scores on the GNG evals, they lost their funding. Which sounds not too bad on the surface - why would you continue to fund an organization that's not doing well? Except that for a number of projects that DARPA does (information and language processing technology, in particular), there's some very difficult problems with have somewhat good problems where you might be able to shave a few points off with refinements of existing approaches. If your funding hinges on meeting targets, rather than trying to solve the problem, you're just not going to pursue a new (but possibly fruitless) approach because the risks are too high.

I kinda viewed that wording as looking for new, fresh, research oriented blood for the organization; perhaps there's an ongoing return to the roots of DARPA - research. Research with a purpose, directed towards a specific goal, with producing something useful at the end, but research that may fail but needs to be done to discover possibly novel approaches to problems that might otherwise go ignored in a wholly results driven system. One can hope.

Seriously? (1)

casings (257363) | about 4 years ago | (#32912310)

I wouldn't hire any of my university professors to do anything software related.

Academics should stay in academia.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32913016)

Amen.

I constantly interview aspiring young developers fresh out of college who may know _something_, but certainly not anything my company needs them to know.

And anyway, what developer would work for the government unless he couldn't get a job anywhere else? I can't believe the government has anywhere near the best and brightest when it comes to brains; I can't imagine but that it has anything but scrapings from the bottom of the barrel.

Job security produces slugs. If you want bright people, you force them to keep themselves marketable.

. . . for the new Zombie weapon system . . . (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 4 years ago | (#32912326)

The move is seen, in part anyway, as a way for the agency to win more heart and braaaaiiiiiinnns of the advanced science community.

There, fixed that for 'em.

Interviewer: "At the start, you will be involved with testing this new weapon system."

Interviewee: "Hey, what happened to the researchers who used to work on this project?"

Interviewer: "Oh, you know, the tough work here can sometimes just devour you."

Bad comic: ". . . tip the veal, try the waitress . . ."

Send us your best and brightest, your huddled few (1)

kernelcache (1810198) | about 4 years ago | (#32912712)

Assembling a top-notch team is more than just getting some bright bulbs, even the brightest bulbs cannot illuminate a large enough room. Right now these bulbs are being put in a tiny little box, which has such intensity on the inside that they're more likely to burn the box than illuminate it. My guess is they will get 12 awesome computer scientists which will build something very cool under the guise of something noble; however, they could also build something that China might be interested in as well...something like a reverse anonymizing system. Oh well, someone has to do it...

Long live the Empire!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32913044)

Long live the American Empire!! May her networks be robust and her data secure! Für das Amerika Vaterland!

A better way to win the hearts and minds... (1)

TSRX (1129939) | about 4 years ago | (#32913600)

of the scientific community would be to stop wasting money developing things that kill people.

DARPA funded BSD Unix and the Internet.... (1)

twasserman (878174) | about 4 years ago | (#32913758)

Some respondents have misread what DARPA is trying to do here. From the announcement, it appears that DARPA is looking to put together a study panel of computer science researchers composed of junior computer science faculty to help them identify promising research areas for the future; they aren't hiring anyone. Some of the panel's ideas will lead to fundable research, and the members of that study panel will have an inside track on getting funded, something that is likely to help them get promoted to a tenured position in their universities. In the old days, many DARPA-funded projects were "dual use", meeting the needs of the military, but also having value for the public at large. The Internet is a good example of that, as is BSD Unix. Many of the US's top computer science departments have received a very substantial percentage of their external research from DARPA. Under Bush, DARPA's focus was more on the military side, but the focus may now be shifting back toward dual use.

DARPA is probably seeking junior faculty members because they are more likely to have fresh ideas than do the more-established senior faculty. Also, junior faculty are in greater need of funding, especially in this economy where a lot of corporate funding for computer science research has been cut. Those research funds primarily support graduate students working on their advanced degrees. Finally, DARPA is sort of marketing itself to these young researchers, who may never have considered working with DARPA, especially when it was so directly focused on military programs.

There are many of us in the academic computer science research community (including me) who have never applied for DARPA funds or participated in their programs. But everyone with a computer has been the beneficiary of DARPA-funded projects.

Thank you for the Internet (1)

WebManWalking (1225366) | about 4 years ago | (#32914484)

I forgot to thank you at the time for ARPANet.

Wait a minute! (1)

multimediavt (965608) | about 4 years ago | (#32914532)

This article is by the same dumbass that wrote the Juno article that was posted here yesterday! Can we put a moratorium on links to this a-hole's column until he learns to convert metric and Imperial units correctly, at the very least?!?! I would give his articles a grain of salt on being accurate in any sense!

Hello, Newbie (1)

Katchu (1036242) | about 4 years ago | (#32914624)

This has been going on since Day One for DARPA. How do you think this Intertube was developed? Many of the innovations in computers and networks were initiated within DARPA projects. Read some history.

Sure... (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | about 4 years ago | (#32915346)

... because I got into the field to write code to help kill people.

Yes, I know that it's now the Department of Defense, but we seem to be doing a whole bunch of offense lately. Why don't we just go back to what it was originally called - The Department of War? It seems to be much closer to their mandate right now.

But all of you basement warriors out there won't have to worry. I'm sure that there are plenty of contract whores in academia to pick up the gun.

I don't see it (1)

RandCraw (1047302) | about 4 years ago | (#32916120)

Revolutionary IT is an oxymoron. IT is all about deep infrastructure and you can't revolutionize the status quo; you can only evolutionize it after first understanding it thoroughly and then chipping away at the edges. No prof is willing to immerse him/herself in that level of ritual embowelment just to win a $100k contract.

Now robotics might be different. A new robot can serve an isolated niche for DARPA which doesn't require the professor to first understand the workings of a huge and complex hierarchical organization like the US military.

The same is true of spy technology. Though IMHO DARPA should be prohibited from funding spy tech since it's so likely to be misguided to civilian targets and then misused domestically, info fusion and surveillance are readily served by a clever prof with a better mousetrap.

Re:I don't see it (1)

russotto (537200) | about 4 years ago | (#32916780)

Revolutionary IT is an oxymoron. IT is all about deep infrastructure and you can't revolutionize the status quo

You can't? The switch from data centers holding several IBM mainframes to data centers holding lots of x86 boxes wasn't revolutionary?

Re:I don't see it (1)

RandCraw (1047302) | about 4 years ago | (#32919964)

My point: one proposal by one junior CS DARPA researcher isn't going to revolutionize the US military's software, not even a little.

And IIRC data centers *evolved*. The transition from COBOL and VMS to PHP and Apache didn't happen overnight.

Not a new program (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32917638)

This is the sixth year of the program. Why are people acting as if this is something new?

nominal (1)

Mana Mana (16072) | about 4 years ago | (#32924410)

> heart and minds

Old nomenclature. "Trust and confidence" is the official new.

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