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DARPA Director Leaves Pentagon For Google

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the needs-better-funding dept.

Google 70

New submitter srussia writes with this quote from Wired: "DARPA director Regina Dugan will soon be stepping down from her position atop the Pentagon's premiere research shop to take a job with Google. Dugan, whose controversial tenure at the agency lasted just under three years, was 'offered and accepted at senior executive position' with the internet giant, according to DARPA spokesman Eric Mazzacone. She felt she could not say no to such an 'innovative company,' he adds. ... 'There is a time and a place for daydreaming. But it is not at DARPA,' she told a congressional panel in March 2011. '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."

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So is every profitable company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39389867)

DARPA is a place of doing

Which profitable company isnt? (not saying that DARPA isnt a profitable company, IDK about it. Isnt it a govt. company?)

Re:So is every profitable company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39390375)

DARPA is a DoD agency. Hence the "D" at the beginning and the "A" at the end.

In more recent news... (4, Funny)

retech (1228598) | more than 2 years ago | (#39389869)

Guglielmo Marconi, Italian Scientist, invents a wireless telegraph that is able to send voice signals through the air via "radio" waves.

Re:In more recent news... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39390391)

Wrong. Marconi's circuits didn't work. He patented his flawed design but sneakily built his gear with Tesla's designs.

Re:In more recent news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39390427)

Wrong. Alexander Popov did it first, but unlike y'all greedy buggers across the pond he didn't patent it.

Re:In more recent news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39390879)

Fuck you. Tesla was an immigrant.

What's revolutionary? (4, Insightful)

stms (1132653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39389881)

You don't dream the future you build it. Yeah sure you had to have an idea but ideas are the easy part the hard part is implementation.

Re:What's revolutionary? (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#39390009)

Exactly what I was thinking... I mean holy shit if I got paid to dream shit up, I would be saying
"Quick... where do I sign!?!?"

Re:What's revolutionary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39390165)

Just join a patent troll like Intellectual ventures.

Re:What's revolutionary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39390169)

Yeah, I had the idea for the quadcopter when I was like 12. Just did not have the skills to build one. My version also came with a HUD goggle set that showed realtime video from the device. So you could sit in a chair and fly this around. Standard RC hand controller.

Of course now I would have the gyros and sensors in the goggles turn the camera on the device with the motions of your head.

I am still waiting for someone to build the HUD goggle.

Re:What's revolutionary? (4, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#39390241)

There are various places you can live on the axes of basic versus applied research, though. DARPA traditionally spent a larger proportion of its budget on basic research than it does today; nowadays the vast majority of DARPA projects intend practical outcomes in the 3-5-year timeframe, often pairing universities doing near-term applied research with companies like Lockheed who're simultaneously implementing it, and expected to exercise considerable pressure on the university partners to focus their research on the near-term "deliverable". Traditionally, that was part of the DARPA budget, while blue-skies research, often in the form of block grants to e.g. a physics or CS research group, was another part of it. The relative percentages have shifted a lot towards the former.

Some of the justification is that the NSF is supposed to fund basic research, while DARPA is supposed to fund things of near-term practical use to the military. That makes some sense conceptually, but a shift in DARPA priorities without a reallocation in funds between the NSF and DARPA means that in effect science/engineering research funding is being cut in favor of something that leans closer to military R&D.

Congratualations... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39389889)

you now work for the doubleclick of the 2000s.

Re:Congratualations... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39390693)

I guess this kind of people either don't know what they're getting into or receive a very different treatment compared to your average engineer. Otherwise I don't understand why anyone would want to work for a bunch of arrogant assholes who show up in the news every other, always for the wrong reasons.

--
mchurch

Re:Congratualations... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39396765)

Google bought doubleclick years ago, so that makes this statement more true than funny,

Real Programmer (2)

William Robinson (875390) | more than 2 years ago | (#39389895)

WOW. She does calculation on her palms and knees. A Read Programmer [xkcd.com]

Re:Real Programmer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39389945)

She sounds like a real cunt.

Re:Real Programmer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39390311)

She looks like a real cunt.

Re:Real Programmer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39393451)

She has a real cunt.

Re:Real Programmer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39390019)

'Read programmers' aren't real!

Incest all around. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39389957)

So, Google is effectively part of the military industrial complex now? Nice to know there's a revolving door at the highest levels. DARPA's motto should be "making working for the military cool for Silicon Valley programmers".

Re:Incest all around. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39390117)

I like how General Petraus went right from the military to the CIA, and the CIA director Leon Panetta went right into the military. The CIA and military commanders just traded places, and yet none of the mainstream media chose to point out that obvious fact.

Chilling times indeed, when the CIA and military are basically the same thing now.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:Incest all around. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39390401)

Huh? That was all over the news. Nobody cared because it's not a big deal. "Wait, you're trying to tell me that the head of a government organization doing national security work was deemed qualified to lead a different government agency doing national security work?"

Re:Incest all around. (3, Interesting)

bytesex (112972) | more than 2 years ago | (#39391531)

It's more that it's a sign of the times of how 'top-people' are expected to be 'top-people' wherever they are. Take a 'top-banker' and make him head of the post office and before you know it, you have an extremely profitable post office. Or something. What the exchange of Petraeus and Panetta say, is that people don't believe in earning your spurs in your own line of business anymore.

Re:Incest all around. (1)

nobodie (1555367) | more than 2 years ago | (#39399401)

In related news, Kevin Rose was also just hired by Google. What is the chocolate factory up to?????????

Re:Incest all around. (1)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39392457)

Appointing a general or admiral as CIA Director is nothing new. And can you name the former CIA Director who later became commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces?

Re:Incest all around. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39390189)

... Yeah, DARPA, unlike DoJ, congress and the likes, is very important for big businesses.

Just think: Google already knows where you live - latitude, longitude and altitude, knows your circle of friends and your interests. Now couple that with "... shape-shifting robots, Mach 20 missiles ..." and you'd better be careful when bad mouthing Google.

and so on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39389995)

and so continues the incestuous relationship between governments and corporations.

Google probably pays more. (2, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#39390077)

It's probably because Google pays more.

It seems late to be going to Google to do research. Five years ago, yes. Today, no. Google's innovations lately all seem to involve more intrusive advertising.

I hope Google keeps funding the automatic driving effort. At least until some auto manufacturer picks it up. They're getting close to something usable. Now they need to switch from that rotating car-top Velodyne kludge LIDAR to multiple flash LIDARs like Advanced Scientific Concepts makes, and get the size and price down.

Re:Google probably pays more. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39390137)

So true.. let's go ahead and fix that quote for her:

She felt she could not say no to such an 'innovative company,' he adds. ... 'There is a time and a place for daydreaming while getting paid a ridiculous amount of money. But it is not at DARPA,'

There we go, much better.

Re:Google probably pays more. (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#39390431)

Do you have any idea how much a house cost in Silcon Valley? ... or maybe rent for an apartment?

You need millions. Tens of millions for a middle class lifestyle if you have kids and want to buy ... gulp an actual house more than 1600 sq feet in a nice area.

The econonics over there does not make sense and I still smell a huge bubble as only the top 5% can afford the median square foot home. If I had a family Google would have to pay me at least $1 million dollars to move as I do not want 85% of my income to rent out a room in a basement.

If Google were smart they would move their R&D to Austin like a lot of tech companies are. They can they pay their employees only average and they can live like everyone else. Sure some people would bulk at living in the midwest but people with experience want to live like their are worth something and fullfil their own dreams and not some landlords dreams who got lucky 20 years ago.

Companies are forgetting this hence, why only the rockstars are in their 20s and 30s from top colleges in places over there and in New York. After kids enough is enough.

Re:Google probably pays more. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39391259)

If Austin is in the midwest, I'll eat my 10-gallon hat.

Re:Google probably pays more. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39391887)

Google is still nigger-rich, they don't care about things like labor cost.

Re:Google probably pays more. (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 2 years ago | (#39390511)

The private sector always pays more. Companies pay through the nose for director of X federal agency. They're buying that person's rolodex so that they can secure future federal contracts. It's a very lucrative business. All sorts of white house staffers end up on the board of directors of defense contractors and what have you.

Re:Google probably pays more. (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#39391707)

That explanation would make a lot more sense if she were going to a big defense contractor. Google might make a little on govt. contracts (I don't know), but by far, the vast majority is on selling ads. For that matter, google's current profit margin is far higher than what is possible from govt. contracts. Google [cnn.com] makes around 4 times the profit of Lockheed Martin [bloomberg.com] even though LM's revenues are 50% greater.

Can someone explain what "the shift" means? (1)

BurkeTheEldar (161775) | more than 2 years ago | (#39390111)

I'm not going to read the article. What does srussia mean by "the shift" which is in the last sentance? She created a controversial shift while head of darpa? Those exotic programs which are mentioned in the article ought to take a lot longer than 3 years to manifest, so weren't they already in motion when she took over?

Re:Can someone explain what "the shift" means? (4, Interesting)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39390319)

those exotic programs which are mentioned in the article ought to take a lot longer than 3 years to manifest

DARPA = Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

Yes, DARPA's place is exploring wild ideas, pushing the envelope. But the current administration doesn't want to fund basic research if it's related to the military so they appointed her to merge her budget with routine acquisitions; that way it looks like research is still in the budget when it was actually cut.

It's just a coincidence that her leaving comes at a time when there's an investigation into some of those acquisitions that were no bid contracts to the company she founded and is still part owner of.

She is leaving Massive Dynamics? (3, Insightful)

lucm (889690) | more than 2 years ago | (#39390127)

Seriously she reminds me of Nina Sharp in Fringe.

Re:She is leaving Massive Dynamics? (1)

calidoscope (312571) | more than 2 years ago | (#39390655)

She looks a bit older than when I saw her in person back around '98 or so... Still not too bad looking.

Interesting to see a reference in TFA about her having close ties with one the DARPA contractors. Heard a comment that suggested she had a close tie with one of the contractors from the late 1990's.

Re:She is leaving Massive Dynamics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39391697)

I'm guessing she looks about 14 years older than in '98? Just taking a wild guess here.

Re:She is leaving Massive Dynamics? (1)

datavirtue (1104259) | more than 2 years ago | (#39391901)

I'll have what you are smoking. You think she looks good? WTF!

Re:She is leaving Massive Dynamics? (1)

calidoscope (312571) | more than 2 years ago | (#39392231)

Keep in mind that I'm probably older than her and she looks better than a good number of women my age. She does remind me a bit of a former girlfriend. OTOH, she's obviously not likely to be appearing in the SI swimsuit issue...

From some of the other posts, it looks like the OIG investigation may have had more of a reason for her leaving than she is letting on to.

Re:She is leaving Massive Dynamics? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39394607)

If you're using porn stars and heavily made-up actresses as your basis for comparison, she's a frump at best. If you're using reality as your basis for comparison, she's at least adequately attractive for her age and the fact that she has more to do in her life than visit her personal trainer and her person esthetician. Maybe you should join us here in reality, which is a little less misogynistic.

Re:She is leaving Massive Dynamics? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39390947)

Yeah...nice fucking wig.

Good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39390195)

Hopefully she can foster the same environment of innovation at Google that she did at DARPA.

so, the question is (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39390217)

What did she get the government to do for Google while at DARPA which secured her this cushy position?

I firmly believe that no government officer above a certain position, or elected representative, should be able to work in the private sector for at least ten years after they have left government. I couldn't give a fuck if this means we have to increase their salaries or be seen as paying them to do nothing. It would be so much better than the current revolving door situation.

Re:so, the question is (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39390363)

What did she get the government to do for Google while at DARPA

It appears to be the other way around. Google's top executives are major Obama supporters, fundraisers, and donors. Giving her a cushy job as an escape from her "controversial tenure" at DARPA is another favor to the administration.

WINDOWS NOT GENUINE VIRUS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39390407)

Yeah bitch. Git.

Embrace Evil (3, Insightful)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39390473)

It is hard to imagine just how much this embraces the opposite of "Don't be evil". Bringing in someone from DARPA is pretty much a conduit to everything that is wrong and broken about American political life right now.

Re:Embrace Evil (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39390515)

Yes, bringing in someone from the eeeeeevil research agency that basically gave us Internet and many more is definitely eeeeeeevil thing to do.

You google bashers need to work harder on your delivery, you lack impact.

Re:Embrace Evil (4, Funny)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 2 years ago | (#39390739)

It is hard to imagine just how much this embraces the opposite of "Don't be evil". Bringing in someone from DARPA is pretty much a conduit to everything that is wrong and broken about American political life right now.

Suuuuuuuuuuure it is. This is just the start of Google Defense. Its their plan to come up with a better, ad-supported military.

Re:Embrace Evil (2)

petsounds (593538) | more than 2 years ago | (#39391631)

I guess you're under the impression that DARPA is just about killer robots and Mach 20 self-guided missiles. Maybe you forgot DARPA tried to create the Total Information Awareness [wikipedia.org] program [Most TIA programs are still running under different names]. Maybe you didn't see Rugan's All Things D interview where she admitted to "working closely" with Google. What better way to make the DARPA-Google relationship more cozy than to install a DARPA director at Google's skunkworks arm?

Re:Embrace Evil - Skynet (1)

evanism (600676) | more than 2 years ago | (#39392013)

Skynet wasnt advertiser supported!

Advanced Vaporisation, now brought to you by....

Re:Embrace Evil (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39392285)

Don't laugh about that. With informational/psychological warfare becoming much more important than physical combat, you can imagine a world where the enemy country is persuaded to either have self-destructive policies that minimize their threat (with misinformation) or cause them to merge in a way where they help join the offensive country (or a combination of both). If you consider that capitalism is a more civilized type of warfare where businesses fight as warlords in what attempts to be a free market, you can see that we are starting to change how warfare is fought, after always relying on physical combat for thousands of years. Much of the capitalist business practices pursue informational/psychological warfare, as fostered within marketing/HR so that they are able to grow as a company to become a monopoly which might impact the country's political decision making. Google can easily help pursue this approach as it grows in size to consume information and provide analysis for any potential clients.

Re:Embrace Evil (1)

gtall (79522) | more than 2 years ago | (#39391285)

What's broken about American political life is the Entitlements, that 2/3's of the budget that will sweep us all over the brink if it's growth isn't curtailed. DoD spending as a percentage of GDP has steadily gone down.

Don't be evil. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39390531)

Great, now Google with have Metal Gears!

Obama's response (4, Funny)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39390743)

Prior to her departure, Ms. Dugan set up a meeting with President Obama to discuss her plans. At some point in the conversation Obama said: “Just tell me it’s not Google.” She told him it was Google.

At that point, President Obama picked up a chair and threw it across the Oval Office, hitting a table. Obama then said: “F**king Eric Schmidt is a f**king pussy. I’m going to f**king bury that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again. I’m going to f**king kill Google.”

Re:Obama's response (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39391459)

lol.. for those of you who missed the joke above:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Lucovsky

Prior to her departure, Ms. Dugan set up a meeting with President Obama to discuss her plans. At some point in the conversation Obama said: “Just tell me it’s not Google.” She told him it was Google.

At that point, President Obama picked up a chair and threw it across the Oval Office, hitting a table. Obama then said: “F**king Eric Schmidt is a f**king pussy. I’m going to f**king bury that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again. I’m going to f**king kill Google.”

Re:Obama's response (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39393955)

lol.. for those of you who missed the joke above:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Lucovsky

Also, those of you who missed the joke, please hand in your geek cards.

Re:Obama's response (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39393979)

What's funny is Obama ran on this whole "we will have a transparent presidency and I won't allow any of this revolving door cabinet stuff". And under his time, countless people have left government positions for lucrative executive positions at Google, Comcast, etc. Change, indeed.

Maybe this says more about Google than DARPA (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 2 years ago | (#39391065)

Google is perhaps running in a quasi military mad scientist model now.

Re:Maybe this says more about Google than DARPA (1)

gtall (79522) | more than 2 years ago | (#39391295)

She was never military, that's why she left. And given her reputation in DoD, Google won't be expecting any warm fuzzies from it.

the choice was probably get out or go to jail (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39391613)

The Federal Inspector General is investigating her for funneling money into favored contractors, including a company she founded and still largely owns.

Internally to DoD, what Wired sees as "good politics" in closer coordination with the pentagon, others see as "misallocation of funds".

Under her tenure the politicization of DARPA has accelerated. Lobbying firms are on DARPA payroll to determine program directions and make funding decisions. Program managers are being selected from among Congressional staffers rather than academia or military labs.

DARPA is only a small part of DoD R&D. After enough of us have had conversations with internal auditors about possibly going to jail over the things we've done under her direction, she made a "choice" to leave... Sure.

Totally Incompetent (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39391649)

Regina was a shining example of an Obama political appointee. The linked article does not tell the story behind the story. She was accused of a conflict of interest when she sent DARPA business a company run by a "friend". She is stepping down to avoid a scandal.

'The Robert Oppenheimer manouvre'. (1)

Therefore I am (1284262) | more than 2 years ago | (#39392125)

First they 'investigate' you with all your colleagues. Then they reduce your security clearance. Next is work on lots of committees that actually do nothing. Finally they farm you out to a huge government contractor with a big title and nothing of any consequence to do. If you don't get the message then, they are quite prepared to dig up Senator Joseph McCarthy to look into your political allegiances. Resistance is futile!

I want a turn! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39392463)

On the public-private sector merry-go-round that is in no way a conduit for corruption nor is it undermining our faith in our government.

DARPA Chief leaves Pentagon for Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39397985)

Now Google has one of the security codes to launch Metal Gear!

No Such Search Engine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39401505)

In other breaking news: some other agency doesn't confirm or deny a lucrative cooperation with Google. Why bother?

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