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Regina E. Dugan
19th Director of DARPA
Born March 19, 1963(1963-03-19) (age 58)
New York, New York, United States
Residence McLean, VA, U.S.
Alma mater Virginia Tech (BS, Master)
Caltech (PhD)
Occupation mechanical engineer, company President and CEO

Regina E. Dugan (born March 19, 1963) is an American inventor and businesswoman. She served as the 19th Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). She was appointed to that position on July 20, 2009 and was the first female DARPA director.[1] In March 2012, she left her position to take an executive role at Google.

From 1996 to 2000, Dugan served as a program manager at DARPA where she directed a portfolio of programs including the "Dog’s Nose" program, which focused on the development of an advanced, field-portable system for detecting the explosive content of land mines.[1] In 1999, she was named DARPA Program Manager of the Year[1] and, in 2000, was awarded the Bronze deFleury medal by the Army Engineer Regiment.[1] In the award citation, Lieutenant General Ballard stated that "through strength of will, she carried disheartened experimenters past points of discouragement and led them to solve seemingly impossible problems. In the highest leadership traditions, she acted as coach, mentor, cheerleader, and taskmaster to achieve the program goals."

Other awards include the Office of the Secretary of Defense Award for Exceptional Service and the Award for Outstanding Achievement.[1] Dugan led a counterterrorism task force for the Deputy Secretary of Defense in 1999 and, from 2001 to 2003, served as a special advisor to the Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army. She has participated in studies for the Defense Science Board, Army Science Board, National Research Council, and the Science Foundation, and sat on the Naval Research Advisory Committee and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and Technology Panel.[1] In 2005, Dugan Ventures founded RedXDefense, LLC, a privately held company devoted to innovative solutions for combating explosive threats, where she also served as President and CEO. Before leaving DARPA, Dugan co-founded Dugan Ventures, a niche investment firm, where she was also President and CEO.[1]

Dugan obtained her doctorate degree in mechanical engineering from the California Institute of Technology and her master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Virginia Tech. She is the sole inventor or co-inventor on multiple patents and patents pending and the co-author of Engineering Thermodynamics, 1996.[1]

She has appeared at the Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED), conference[2] CNN, the Discovery Channel, National Public Radio, and The AAAS Science Report; has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Prism, Forbes, Science News, among others; and she has delivered keynote remarks at events as diverse as All Things Digital (D9),[3] FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Summit, e.g.,[4] AIA Board of Governor’s meeting, Defense Manufacturing Conference, and SPIE Defense, Security, and Sensing. In 2011, she was named a Tech Titan by Washingtonian Magazine.[5]


In a New York Times article entitled, "New Force Behind Agency of Wonder", John Markoff wrote that Dugan is "credited with having a knack for inspiring, and indeed insisting on, creative thinking.[6] DARPA is often discussed as a place of innovation, which was addressed during a General Electric summit on competitiveness in Washington, D.C. Talking about DARPA's innovation was likened to talking about Piccaso's impressionism,.[7]Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many

The January 2011 edition of Prism Magazine included an article entitled, "Open to Wild Ideas. An engineer brings 'blue sky' research back to DARPA." Author Art Pine wrote: In computer science, to name one area, the change is noticeable." "It’s clear that DARPA is back in the game and is funding a wide range of computer science projects", Peter Harsha said and Robert M. Berdahl, president of the Association of American Universities, commented that "the treatment of basic research has already made a difference to university-based researchers".[8]

DARPA has been described as "the Nation's elite Army of futuristic technogeeks"; a place where scientists and engineers go to serve their country. Senator Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Deputy Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, commented on the importance of talent for the Nation and on the Director's efforts.[9]


In the Agency's 2010 testimony, the challenge of manufacturing was described. "One of the biggest challenges we face as a Nation is the decline in our ability to make things. Americans today consume more goods manufactured overseas than ever before... and yet they are less likely to be employed in manufacturing than at any time in the last 100 years. We believe that this decline impacts the Nations ability to innovate... because, quite simply, "to innovate, we must make." Importantly, this has potentially significant implications for defense, because to protect, we must produce." The Adaptive Vehicle Make program is aimed at reducing the time to build complex defense vehicles from 10 years to 2 years.[10]

In his remarks at the Advanced Manufacturing Breakfast at Carnegie Mellon University, Friday, June 24, 2011, former Deputy Secretary of Defense, William J. Lynn, III, opened by saying, "The history of advanced manufacturing in the Defense Department can be told through three individuals: the famous inventor Eli Whitney, former Lockheed Martin CEO Norm Augustine, and Regina Dugan, Director of DARPA".[11]

Cyber security[]

A recent focus of the agency has been cyber security. The agency amplified its efforts to develop better defensive and offensive capabilities, recruited a world class team, and opened research up to white hat hackers to improve innovation. At a cyber colloquium held in November 2011, three themes were articulated: (1) Malicious cyber attacks are not merely an existential threat to our bits and bytes; they are a real threat to an increasingly large number of systems that we interact with daily from the power grid to our financial systems to our automobiles and our military systems; (2) Modern warfare will demand both cyber and kinetic capabilities, and (3) In cyber, the nation is capability limited, both defensively and offensively. While existing efforts are necessary, these efforts represent the wisdom of the moment. Efforts are needed to increase the speed at which we develop effective cyber capabilities, as well as the number and diversity of those involved in the process of cyber innovation for the DoD.,[12][13]

Social media and prize-based challenge[]

Since 2009, the agency has conducted a series of prize-based challenges with the intent of significantly increasing the number, diversity, and speed of people contributing to innovations for national security. The first was the DARPA Network Challenge, which was also known as the "DARPA Red Balloon Challenge." The most recent challenge was the DARPA Shredder Challenge 2011.[14][15]

Potential conflict of interest[]

In March 2011, an article in Wired magazine stated that Dugan held stock in RedXDefense, her previous firm. In accordance with DoD policy, Dugan disclosed and recused from matters involving her former firm. A DARPA spokesperson stated that Dugan had no involvement in a 2010 contract award to RedXDefense, and that the contract was vetted by the agency’s top lawyer to assure there was no conflict. Subsequently the LA Times and Wired reported that her company had received around $1.8M in DARPA contracts and that Dugan held a promissory note from RedXDefense in the amount of $250,000.[16] Others have argued that the Wired reporters' accusations are unjustified.[17] In August, 2011, the Inspector General of the Department of Defense(DoD) began an investigation to ensure the procedures had been followed,[18] and to examine DARPA's general policies on conflict of interest as well as a specific concern that DARPA Director Regina Dugan retains financial ties to her former firm, which has won some $6 million in contracts with the agency, $4.3 million of which was awarded prior to her position as Director.[19]

The Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, Ashton Carter, and the Department of Defense, General Counsel, Jeh Johnson, stated in a letter dated May 2011 addressed to Dugan, "based on what we know, we are satisfied that, given your disqualification from matters related to RedXDefense and the procedures you have put in place, there has been no violation of conflict of interest laws or regulations in the selection or funding of RedXDefense's proposals while you have been Director of DARPA".[citation needed]

Prior to entering the Department of Defense, potential political appointees disclose their business investments and holdings for review.[citation needed] Senior ethics officials in the Office of the Secretary of Defense General Counsel, Standards of Conduct Office (OSDGC, SOCO) determine what procedures are required to address potential conflicts.[citation needed] The procedures are designed to ensure that companies are neither favored nor disfavored and to permit talent to be attracted to government service.[citation needed]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 "DARPA Official Biography" (pdf). DARPA. Retrieved March 23, 2012. 
  2. "TED". Retrieved February 29, 2012. 
  3. "D9 Interview". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved June 27, 2011. 
  4. "Dugan's e.g. talk". 
  5. "Tech Titans 2011," Washingtonian, April 22, 2011
  6. John Markoff. "New Force Behind Agency of Wonder". New York Times. Retrieved January 2011. 
  7. "DARPA and Picasso". Retrieved February 22, 2012. 
  8. "Open to Wild Ideas: An engineer brings ‘blue sky’ research back to DARPA". ASEE. Retrieved January 2011. 
  9. "Dr. Ashton Carter Confirmation Hearing". CSPAN. Retrieved September 2011. 
  10. "Fast Company article on Manufacturing Vehicles". Retrieved October 9, 2011. 
  11. "Deputy Secretary of Defense, William J. Lynn, III, Remarks at the Advanced Manufacturing Breakfast". U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Public Affairs. Retrieved June 24, 2011. 
  12. "Three Themes for DARPA Cyber activities". Retrieved November 7, 2011. 
  13. "DARPA Cyber Colloquium". Retrieved November 7, 2011. 
  14. "DARPA Offers up to $50,000 Prize for Shredder Challenge". DARPA. November 27, 2011. Retrieved May 13, 2012. 
  15. "DARPA’s Shredder Challenge Solved". DARPA. 2 December 2011. Retrieved May 13, 2012. 
  16. Shachtman, Noah and Ackerman, Spencer (03/07/2011). "Darpa Chief Owns Stock in Darpa Contractor". Wired magazine. Retrieved March 7, 2011. 
  17. "Wired Reporters Trash Unsung DoD Science Hero". The EE Story. Retrieved April 1, 2011. 
  18. "Military unit behind hypersonic test flight probed – CNN Security Clearance". CNN. 

External links[]

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