DARPA's budget haircut only a light trim

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) $2.8 billion budget would drop only $1.4 million under the Obama administration's fiscal 2013 budget — less than a half-percentage point drop and much less than other parts of the Defense Department, Noah Shachtman reports in Wired's Danger Room.

Regina Dugan, DARPA's director, has steered the agency toward Obama administration priorities such as cybersecurity and next-generation manufacturing and also won over some military commanders by diverting research cash from long-term projects to immediate, battlefield concerns. DARPA also plans new programs to make computing clouds secure enough for the Defense Department, the article adds.

Dugan also plans to streamline the number of projects the agency pursues; in fiscal 2011, DARPA oversaw 230 separate R&D programs. For 2013, that figure would drop by more than a quarter, to 169, the article says, adding that instead the agency plans to spend $50 million to push the envelope on hypersonics, the ability to race through the air at five times the speed of sound or more.

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