Calling on DARPA

The Defense Department’s “Third Offset” strategy is increasing the services’ interest in DARPA’S research on countering near-peer technologies, Director Arati Prabhakar said Wednesday. When she became head of DARPA in 2012, Prabhakar said the agency had programs studying near-peer threats, but the Pentagon was very focused on the ground wars and counterinsurgency. At that time, she said, it was “very hard to find the bandwidth in the services, the management attention, to really focus on pulling those kinds of more near-peer focused technologies … out of research and moving them forward.” Since then, she said, there’s been a “sea change” in the services’ focus on new capabilities. She noted the Navy was initially skeptical of DARPA’s development of the Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel, but started paying attention as the unmanned ship materialized and the service started thinking about the next-generation capabilities it will need. “I think, you know, now you see a very strong partnership and I think a lot of excitement about what could be possible,” she said.