More cuts to DARPA budget

July 23rd, 2008

Wired reports more cuts to DARPA’s budget in Pentagon Slices and Dices DARPA Budget.

“The Pentagon’s storied research and development arm turned 50 years old this year, and its birthday present appears to be another $100 million in budget cuts, according to a Defense Department document provided to DANGER ROOM. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is having a tumultuous financial year: in June, DARPA faced a $32 million cut because it was “underexecuting”, leading the agency’s director, Tony Tether, to strike back by saying the Pentagon’s “comptroller apparently does not believe in accountability.”
   Whether those comments sparked an all-out comptroller-DARPA war is open for speculation, but the latest “reprogramming,” signed on July 11, may speak for itself. The document includes a number of Pentagon-wide cash transfers, but it hits DARPA particularly hard. Cognitive computing systems, which has previously been hit by congressional cuts, will lose another $13 million, while Network Centric Technology is sliced by $19 million. Another $18 million is being diced from biological warfare defense, and a big cut is taken out of DARPA’s Electronics Technology program, which loses $26 million. The cuts also indicate that DARPA’s high power fiber laser program has apparently been canceled.”

To put a $100M cut in context, the yearly DARPA budgets have been over $3B recently. Still, many of these cuts will be painful within specific R&D communities.