O.K., really that headline is a bit misleading. We have no idea what the now-former DARPA head has been hired to do at Google, and the department would only tell us the scripted:
“Regina is a technical pioneer who brought the future of technology to the military during her time at DARPA. She will be a real asset to Google and we are thrilled she is joining the team.”
Besides pulling off designer jeans, Wired profiled her other qualifications:
Dugan’s emphasis on cybersecurity and next-generation manufacturing earned her strong support from the White House, winning her praise from the President and maintaining the agency’s budget even during a period of relative austerity at the Pentagon. Her push into crowdsourcing and outreach to the hacker community were eye-openers in the often-closed world of military R&D. Dugan also won over some military commanders by diverting some of her research cash from long-term, blue-sky projects to immediate battlefield concerns.
“There is a time and a place for daydreaming. But it is not at Darpa,” she told a congressional panel in March 2011 (.pdf). “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.
You will recall that Google’s Driverless cars were born from the DARPA Grand Challenge, so perhaps we will see her join the ranks of Google’s X team. The videos below of Dugan talking feature her deep knowledge on the type of cyber-hacking that Google has accused China of in the past.
- DARPA Director Regina Dugan Leaves Defense Department For Google (techcrunch.com)
- DARPA’s Regina Dugan Will Join Google (allthingsd.com)
- DARPA director exits agency for Google, assumes mysterious role (engadget.com)
- Exclusive: Darpa Director Bolts Pentagon for Google (wired.com)
- Darpa Director Bolts Pentagon for Google [Google] (gizmodo.com)