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  ARPA

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Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA)

In 1958, Eisenhower obtained congressional funding to create the Advanced Research Projects Agency as part of the Pentagon, with a planned budget of two billion dollars, in response to the Soviet launch of Sputnik and Sputnik II.

ARPA's mission was to explore advanced military science, particularly nuclear and ballistic missiles, without getting bogged down by competition between the armed services. By the end of that January, America had entered the space race, with the successful launch of the satellite Explorer. But the U.S. government was far from winning the public image war, the inevitable extension of the cold war. Congress established the civilian National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to work exclusively on the problem of space travel, getting the lionís share of ARPAís intended budget. The secretive military agency's budget was left at $150 million. That money was later well spent, not simply for military purposes, but for technology that could facilitate the betterment of the nation and the world, thanks in large part to J. C. R. Licklider.

Jack Ruina, the first scientist to head ARPA, hired Lick in 1962 to lead the Command and Control Research Division, which entailed constructing battle planning missions (in other words, war games). Lick instead built his Intergalactic Network with a vision of interactive computing, transforming his division into the Information Processing Techniques Office, which went on to fund the ARPAnet.

In 1972 ARPA was renamed the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

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