DARPA Gets First Woman Chief

Regina Dugan, a mechanical engineer with a background in explosives detection, has become the first woman to lead the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Dugan, who was named today, succeeds Tony Tether, who left the agency in February after 8 years on the job.

This will be Dugan's second tour of duty at the agency, which spends $3.2 billion a year on development of technologies to boost the country's military might. A California Institute of Technology doctorate, Dugan served as a DARPA program manager from 1996–2000, earning praise for her stewardship of a program that produced a field-portable system for land mine detection. In 2005, she co-founded a company, RedXDefense, LLC, that specializes in technologies for countering explosive threats.

Dugan's appointment puts two of the country's most important technology development agencies under the charge of women. The other is Lisa Porter, director of the newly formed Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA).