Story by Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Wonder and inspiration marked my first visit as Chairman to DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The folks who brought us the Internet and stealth technology are hard at work today on issues as diverse as secure communications and advanced prosthetics. They continue to amaze me. Their contributions to our force are even more crucial now.
DARPA director Arati Prabhakar and I talked about the complex environment in which we will have to fight in the future. Given the global spread of technology, we have to work harder to maintain our battlefield edge. We must focus on affordable innovation. And we must be ready, when advances in technology demand it, to embrace new ways of operating, even if they depart sharply from the familiar. This is the only way we can overcome adversaries who have adopted for themselves technologies the U.S. military pioneered in the past.
Several of DARPA’s most breathtaking recent advances have come in the field of warrior care. A team working at the interface of neurology and robotics has designed a prosthetic arm that moves naturally in response to brain signals. Allowing those who have lost a limb to move a prosthetic with their thought alone is yet another instance of DARPA making the impossible possible. I salute the work they are doing, and plan to visit again soon.