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tv   The Imagineers of War  CSPAN  May 21, 2017 2:15am-3:16am EDT

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killed every drug-resistant strain we saw. all of a sudden three days after this proclamation we had a potential answer. the hard part is how do we make sure that happens? how do we make sure this drug-- like you have to save it to every other drug sale, so who wants a drug that will only be used in a couple hundred people a year? the answer is no buddy so we have to fix that. we need to look at hospitals and say where the errors happening and how do we make it better because every hospital in the country makes errors and how do we learn from it? classically our system does not go back and say what did we do right and wrong. we don't go back and say how do we do it better. you've all been in a hospital and it's not a fun place. the food is not good in their waking you up all night. do we really need a 3:00 a.m. blood pressure?
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most of the time is no, but we paid weight that patient up anyway. i think we need to redo hospitals and as you alluded to we are changing course the outpatient and that is the trend all over and i think the trend will be even greater because right now when you go to a doctor's office they draw your blood, they collect data and call you later with the results. not a efficient system. the office of the future will be prick your finger at home, send it in, check your blood pressure , you go in and do something remarkable and actually have a discussion. >> you can watch this and other programs online apple tv.org. >> here's a look at some the best-selling nonfiction books according to politics and prose bookstore in washington dc. richard rothstein's report that local, state and federal legislation has been responsible for america's a segregated cities in the color of law
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followed by sally friedman the jersey brothers with the story of two us naval men's efforts to find their get this brother listed in as missing in action. number five on the list, in doing vietnam, james writes recount of those who fought in the vietnam war. our look at the top 10 best-selling nonfiction books according to politics and prose bookstore continues with journalists look-- journalist jonathan allen behind-the-scenes look at hillary clinton's 2016 presidential candidacy-- candidate see. next, facebook chief operating officer sheryl sandberg and psychologist adam on perseverance, followed by libby chamberlain account of her facebook group that treated to a
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political movement. wrapping up our look at politics and prose of a list of best-selling nonfiction books is pulitzer prize winning author alan taylor history of the american revolution. some of these authors have or will appear on the tv. you can watch them also on our website book tv.org. we are back live for that gaithersburg book festival. sharon weinberger is about to begin. her book is: "the imagineers of war: the untold story of darpa.
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>> good afternoon. welcome to gaithersburg book festival. my name is mark korman a state legislator from district 16. gaithersburg is a city that supports the arts and humanities and we are pleased to bring the fabulous event thanks in part to the generous support of our sponsors and volunteers. when you see them i hope you will say thanks. please is silence your devices and if you're on social media today please use the #gbs. feedback is valuable and surveys are available here and on our website. by submitting a survey will be entered into a drawing for hundred dollars visa gift card and i hope you all put that in. our author will sign books immediately after this presentation and copies are on sale to your right. quick word about buying books, this is a free event, but it helps the book festival if you buy a book and the more books
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you buy the more books the festival cells in the more publishers will want to send their authors here to speak with us. purchasing books from our partners help support one of the world great independent bookstores and supports local jobs. i have a bag full over there myself. if you know this program, please buy books today. our author this afternoon is sharon weinberger in the book is: "the imagineers of war: the untold story of darpa" this is sharon's third book and also her third what i will call long form exploration of the practices of defense. she began her career as a defense analysts and became a journalist and author shifting her eye inward in which she has been working and she is now the executive editor on foreign-policy that you confine on foreign-policy.com.
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the advanced research project agency has a pretty solid reputation especially for those who know its background especially like the birth of the background, but sharon's book digs deeper exploring darpa from its birth to the present and some of its less successful work including research funded related atmospheric belt of radiation to deter nuclear weapons, counterinsurgency practices in vietnam and superhuman soldiers that could survive on bus food and sleep that's currently possible. it's a multifaceted story with a lot of fanciful failures in an agency in search of a mission, but what's the most impresses is if you get to the back of the book and look at the sources you will see when sharon wrote this history she did it without access to any of darpa's classified material, but there
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is so much inside information in this history and you will wonder how she was able to figure this out without this access. i look forward to hearing more about this book from sharon. ladies and gentlemen, please welcome sharon weinberger. >> thank you, mark. i wanted to start off by thinking the gaithersburg book festival and politics and prose which are both great venues for writers and when you spend so many years in my case over four years working on a book and people actually want to hear you talk about it, i mean, not just read the book, but here about what motivated you to work on it and your passions and interests, that's wonderful and for me the opportunity to meet readers who want to share my interest is also a special opportunity, so thank you. i'm here today to talk about darpa defense advanced research project agency and something that's more associated today with science-fiction technology.
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people who have heard about it and a lot of people have, but some think of it in connection with things like self aircraft with drones responsible for the targeted killings of places like afghanistan iraq, yemen and elsewhere. they associate it most notably with the internet which indeed traces tracked the back to darpa lineage or perhaps driverless cars which are coming into their own door to siri, the app on your iphone for voice recognition. i'm not here today to talk about so much the technology has the origins of how darpa became what it was and what i think made it at times successful and at times unsuccessful. goes back to my career writing on pentagon funded science and technology, something that has fascinated me for over a decade and one of the questions i have asked is how is science funded by the national security state and how is it different than
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that funded by civil institutions or academia or industry and why should we care about the difference. well i think that question is even more relevant today. i've given several versions of this talk over the past few months of the book came out and each time i give the talk i've been thinking more and more about what's going on today in the country and the relevancy-- relevancy of what i have examined. irish a leash chose the selection because it up is our notion of darpa is a technology agency because it looks at eight to to of darpa history in the vietnam war when they were moving beyond technology to the social sciences and behavioral sciences and the role of the pentagon of the social sciences, but i think it's especially relevant today as we see debates in the country about proposed cuts to science in this civilian institution meeting the national institute of health and at the
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same time we see a proposal to increase funding for the military and defense department. traditionally when funding for the defense department is increased funding for darpa has increased and what i propose today is what we see is not necessarily science, but similar to what happened in the cold war, shift from funding civil science to military science and rather than say it's a good or bad thing what i would challenge is to think about the implications whether good, whether bad and what that means for science in our country. i also chose the selection today which is from a chapter called to blame it on the source because it's a lot about truth of facts and manipulation of facts and most war. i think the question these chapter raises is more important than ever, so this takes us back to the vietnam war period which i argue is the most important period for darpa's development
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and its origin of almost all of the technologies today that we think about when we think about darpa meaning self aircraft and to some extent it all traces back to that time for the country and darpa. the story of blame it on the sorcerer starts in 1966 in vietnam. he is sent to prison in saigon to interview a vietcong prisoner he shows the imprisoned fighter in blocks and says to use see anything on this card that remind you of a, no, sir he replies per cow about the top part, anything there that remind you of a? no, he replied. do you think-- see anything on this ink blot that remind you of a woman's vagina, no, he replied
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in this went on for several hours and neither man was in a good mood. he was frustrated because he'd been going through these cards, to diagnose personality traits and the prisoner was unhappy. he was employed by an american firm based in cambridge, massachusetts. the company set him to vietnam in 1966 under darpa to help the pentagon understand the growing insurgency, so let's calibrate where we are 1966. at that time there's over 180,000 american troops in vietnam which is as many as were in iraq and afghanistan at the height of our wars they are. the vietcong insurgency had grown tremendously. the pentagon papers estimated about an estimated 280,000 vietcong communist fighters. this was up from what their estimates were of about 10000 in
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1962, so 10000 to 280,000 in the insurgency was rapidly growing. there was an active uprising in south vietnam which included three months of setting themselves on fire, images which were broadcast into america's living room in the us understood and officials understood american intervention in opposition to it was rising, but they did not understand why there was opposition and why there was opposition into the us backed south vietnamese-- south vietnamese regime, but they thought scientists could up them understand, so slope was one of the people that was sent to vietnam. he was using the warsaw test which was a time to help understand psychotherapist. so far at least in this happy with the vietcong fighter that ink blocks veiled to release any insights into the fighter.
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he asked the viacom fighter to go through the parts and identify something sexual. nothing. than he has the fighter to find anything that reminded him of a person. nothing again. slope seemed puzzled that an imprisoned vietcong fighter being interviewed by a man interviewed-- interviewing him about his life-- the man was elected to even touch the card. speaking of archives i found out verbatim interview of this back-and-forth in the archives at mit which goes to the question of how do you write its history and there's actually a lot declassified and also have a collection run a country, so this is what the fighter replied acquainted the interview: i don't understand these pictures, so i don't know which ones i like or dislike. slope spent seven weeks in vietnam in which time he collected data on for
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vietnamese, a french educated writer, a student activist, a senior buddhist month-- mark and that vietcong prisoner. slope found the viacom-- vietcong fighter frustrating. the monk was even more cooperative. quote you know i've never seen one in the monk replied in astonishment when the monk was asked about an ink blot that resembled a vagina. his conclusions based on the interview quote the vietcong member was less directly addressed he stared into space and his expression was flat and he never reached out where he spotted. the only time he came alive when was telling of his exploits. as soon as this past he would lapse back into lethargic apathy with the pattern i'm convinced was lifelong and not
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precipitated by imprisonment. just remind you this interview is going on in prison. slope was not interested in vietnamese politics any quiz to be spent about the parents, dreams and sex lives or lack thereof. he decided after the interviews that the problem with the vietnamese people was not the thousand years of foreign domination including french-- colonialism and contemporary american intervention, but the root of the problem was there troubled family structure. but it's back up a bit. there's a basic question here that i asked myself when i was going through these darpa files which is why the hell with the psychotherapist in vietnam and more importantly and relevance to the book what does this have to do with darpa and why did
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darpa send this person there? this goes back to the broader question i asked before what is the role of science in the pentagon as opposed to other parts whether acting or industry and most importantly what are the implications of science conducting national security and should we care and i think we do. let's back up and talk about what darpa is. it was created in 1958 in response to spot next, the soviet unions launch the first artificial satellite that created the political panic somewhat akin to the 911 attacks in 2001 meaning that represented two things at the time in 1957 when the launch took place, first that the soviet union was ahead in the space race. second and perhaps most importantly the technology to launch a satellite was linked to launching ballistic missiles, so the idea of the soviet union
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could launch a suit-- nuclear weapon attack really shatter the post world war ii area-- are. if you month later and 58 president dwight d eisenhower authorized the birth of our bed that advanced research project agency and it was at a time-- this predates the creation of nafta. on the satellite in space program would go into this agency this agency would do everything possible, throw bureaucracy to the wind. darpa did this quite successfully and under a year acre eventually to what it is today, which is a 3 billion-dollar a year agency. it still bears summing the traits in its early days with a lack of drucker's inability to move quickly to find new projects. unlike the national science foundation it doesn't need peer-reviewed.
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it can move quickly. it doesn't have permanent employees. it has the ability unlike other parts of government to fail and hopefully to succeed as well. if the originator of sony technologies that have changed that a build of our daily lives including drones, weapons, driverless cars and you could argue and i think i agree that it's the most successful research agency ever created at least the most successful military research agency. it doesn't mean it doesn't have flaws and in writing a book about darpa i wasn't trying to count out how me projects succeed or fail, but have the agency got to where was and i think the presumption in a lot of darpa's history is that it
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goes back to the space race, but the truth is darpa was only a space agency for about a year and a half before nasa was created and then the military put that-- took back its other space program. what i look at is what i think is the seminal period of darpa's experience and what made it what it is today which his involvement in vietnam and i came to the conclusion everything important we associate with darpa comes out of vietnam and more critically to the extent that how we prosecute our wars today with drones, self, computers is cosgrove and specifically darpa's experience in vietnam, our most failed war effort, so if you think about the way we wage our wars it should give us pause, but also goes the title of this book the "the imagineers of war" because that's what "the imagineers of war" was at its height.
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thinking about how do we fight our wars today, how will we fight them tomorrow and how do we come up with solutions. it did not always work, but sometimes it did, so let's return for a minute to our psychotherapist in the vietnam. what was going on. his presence may sound ludicrous today, but it's part of a broader effort at the time to study the roots of insurgency from a scientific vantage point. pentagon officials were not all stupid and realized the war in vietnam was not going well they also realized that bombs alone could not solve that. they turn to researchers rather than physicists or engineer they thought maybe scientists can help us understand. darpa got involved in this because it was about to be shut down.
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in 1959, 1960 it had lost its space work. but, they had a rather creative individual, a legendary intelligence operative and go dell was the original dimension are of war and said i think a nuclear confrontation with the soviet union however terrible is unlikely and what's more likely is the type of wars we will fight will be in places like southeast asia, so in 1961 bill good dell the deputy director got permission from president kennedy for a test senator in vietnam. they did everything from silent aircraft to chemical the affiliation and started sending anthropologists and social scientists. in 1961 darpa was assigned by a pentagon and to run this program
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they hired a man named jc are lip wider. linklater went on to be that god father of the modern internet. in the queue or behavioral scientists what was going on which was the 1960s dharma was being flooded by independent researchers at suggesting ways to help scientist understand why creasing number of the enemies and which were siding with viet cong rather than us forces. my favorite solution that i found in archives was dated august, 1965 from general electric writing to darpa suggesting their company be given a continuing open-ended contract to apply its experience and technology to counterinsurgency of vietnam.
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its first proposal was from what it called the mass polygraph and that concept was like modern witch dunking. the letter said consider the following scenario: a high-security central government anti- terror police contingent arrived by helicopter at a village. the villagers are assembled by their local chief so each village can see each other. it measures the heartbeat of all villagers simultaneously. imagine you are all hooked up to this mass polygraph lie detector so then the suspected member of the vietcong would be called up before the assembled villagers and the machine would record a response. in alleviating the fear any villager was the informant. the process can be repeated as
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much as possible this gives you a sense that by early 1966 these programs and behavioral sciences were a mess and the vietnam work was a strange mix of technology with a smattering of social sciences in the pelvic-- the pentagon realize this, so they bring in a problem solver, a really smart guy, young aeronautical engineer. he was emerging member of the technocratic elite, very interested in operation research or the idea of applying mathematical principles to decide large-scale organizational challenges. he was an aeronautical engineer and fascinated by the social science. more importantly, he believed he could harbor the social sciences
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meaning apply engineering to it and he believed people could be studied in their actions predicted the way engineers-- he came in and looked at the program and said there are no numbers here, no science. darpa had a prostitute on staff because she spoke five languages in vietnam. they had the portly nuclear war theorist and one report for darpa proposed building a moat around saigon. his anti- infiltration moat became so widely derided by the press that someone jokingly suggested they did, to work on it. they were also sort of a well-known brand study called the motivation and morale study. he took one look at it and said you are telling the air force what it wants to hear which is that the bombing is not working.
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you began to cut off a lot of funding for these things he was pretty convinced were just telling the pentagon when it went to hear. the pentagon disapproved. so, the solution he thought he came up with was a company in cambridge. it was very well respected and well-known in the company rose to fame in the election john f. kennedy by predicting on a state-by-state basis results of an accuracy by 80%. harpers magazine had called its work on a people machine human behavior and a well-known professor called if the a-bomb of social sciences comparing it to the development of the atomic weapon. he really thought they could solve the problem. it seem like a perfect solution
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and in fact it was to be darpa's biggest disaster in vietnam. these academics began showing up in 1966 and one of the first studies was the michael sloped psychotherapy study and we can laugh at the study and in fact some people did. there was a darpa official on the ground who wrote in a memo i find the slope report so deficient and it is to impair my belief in its findings. on the other hand a well-known pentagon scientist wrote the opposite right about the idea of such interviews and execution of brilliant. the men interviewed our respective leaders of group calling it a fascinating paper. in fact over the course of its time in vietnam they conducted several studies and i like to say the psycho stare-- psychotherapy study was the nuttiest, but it wasn't. and boston college professor was look at psychological weapons in vietnam and under his guidance they ran a study testing weapons
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including things like american-style chain letter spread of vietnamese hand with tricking vietcong into rallying. they found it strange and believed it was a trick. also thought to use the enemies space in the prophecy of holy men by publishing and distributing copies of a book with prophecies of vietcong defeat. by unfortunate coincidence these books were distributed as an event started that the prophecy did not see. mode-- most of the projects had sorcerers' wayne them against the vietcong. it wrote quote this sorcerers did not say what they were
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supposed to say" fail for lack of control over the chosen sorcerers. darpa officials were not that happy. there were-- you know, die each men thought this was the solution and realized it wasn't working and he looked into end of the contract. he was certainly a very ominous scientists and realizing that experiment had failed. in its book years later he said it held for administrative reasons and in that it official declassified section i found over 400 memos detailing failure of fraud and incompetence. in one memo he wrote i ain't having any. i view this as an affront to darpa. in what was clearly not follow through with since i found this memo over 40 years later in the archives he asked these two
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quote bring this after reading. in 2012, 2013 as i was working on this book i was interviewing seymour dyce men and he was in the process of updating his memoir and in 1978 he wrote a wonderful book called best late schemes talked about the fell year of pentagon science in vietnam and he was suddenly being contacted by all of these pentagon officials interested in doing social science work in iraq and afghanistan and found we had done this work in vietnam. so, he had been asked to update the book and i was interviewing him and having an ongoing conversation because part of my work on that darpa work was looking at revised social science work that darpa and the pentagon were fighting in afghanistan and iraq. one know the people i was interviewing and how it ended up
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in the archives was i was interviewing a mit professor funded by darpa who was looking at not a people machine, but what he called social physics or human behavior and it was sort of like decades later we are doing the same thing. in vietnam it was called a people machine in this mit professor called a confrontational counterinsurgency. mit and doing interviews with these professors i stumbled across these archives. i was struck by these comparisons. i asked seymour dutchman about the failure selma maddox because in his book is a developers administrative reasons and i think he was the type of guy that did not like to talk that personality, but wanted to concentrate on what he viewed as the valley are of the overall effort akin to a nuance conclusion saying social research on questions on the
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uncertainty principle appears to operate the facts, means a measurement affecting change and all the participants even if they begin supporting the government view the researchers will afoot-- illicit fax to understand the government approached differently. the population affected by the government program and subject of the research will become sensitized by the issue. in the week or so after i went to mit to look at the archives i started getting e-mails from him and he was 89, dying of heart failure and hispano work west to update his own memoir, so he was sending me random notes from his private vietnam, and one of the final e-mails i got from him said how his temple in the message line and it read one weekend day that general and i decided to take time off and
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visit a temple on the outskirts of saigon. we got to a temple and inside spotted a vietnamese fortuneteller. the general decided to have his fortune told in the fortunes applies and told him he would be appointed to a important position which was true because he just got his first start and he said the general was expecting a great event which was also true because he was about to see his family for the first time in months of and the fortuneteller said as for the reason you're here in vietnam it will be like scissors cutting water. what out marvelous simile i thought at the time, but i did not believe him, not then. how right he was. the month after site ruby that e-mail he died. he was 90 years old. he just finished updating his memoirs. thank you.
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i don't know how much time we have left, but i welcome any questions. is her microphone? okay. >> was the mass lie detector ever built? i can think of a lot of uses for it today. >> no. ilm and a lot of failures in the book, but darpa failed a lot and did so many things right and one of the whole wrote things they did, it was getting pressure at the time from the pentagon to look into polygraphs and so this file i found was their correspondence looking at what was available and actually darpa turned down that proposal and others writing a memo that said none of these things work and, i mean, a lot of history with darpa's good advice being ignored.
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they said don't to the polygraph and we should study psychological issues in vietnam, how to interrogate better not sort of hope people up. so these were not stupid people. another amazing thing coming the national archives-- let me give it a plug the best use of government taxpayer money ever. darpa also the time looked at improvising explosive devices which we know the word now and they commissioned a report that said don't spend a lot of money countering these devices as a black hole. there's no good way to do it and you need to stop the underlying conflict. that report was sitting in the archives from the early 1970s and years later we have spent billions on an organization to counter these roadside bombs, soy a lot of good advice just
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gets ignored. any other questions? [inaudible] >> the origins are fascinating and i don't want to get into it here, but since we have time i will. there are two myths about arpanet college became the internet and there is truth in both of them, so story number one is it was a command and control communication system in case of nuclear armageddon. that is false although there are elements of truth and the second sort of myth story is that it had nothing to do with nuclear war. it had to do was simply academics wanting computers around the country and that's also not true working reality like a lot of things it's very
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complex trick the pentagon had given to assignments to darpa in the early 1960s, one was behavioral science assignment i spoke about, which was to look at everything, brainwashing that i did that communists were brainwashing prisoners of war which a big concern at the time, so this encompassed all of that. social science, propaganda, brainwashing was one assignment in the second assignment was command-and-control, so i spoke to the pentagon official, harold brown who became secretary of defense and said what were you thinking when you gave darpa this command and control assignment and he said i wanted better command and control of. they had these two assignments that were sort of different, i mean, really quite different, but hired this a psychologist who specialized with an interest in computer to come into darpa.
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he had worked on air defense computers after world war ii which basically computers used to be these ecstatic creatures that lived in laboratories and you would walk in, putting a punch card and it would spit out an answer. it had consuls for the first time with operators in the computers help the operator's trap the of soviet bombers. the idea use it in front of a computer and use a device to interact with a computer and you have multiple people doing it at the same time was quite revolutionary. so he took his experiment and came into darpa and he said he really wasn't that interested in the social science. is interested in computers, so he spoke at his funding on this idea of personal computing and network computing. we had this meeting at a marriott hotel by the pentagon
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to show people what the future of computers would be like knowing someday you'd be able to access recipes on a computer and people like were who would want to do that. [laughter] >> there were so it is going on at the time. there was the cuban missile crisis. code do you control your forces? how do you have information? so he was aware of all this, but he had this vision and he said yes, command-and-control of nuclear weapons is important, but i want to change the way people operate with machines. computers will become an extension of our thought process. the very idea of i don't remember that restaurant name i will google it, the weight google and computer extends our thought process he foresaw in some of his writings back then and he just pushed it forward. so, no arpanet was not a nuclear
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command-and-control system, but the thinking behind it did have to do with nuclear weapons and that cuban missile crisis and the fact they hired a psychologist had to do with concerns about brainwashing so these factors come together, but what made darpa so important in this role was this idea of the imagine years of war that it was hiring people given broad assignments by the pentagon and hiring people with these visions that i will change the entire way people interact with machines and out of the ads and out of the ads and that of the vietnam war period when the agency was sort of a lot to do anything and everything grew arpanet and the internet. the downside of that and what i have tried to bring out in my book is that the price of success is failure in the price of important success like arpanet and that internet is important failures like counter
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insurgent agents, so this era of darpa when they could turn entire countries like vietnam and thailand into human laboratories sort of a darpa project they would like to not talk about so much today, but the idea of let's just see what chemical affiliation does, so you have tremendous successes like arpanet and then you have tremendous failures like their counterinsurgency program or agent orange, so back to the question i pose at the beginning, people can have personal opinions about whether military funded science is good or bad. i have opinions on the, but what i would rather focus on and the implications are that military funded science has been very successful in some areas like computers and artificial intelligence in the arpanet, but
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the price are also important failures like to counterinsurgency which grew to be worldwide. darpa opened offices in toronto, iran, panama and were going to open up an office in north africa. at one point there was a proposal for counterinsurgency experiments in the us. it was global in its ambition. and looking at the legacy of darpa and its successes you also have to take talented failures. we have a microphone. >> what is the current budget of darpa? how many employees doesn't have and where are its headquarters? >> darpa today has a budget of about 3 billion. it goes up and down hand has usually been tied to the overall
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defense budget and over the past 16 years it's been going up and up and up, so about $3 billion a year and you could say only about 10% of the nasa budget, but it is all discretionary, so nasa has projects it has to fulfill an darpa can move funding around, so that 3 billion is very powerful. it has about a hundred and 40 program managers and one of the other myths that i don't talk about so much is these employees are all temporary. technical personnel which is true they come in for two to five years, but there is sort of the dirty secret of darpa is that they increasingly have contract personnel that stay on for decades, so it's not like they only have a hundred and 40 people they also this army of contractors who they have on for a long time. everyone sort of knows that maybe this isn't the best thing and he said when he was dire but director he tried to get account
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of how may contract personnel we had and no one could get me the number. was the other part of that question? >> headquarters. >> virginia. when it was created in 1958, it was in that prestige ring of the pentagon and that was the whole idea. it was nothing in 1958. newspaper headlines and allegedly was a direct line to the secretary of defense or even president eisenhower and over the years it has been pushed further and further out of the pentagon, so it was actually in 1967 that darpa officially lost its offices in the pentagon and started its retreat into northern virginia. i believe first in the architect building on wilson boulevard and basically it's moved four times and each time it's further away from the pentagon with-- it
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matters because a reflection of where darpa has gone. it has enjoyed this tremendous reputation as this engine of innovation and a model we should follow, but it's becoming increasingly removed from the pentagon's leadership, so during the vietnam war they were being called in front of congress to ask for their opinion on the war and talk about their programs. i have gone to a lot of the darpa hearings manual event and it's so marginal and so marginal to the things going on in the wars we fight today and darpa tries to argue that is a good thing. where the agency that thinks about the future. that's how they see themselves today, but that was not the darpa of 1958 when they got america into space in less than a year. they developed a detection system that allowed president
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kennedy to enter the arms control. even the arpanet, it wasn't science fiction, i mean, it was laying the groundwork quickly, so i worry sometimes that darpa, i mean, some of the crazy projects it was going to create killer electrons by launching nuclear weapons into the atmosphere to create a shield that would fry nuclear weapons, basically a piece of shield, so it had its share of crazy secrets. there were wild ideas. it was always part of darpa's heritage, but in some ways i think the wild ideas are now sort of more prevalent in what darpa sees itself as doing, i mean, driverless cars which started in the mid- to thousands had decades of research that darpa funded. that's tremendous.
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i don't know quite what it does for the military, but for science it's a tremendous excess-- success. when i asked darpa officials when they challenge me, they argue with me about today. these are dedicated people coming they give up their academic careers, but that doesn't mean you can't be skeptical or critical and my problem with darpa today is an darpa, it's that the pentagon is not giving it big enough challenges to challenge. it's not a math-- asking it how to solve war it's asking it to do things on the margin. when you look at the wars we have been fighting an part of them is that war particularly the past 16 years is not something we can sort of evolved our way out of woodside said technology. it's a human problem, but at the same time that's something darpa
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once did. i'm not advocated they should necessarily do that again, but it's such a tremendous resource for the country and to say we are just going to give it small problems to work on, what a disappointment. i think it should work on big problems, bubut the question is are you willing to allow it to have the next successes and are you willing to live with the big failures and that's a question for the white house as for the pentagon and i don't know what the answer to that is. it's quite interesting that the current administration that we know is sort of focused on other issues and there's an acting director of darpa right now. darpa has always been more than its director. ..
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transactional data all in one database and use pattern analysis to detect terrorist plots before they happen. a new york times op-ed called this an orwellian big brother situation. in some respects it was. the counterargument is it was just a research program. congress canceled the program. got moved to the national security agency and became classified. in 2003, maybe we won't allow darpa to have big failures. i am not defending that program
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but if you want darpa to have big successes you have to risk big failures and it doesn't have that mission, doesn't have that leeway. to the current administration, the interesting thing about darpa, the director wasn't a scientist. the person who said the stage was actually a vp at general electric who was brought in, ray johnson, the only sort of non-technical person ever to lead darpa but it was he who started the saturn rocket program which went to nasa and took the apollo missions to the moon. he had some very good ideas. it is hard to guess will they appoint a new darpa director and who makes a good darpa director? the ones who have been good, roy
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johnson, the first one was powerful in creating agency, and the mess of vietnam, hard to guess what makes a good darpa director, someone with a broader vision, beyond science and technology, i will think about the problems of warfare and how we solve that warfare. >> the big project, has darpa anticipated the russian hacking and misinformation campaigns all over the world. >> i don't think darpa anticipated it, the irony is that the internet, the creation of darpa has led to this new way
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of warfare. it is part of the problem. that should be a program. that should be a problem darpa could tackle, something of that scale. i am sure darpa has little programs on the side but thinking of this as a major threat i don't see darpa doing that today. to tackle problems that are really changing warfare like that. is it connected -- [inaudible question] >> i think the national security agency, the malware we read so much about, the national security agency gets a lot of credit for that. is there one more quick question? >> why did the united states not use atomic weapons in vietnam?
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>> it was considered. a darpa funded group looked at that question there were reasons that would be disastrous, we were not trying to win hearts and minds. officials were confused, we are trying to help this government and people hate us. dropping tactical nuclear weapons were looks at, they were not going to be militarily effective and would have been even worse for the war. thank you for coming. i love questions, thank you. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> you just heard from sharon weinberger on the pentagon agency darpa. in a few minutes we will be back with more from the gaithersburg book festival. [train horn] >> books being published this week.
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look for these titles in bookstores this week and many authors in the future on booktv@c-span2. >> a great sense of humor, a lot
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of jokes and stories, so much humor. he usually used it to make a bigger point. and to put people at ease. and pretty nervous. and often use humor. and stories make a significant point. we need to realize humor is an important component. i don't say by a joke book or anything. you can take the role seriously, without taking yourself too seriously. ronald reagan was excellent at using self-deprecating humor making himself the butt of the joke. didn't take himself too seriously and that allowed people around him to relax and of people around him were relaxed they were in their best
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work out. i was not terrified the guillotine was going to fall working for this man. he surrounded us with such an era of acceptance and appreciation and sense of humor about things because not everything went perfectly. sometimes things went wrong. when you were part of that regardless how hard you tried to make everything perfect things didn't go as planned. he was always gracious to roll with that, to have a sense of humor. as someone who worked for a man like that you were not afraid to try something new, put yourself out a little bit, take a chance. you know he has your back. whether it was presidents before him or presidents that had come after him. what? he also had great respect for women. he talks about his mother is the
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most important person in his early life. so much was written about his relationship with mrs. reagan and the respect they had for each other. mother teresa came to visit the office and this little tiny woman he recognized as being a giant on the world stage, had amazing respect for her, being the first president to put a woman on the supreme court with the appointment of sandra day o'connor, very proud of. he respected their role, many years ago that wasn't one of our big issues but it was important to him to show respect. as a young woman working for him i felt his utmost respect toward me and his appreciation for the value that i have. he was a man of incredible patriotism and that is something you would expect from a president but having been behind the scenes with him that was not something he did when the cameras were rolling.
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this man was patriotic to the core. how many times do you think he heard the star-spangled banner, the national anthem, or any of these other songs being played. we have guests come to the office, they would perform for him and thing for him or play music for him, you can imagine if you're playing for the president what will you probably perform? probably patriotic music. here is this man who has heard these songs 1000 times before but i would watch him and as the song would start you see him tapping his toe in time, singing along every word to every word versus i didn't know it existed. he knew every word. he would stand up at attention out of respect, put his hand over his heart, there were certain songs that were so beautifully performed, he would look over and see tears misting up in his eyes. man who

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