DARPA chief steps down for executive job at Google

Regina Dugan, director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, will soon leave the agency for a senior executive position at Google, Wired's Danger Room blog reported Monday.

"Regina Dugan's leadership at DARPA has been extraordinary and she will be missed throughout the department. We are all very grateful for the many contributions she has made in advancing the technologies that our war fighters depend on. She leaves for an exciting new opportunity and we wish her every success," Frank Kendall, acting undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, said in a statement.

Before being named the 19th and first female director of DARPA, Dugan served as program manager for the agency and in 1999 led a counterterrorism task force for then Deputy Secretary of Defense John Hamre. She also participated in studies for the Defense Science Board and the National Research Council, and has served on panels for the Naval Research Advisory Committee and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

During her three-year tenure as director, Dugan emphasized cybersecurity, next-generation manufacturing and crowdsourcing. While the White House has praised her efforts for their cost-effectiveness, DARPA became a source of controversy when the department's inspector general in August 2011 opened an investigation into the many contracts issued by DARPA to RedXDefense, a firm co-founded by Dugan and in which she retains a financial stake.

DARPA deputy director Kaigham Gabriel, who has been with the agency since 2009, will serve as the acting chief.

Wired speculated that Gabriel could be made director permanently, but also noted that Lisa Porter, director of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, could also be a contender for the role.