The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is an agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the development of emerging technologies for use by the military. Founded in 1958 in response to the Soviet launching of Sputnik, DARPA’s primary role is to maintain the technological superiority of the U.S. military and prevent technological surprise from harming national security by sponsoring revolutionary, high-payoff research bridging the gap between fundamental discoveries and their military use. DARPA is known for funding ambitious research projects that lead to significant breakthroughs in areas ranging from the internet and GPS to autonomous vehicles and aircraft systems. The agency operates with a small but flexible bureaucracy and empowers managers to take risks and innovate.