Pentagon, Through DARPA, Will Pay You To Weaponize Your Home

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Pentagon, Through DARPA, Will Pay You To Weaponize Your Home

The Department of Defense is challenging hobbyists around the country to develop commercially available technology into something of a weapon hoping that it will help them protect members of the U.S. Military.

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DARPA thinks out of the box

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is called on by the Department of Defense when out-of-the-box thinking is required. While DARPA does good work on its own, the Agency is hoping that by calling on hobbyists to weaponize household object it will get ideas that it had overlooked.

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“Use of components, products, and systems from non-military technical specialties (e.g., transportation, construction, maritime, and communications) is of particular interest,” according to a DARPA post explaining what it wants from U.S. citizens. It’s hoped that a number of people will supply ideas that could potentially be used by less traditional forces (terrorists) against U.S. forces and our allies. Now clearly, DARPA doesn’t want a bunch of new weapons being created but ideas that others have that the agency may have overlooked.

While the United States military remains one of the strongest in the world, it’s struggled with “over the counter” technologies being used against it. IEDs and roadside bombs created by enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan worked with devastating effect and caused the majority of casualties in both conflicts. A pressure cooker bomb was put together by two “kids” in order to attack the Boston Marathon. Cell phone detonators, cheap drones being weaponized and other fairly rudimentary devices could potentially be used against the military and DARPA wants your help.

There is no more lining up against your adversary at a predetermined battlefield

“For decades, U.S. national security was ensured in large part by a simple advantage: a near-monopoly on access to the most advanced technologies,” DARPA said in announcing Project Improv in a press release.

While DARPA is hoping for ideas, its lawyers clearly instructed the agency to tell potential biologists, coders, and others to develop ideas that work “within the bounds of local, state, and federal laws and regulations.” While that’s expected in a litigious society, it’s also easier said than done.

DARPA wants individuals and companies to submit ideas and allow DARPA to give the thumbs-up or thumbs-down. Ideas that DARPA likes will move forward from here and offer $40,000 per submission once in the contest part of the competition. Submissions that make this cut will see the money but also a two-week deadline to build a prototype with the potential for those going forward to receive an additional $70,000.

If after that, DARPA believes the prototype works and sends it forward for evaluations, those chosen will receive another $20,000 and likely a non-disclosure agreement to sign.

DARPA history

The agency (founded as ARPA) was created by Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958 as a direct result of the Soviet launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957. The agency is based in Arlington, Virginia and has just under 250 employees working with a budget of around $3 billion. The agency is, of course, closely tied to the military but operates independently of the Armed Forces and answers directly to the Department of Defense management.

While DARPA’s early life mostly concentrated on the Soviet nuclear and space threat, there is little that the group won’t work at including staring at Goats in an attempt to make them explode. The group has achieved a number of military and non-military technologies over its nearly 60 year history.

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While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala. <i>To contact Brendan or give him an exclusive, please contact him at theflask@gmail.com</i>
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4 COMMENTS

  1. This is an astonishingly good idea. My home is in a rural location, and has been rather well “weaponized” for many years with off-the-shelf technology, some of it hand-fabricated in the basement (why not? a hacker has to hack, no? Mostly just camaras and proximity monitors. The Norinco .45 is just “comfort-food”.). The issue that DARPA is addressing is really crazy important. Warfare has always been about economics. The Romans collapsed when they could no longer fund their army. Germany and Japan failed badly in WW2, when they could not produce equipment. Once the USA entered the war, it was “Rosie the Riveter” and the Boeing bomber production-line that finished the Axis, not just brave soldiers, sailors and airmen at D-Day. There will always be soldiers, as young men like to fight. It is hard-wired in their DNA. What its often lacking, is money and equipment. He who most effectively deploys the ability to neutralize – quickly – a lethal opponent, will dominate this little blue planet. DARPA was the push behind the internet (I am actually old enough to remember ARPAnet, and the magic of connecting DecSystem 20’s, PDP-11’s and such together so they could seamlessly communicate and pass files back and forth. Listen: I just bought a Huawei cellphone, with Android 5.1.1, and installed an FTP server on it, and moved a bunch of photos from my Windows P/C to the phone. This is the old DARPA-net technology, right down to the IP number that I used for linking the cellphone to my home LAN. DARPA did a very, very good thing, with its “No central boss” idea for the “internet”. The idea was to make the network military-grade hard, so that if a central site was destroyed (ie. a city, by a nuke), the network could function effectively, peer-to-peer. This was a bloody good idea. Remember: Before the ethernet/internet idea, there was an IBM product, called “Token Ring” networking. Just *Awful*. Token-Ring needed a boss-machine device, to run the flying “token”. Interent/ethernet does not. IBM also used “channels” in their computers. Also an awful idea, as the channel was like an abnoxious secretary who protects her boss from hearing useful information from the employees. See, we take these mind models from our own lives, and put them in our machines. We need better models, with more creative solutions. We need to be careful, because the successful person or country always has enemies. (It is easier to steal wealth, than create it.). So, we bloody well better outthink and outkill the jihadists and the other middle-east god-believers, as they, sadly, are a hideous, horrific cancer that will consume and destroy our planet if they are not completely checkmated. Science must defeat – utterly – all religious superstition. Get thinking, everybody. Our future may depend on your creative solution. And good on DARPA for creating this kind of contest.

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