Broadcast 2969 Sharon Weinberger

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Guest:  Sharon Weinberger; Topics:  Sharon's new book on DARPA, "Imagineers of War," defense issues, strategies, DARPA successes and failures, and much more.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website,   Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See

We welcomed Sharon Weinberger back to the show to discuss her new book, "The Imagineers of War: The Untold Story of DARPA, the Pentagon Agency That Changed The World."  During the initial part of our one segment 1 hour 45 minute program with Sharon, our guest introduced us to the why and when DARPA was created toward the end of the Eisenhower administration.  Ms. Weinberger explained the panic due to the success of Sputnik and the perceived need to stabilize our technology.  Initially DARPA was known as ARPA and included everything related to space though when NASA was created a few years later, civil space became the domain of NASA.   It also included the internet and DOD weapons and policy programs.  Sharon spoke about some of the early systems such as the Corona spy satellite, the Score satellite system, the development of the internet and more.   She also talked about security, classification & DARPA secrecy plus timelines regarding R&D to deployment of technologies.

During our discussion with Sharon, our guest talked about multiple successful and unsuccessful projects.  Some of these were space related like the National Aerospace Plane but others were DOD related like war policy for Viet Nam while others were even more policy oriented.  Note the examples she talked about during our program as the discussion was informative and at time highly entertaining, especially as she described some of the more notable DARPA failures.  Sharon recently lectured on these subjects and her book at the Defense Acquisition University.  If you want to hear her lecture along with this Space Show discussion, check out (I believe it works best using Chrome). 

Marshall was our first caller.  He asked questions such as how many people typically worked on a project.  Don't miss how Sharon answered this question as it might surprise you.  He also asked some drone related questions and talked about the U2 among other topics.  When Marshall ended his call, I asked Sharon for the success vs. failure rate.  She said this was hard to determine so be sure to listen to what she said about this as well.   Sharon next talked about AI, talked about an embarrassing failure and how the DARPA unsuccessful work has played a role in the AI development of today.  Sharon also said that SIRI used by Apple came from these former DARPA AI programs. 

Terry from Texas called wanting to know about nuclear weapons, an EMP, and North Korea.  Don't miss what Sharon said about these respective topics, including rumors that Japan was working on a nuclear bomb when the war ended. 

I asked Sharon why she talked about Viet Nam being a period of failure for DARPA.  Sharon had much to say on this topic including the development of better war fighting strategies.  This was a major topic toward the end of the show and remained with us on and off until the program ended.  Sharon had important things to say about these strategies and finding more effective and efficient strategies for war fighting.  As part of this discussion, she suggested that advanced military technology does not guarantee success in war fighting. 

Darpa administrators were discussed and Sharon pointed out that today we only have an acting administrator.  In addition, we do not have the person identified in the Pentagon for the DARPA administrator to report to.  We talked about this absence of identified leadership, DARPA as a modern day priority agency and related topics.  Again, don't miss what Sharon had to say on these important topics.

John from Ft. Worth called to talk about some projects including the infamous people sniffer during Viet Nam,  Another listener asked about finding evidence of UFO technology or the US backed engineering of alien technology.  Don't miss Sharon's response to these questions.  I asked her about DARPA being a source of disinformation.  Sharon provided a surprising answer about disinformation re DARPA as well as DOD so again, don't miss what she had to say.  As part of this discussion, she talked about the HAARP project in Alaska.  Later, Terry sent in an email asking about DARPA attempting to develop anti-IED technology.  Adrian then sent in a few emails asking Sharon if she was familiar with Project Pigeon.  She was not but don't miss the discussion this project. 

In summarizing our discussion, Sharon talked about the need to find better and more effective war fighting ways as she did not believe that advancing military technology was the only answer.  Make sure you hear what she had to say on this subject.  

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog.  You can reach Sharon Weinberger through me or her position as editor at Foreign Policy magazine.




Ms. Weinberger's new book, The Imagineers of War: The Untold Story of DARPA, the Pentagon Agency That Changed the World

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20 Aug 2017 Sharon Weinberger
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