It seems that China plans on having its very own version of DARPA.
When the Soviet Union launched Sputnik in 1957, America didn’t want to be second best. So President Eisenhower gave the go ahead signal for ARPA (Advanced Research Project Agency).
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The “D” for “Defense” was only added later on and so it became DARPA. Ever since that day, the United States has been the leading nation in the field of innovative technology.
DARPA is responsible for everything from stealth fighter planes to the Internet. However, now China wants to create its own DARPA. Furthermore, it is willing to pay the price.
China is looking forward to a novel science and technology agency that will see to the defense research and development issues. The Ministry of Defense laid it on the line.
China’s military modernism will match the innovations arising from its new plans for its very own version of DARPA, according to ScienceMag.
The development of military and civilian technologies on parallel lines will take place thanks to the Chinese DARPA. This year alone about $147 billion will get spent on defense. However, the amount that is spent on R&D remains strictly confidential.
It is a matter of speculation whether a DARPA-like agency will work in case of China. You need a certain atmosphere of inquisitive creativity and academic freedom for such research and development to flourish.
In China’s case, the state dictatorship and overall atmosphere of “Big Brother is Watching” may not be conducive to the generation of something like DARPA.
DARPA is especially known for its flexible links with businesses. This is not just big business but small-time innovative firms. All the unknown ideas flow from such sources. They are grist for the mill and add to the already abundant creativity of the agency.
You need a lot of input from ordinary citizens who will introduce a fresh breath of air in the form of ideas and technological schemes to the defense R&D scenario.
China’s governmental conservatism and paternalism may not be conducive to such an open environment of leading edge research.
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Other countries such as Japan and South Korea have launched DARPA-like agencies. China is not one of those countries that will be content to be left behind. It has full plans on following this trend which is catching on in Asia.