| Regina Dugan |
Regina E. Dugan is CEO of the "risk-tolerant innovation organisation" in bioengineering, the Wellcome Leap. Before that, she was director of the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Previously, she had a stint in the DARPA-connected corporate sector, at Google, where she led and created the Advanced Technology and Projects department, and at Facebook where she led a project called 'Building 8'.
Dugan began working for DARPA in 1996. Over the next 4 years, she led numerous multimillion-dollar research programs. The research project she prefers to talk about is known as the 'Dog's Nose,' and involved the development of an advanced portable system that could detect the explosive content of landmines. Her other portfolio of projects ranged from hypersonics to RNA-based vaccines.
In 1999, she was awarded 'Manager of the Year' for her work at DARPA and in 2000, she was honored with the Bronze de Fleury Medal by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. She has also received awards from the United States Secretary of Defense; specifically, the Awards for Exceptional Service and Outstanding Achievement.
Dugan left DARPA in 2000 to become a special advisor for the Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army. Her work included a study titled 'Quick Reaction Study on Countermine,' which was implemented in the invasion and occupation of Iraq from 2003 onwards. Dugan also took positions on the Naval Research Advisory Committee, Threat Reduction Agency and Technology panel.
Google and Facebook
After leaving DARPA in March 2012, she was appointed to an executive position at Google. Here, she led and created Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) at Motorola Mobility, a subsidiary of Google. In January 2014, it was announced that Motorola Mobility would be acquired by Lenovo. Dugan and her team were retained by Google.
She later moved to Facebook, joining a research division called Building 8, which stated it designed "hardware products that are social first. To do so at scale. And to power this with a breakthrough innovation engine modeled after DARPA." Not just Google, but also Facebook has long ties to DARPA: When Facebook was launched in 2004, DARPA scrapped its LifeLog project.
One of the projects, later closed was the Portal Smart Camera, with obvious military/intelligence applicability: “Whether you’re moving around the kitchen or chasing the kids through the living room, Portal’s Smart Camera adjusts to follow the action,”
Back to DARPA
From July 2009 to March 2012, Dugan served as the 19th Director of DARPA and was the first woman to lead the Agency. As Director, she advanced strategic initiatives in the fields of cybersecurity, social media, and advanced manufacturing. She also led an active operational deployment in direct support of the war in Afghanistan for which the Agency was awarded the Joint Meritorious Unit Award.
In May 2020 she moved out of the formal government section again, and became CEO of Wellcome Leap, an organisation founded by Wellcome Trust "to accelerate innovations", and to "undertake bold, unconventional programmes and fund them at scale." These programmes will target complex human health challenges with the goal of achieving breakthrough scientific and technological solutions within a decade.
Given that her previous stint in the private sector involved companies that have close ties to the military/intelligence sector, it is likely that the Wellcome Leap is run along similar lines.Indeed, as the Wellcome Leap points out, it "is a DARPA for global health", and it barely hides its military mindset with its 'Special Forces' team to create breakthroughs.
In an interesting choice of words, she proclaimed "The global pandemic is our generation’s Sputnik. It is calling on us to respond urgently – now – and also to create new capabilities for the future". Sputnik was the Soviet space effort, and the Leap doesn't mean Sputnik in a positive sense, as mankind's common leap into space, but as something that needs a huge U.S. military counter-investment.
In 2014, she became a board member of the online game company Zynga Inc, with brands on Facebook such as Zynga Poker, Farmville etc. Whether this board position is a reward in the military-industrial revolving door, or has military/intelligence purpose, is not known.
Event Participated in
|Bilderberg/2015||11 June 2015||14 June 2015||Austria|