You probably don’t know Regina Dugan’s name, but for the past three years, she’s been director of DARPA, the military’s R&D lab. In a few weeks, she’ll be moving into an executive position at Google, becoming one of the most senior military officials to cross over to the private sector.
The news that Google is hiring another executive, which comes by way of Wired’s Noah Shactman, isn’t such a big deal, but the fact that she happens to have orchestrated one of the most innovative periods of battlefield technology might raise a few eyebrows. What in the world does Google have planned that it’s hiring military leadership? Dugan’s career in science and technology offers some clues, and based on what she told Fast Company last November, she appears to have a knack for innovating quickly. “The defense world is like a mini-society,” she said. “It has to deploy to anyplace in the world on a moment’s notice, and it has to work in a life-or-death situation. That kind of focus, that kind of drive to ship an application, really does inspire greater genius. And the constancy of funding that comes with that — in good times or bad, whether this party or that party is in power — also helps inspire innovation.”