Case Study


Case Study - Systems Engineering & Technical Assistance


DARPA’s singular and enduring mission is to make pivotal investments in breakthrough technologies for national security.

The agency explicitly reaches for transformational change instead of incremental advances. To that end, DARPA has created many breakthrough technologies that have revolutionized defense, including stealth, unmanned aerial systems, and precision-guided munitions.

Many DARPA-developed technologies have had sweeping societal and economic impacts, including:

  • Portable GPS receivers,
  • New types of computer chips,
  • Voice-recognition software,
  • Interactive and personal computers, and, most famously,
  • The ARPANET and its successor, the internet.

DARPA does not respond to validated requirements, but perceived needs. Rather, DARPA works within an innovation ecosystem that includes academic, corporate, and governmental partners, with a constant focus on the Nation’s military Services, which work with DARPA to create new strategic opportunities and novel tactical options. DARPA benefits greatly from special statutory hiring authorities and alternative contracting vehicles that allow the Agency to take quick advantage of opportunities to advance its mission. These legislated capabilities have helped DARPA continue to execute its mission effectively.

DARPA’s success has been attributed to the pursuit of ambitious goals, using temporary project teams with project time limits, and remaining independent. DARPA has an unwavering commitment to Pasteur’s Quadrant pushing the frontiers of basic science to solve a well-defined, use-inspired need.

ManTech’s Approach

Since DARPA doesn’t have any laboratories of its own, it uses teams of contractors, such as ManTech, to provide scientific, engineering, and technical assistance.

ManTech provides Systems Engineering and Technical Assistance (SETA) support to DARPA through a robust team of employees and a network of +70 subcontractors to support niche and highly technical disciplines.

ManTech builds teams who instill a culture of teamwork, dedicated work ethic, attention-to-detail, flexibility, and proactivity.


ManTech’s program managers are good stewards of DARPA’s precious resources with an ethos of delivering on time as promised and within budget.

Our systems engineering processes are specifically tailored to DARPA’s disciplined risk managed approach, steeped with intelligent agile processes, and augmented by decades of lessons learned. To remain relevant, we maintain strong relationships with DARPA’s Government partners, UARCs, FFRDCs, and academia to garner their commitment through trust, common interests, and vision.

All in all, our proven track record with DARPA, coupled with our strong systems engineering expertise, ensures that DARPA’s research translates into practical technology, faster.