Eisenhower in response to the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik 1 a year before, its mission was to form and run ground-breaking research and development projects reaching way beyond immediate defence requirements. Even in its early stages, ARPA was playing a key role in preparing technologies such as today’s Global Positioning System (GPS), and later on, it supported the creation of the Internet. ARPA became DARPA in 1972.

The new crop protection programme appears to fit in with DARPA’s general research policy. “We created Insect Allies specifically to develop technology that can deliver positive, protective traits to plants to help them survive unanticipated and/or fast-moving agricultural threats,” the Agency recently stated. “We see it as a critical addition to the national security toolkit, part of a layered strategy to preserve the security of the food supply.”

Significance of Insect Allies contested

Referring to insect transportation of HEGAAs, DARPA maintains that this is the only viable solution, since overhead spraying would require increased spraying infrastructure, which is not available to all farmers.