From What makes DARPA tick:
“I never really felt constrained by money,” (former DARPA director) Tether says. “I was more constrained by ideas.” In fact, aerospace engineer Verne (Larry) Lynn, DARPA’s director from 1995 to 1998, says he successfully lobbied Congress to shrink his budget after the Clinton administration had boosted it to “dangerous levels” to finance a short-lived technology reinvestment program. “When an organization becomes bigger, it becomes more bureaucratic,” Lynn told an interviewer in 2006.
Let’s also just take a moment to stand in awe of this 😮
Both the explicit desire to avoid bureaucracy and the low marginal benefit of money and people is another reason why DARPA is relatively tiny and flat is important.
Why is this?
VC firms experience a similar effect - they tend to have lower percent returns as funds get bigger even though they are in the business of scaling things.
Presumably DARPA also has a lower bound on effective funding. What might that be?
This situation is related to the question. It suggests that if the answer is ‘yes’ that threshold is not enormous. might be “no, you just haven’t digested the problem well enough.”