“There is not and should not be a singular answer on ‘what is DARPA’—and if someone tells you that [there is], they don’t understand DARPA” - Richard Van Atta
It’s important to lay the changes out and discuss whether or not they affected the change in DARPA’s outlier output. Interestingly The majority of changes in the ARPA model over time have involved adding more explicit process.
The biggest change happened when ARPA became DARPA in 1972 because of the increased scrutiny on military spending both in the government and outside of it. Which raises the question Was the shift from ARPA to DARPA a focus change or a process change?
It’s tempting to throw out anything introduced since 1972 unless it was a codification of a previously implicit rule. For the most part, it is a good idea to Pay attention to DARPA’s informal process and ignore formal process. However, the world has changed since 1972 (WTF happened in 1971? - Article) so it’s worth considering whether some adjustments were made to enable DARPA to more effectively operate in the world.