Agency veterans say the prospect of becoming a funding czar is a powerful recruiting tool.
Director can come in and pull plugs
“I never really felt constrained by money,” 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.
For starters,National Science Foundation - NSF
program managers rarely get the chance to jump-start a new research program; most of the agency’s budget is already committed to ongoing projects. In addition, NSF’s mission is to support entire disciplines, so program officers can’t place too many of their chips on one bet.