Darpa is often described as the “mad science” wing of the Defense Department. They’re the ones who have a history of working on cutting edge technology for the military like virtual fences, disaster relief robots, and the invention of the internet itself. They even tried to build Skynet in the 1980s.
But Darpa sent out a tweet today that’s making people a little nervous. The agency wants a large underground facility for “testing” of some sort. And they need it by Friday at 5pm ET.
Attention, city dwellers! We're interested in identifying university-owned or commercially managed underground urban tunnels & facilities able to host research & experimentation. t.co/tHZ1Tqy5nV
It's short notice… We're asking for responses by Aug. 30 at 5:00 PM ET. pic.twitter.com/TSWO07bJam
— DARPA (@DARPA) August 28, 2019
Darpa explained in a follow-up tweet that the ideal location would be “several city blocks with complex layouts and multiple stories.”
Gizmodo reached out to Darpa and the agency confirmed that the turnaround time was short, but said that it was originally posted last week. That’s still incredibly short notice for a government agency that needs a large space for its experiments. Darpa wouldn’t explain why they needed an underground facility so quickly.
“Complex urban underground infrastructure can present significant challenges
for situational awareness in time-sensitive scenarios, such as active combat
operations or disaster response,” a Darpa spokesperson who asked to remain nameless told Gizmodo by email.
“DARPA is interested in exploring this domain for researchers to analyze and enhance approaches to improve situational awareness and response times in emergency scenarios,” the Darpa spokesperson continued. “Locations submitted could help the research community identify relevant sites for further field experimentation to accelerate their development of such technologies.”