DARPA Director Steven Walker testifies on Capitol Hill. Credit: C-SPAN

WASHINGTON — Steven Walker, the 21st director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, announced his resignation Dec. 17, a DARPA spokesman said.

Walker’s resignation is effective January 10, 2020.

Walker was appointed director of DARPA in November 2017 after serving as the deputy director of the agency from October 2012 to December 2016, and as acting director from January 2017 through October 2017.

The spokesman said Walker is moving on to take a job in the defense industry.

Walker has been credited with reinvigorating the agency’s hypersonic weapons and space efforts, and was a champion of the Blackjack project to develop a distributed low Earth orbit satellite constellation.

DARPA deputy director Peter Highnam will assume the role of acting director until a permanent director is appointed. Highnam, who came to DARPA in 2018, was the former director of research at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and a former director of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA). Prior to joining IARPA, he held senior positions in the Department of Health and Human Services and in private industry.

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...