MITRE Corporation

From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The MITRE Corporation, in partnership with government clients, is a not-for-profit corporation "working in the public interest. It addresses issues of critical national importance, combining systems engineering and information technology to develop innovative solutions that make a difference."[1]


"In January 1959, 485 employees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's MIT Lincoln Laboratory[2] transferred to a special not-for-profit corporation called MITRE. The corporation's origins, however, date back to the early 1950s as Division 6 at Lincoln Laboratory, which was headed by former President and Honorary Board of Trustee member Robert R. Everett. It was here that a revolution in technology occurred with the development of the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) for the United States Air Force. SAGE, a continental air defense system, became the first electronic command and control system. Its function was to monitor United States airspace along its borders. MITRE was created as a result of a request by the Air Force for a company to handle SAGE integration.

"The name MITRE was chosen by one of the original incorporators for its neutrality and positive feel. Some have suggested the choice was based on one meaning of mitre, 'the fitting together of surfaces.' Others have suggested that the first three letters also helped to honor MIT and the original MITRE staff. Perhaps both factors came into play.

"C.W. (Hap) Halligan, from Bell Laboratories, was elected the corporation's first president, while H. Rowan Gaither was named the first chairman of the Board of Trustees. In the beginning, MITRE occupied a series of buildings, including the Ring Building in Arlington, Massachusetts, before settling in Bedford in 1959."

"Less than a year after its founding, the need to locate near the Pentagon dictated the establishment of a liaison office in Virginia. MITRE expanded again in 1963 after the FAA gave the company system engineering responsibility for the projected National Airspace System (NAS). Approximately 20 employees transferred to 108 North Fairfax Street in Alexandria, Virginia. One week later, the Defense Communications Agency announced that it would be assisted by MITRE on the National Military Command System resulting in the transfer of more than 20 additional employees to Virginia. Former President Dr. Charles A. Zraket, then technical director of the Virginia operations, organized the new operation. Today it occupies complexes in McLean and Reston, Virginia."

"MITRE's first site opened in September 1958 at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, in support of SAGE Bomarc tests. MITRE's first foreign office was located in Wiesbaden, Germany, and opened on March 8, 1962. Now, more than 40 years later, MITRE's fingerprints can be found on command and control systems all over the world."

According to the Mitretek Systems's history, Mitretek links its origin to The MITRE Corporation. MITRE was itself spun off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory which began in the 1950s as the Lincoln Project at MIT. The Lincoln Laboratory was created to develop ground radar air defense systems for the United States. The MITRE Corporation was established as the "system engineer and overseer for the development of this highly complex system."

Also see Private Government Corporation.


"MITRE's work is focused within three Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs). One FFRDC performs systems engineering and integration work for Department of Defense C3I. A second performs systems research and development work for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other civil aviation authorities. The third FFRDC provides strategic, technical and program management advice" to the Internal Revenue Service and the United States Department of the Treasury.[3]

Board of Trustees[4]

Honorary Members



Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch