Technology in Support of National Security
MIT Lincoln Laboratory researches and develops a broad array of advanced technologies to meet critical national security needs. What sets us apart from many national R&D laboratories is our focus on building operational prototypes of the unique systems we design.
We fabricated the ground and space terminals that enabled the world's fastest data download from a NASA satellite orbiting the moon; created the first dual-band radar that is also the highest-resolution, long-range imaging sensor in the world; and built a beam-combining laser that achieved the highest brightness recorded anywhere.
Our ability to turn concepts into field-worthy systems is supported by state-of-the-art facilities, such as a world-class semiconductor research and fabrication laboratory, a flight facility boasting a Boeing 707 customized for field-testing airborne systems, and New England’s fastest, most powerful supercomputing center.
Behind our innovative R&D are people with exceptional technical abilities and creativity, working in cross-disciplinary teams to develop advanced technologies for diverse needs — for example, defending against missile threats, providing secure communications, monitoring activity in space, and even inventing biomedical devices.
Lincoln Laboratory's internal organizational structure encourages the interchange of ideas between staff members and management. This structure includes just three primary management levels: the Director's Office, the division heads, and the group leaders. The Director's Office reports into MIT leadership. A Joint Advisory Committee made up of representatives from all the military services and an Advisory Board composed of leaders from the government, industry, and academia provide guidance on the Laboratory's R&D portfolio.
Legacy of Innovation
We have stretched the capabilities of technology ever since the Laboratory's establishment in 1951 as a federally funded R&D center managed by MIT for the Department of Defense. During the 1950s development of the nation's first air defense system, our researchers pioneered the use of computers for data analysis and transformed the future of computing. Today, we continue to explore new applications of technology that can help keep our nation safe and aid in international humanitarian efforts.
Our connections to MIT are as strong today as in 1951 when leading scientists from MIT moved to the Laboratory to head up the air defense program. We pursue collaborations that leverage the deep engineering experience of our staff and the intellectual curiosity of MIT's foremost scientists.
As the challenges have changed since the Cold War–era threats, we have evolved to ﬁnd solutions to the new problems. Yet, our mission has remained unchanged — technology in support of national security.
MIT Lincoln Laboratory occupies 75 acres (20 acres of which are MIT property) on the eastern perimeter of Hanscom Air Force Base, which is at the nexus of Lexington, Bedford, Lincoln, and Concord, Massachusetts. The MIT property and most of the Laboratory's facilities are within the Lexington town boundaries.