July 7, 1987

From 1988 to 1989, Poindexter was senior scientist at Presearch, Inc., which had primarily been involved with defense studies and analysis. Faced with anticipated defense budget reductions, Poindexter joined the firm to develop new commercial enterprises. He designed and developed hardware and software for the prototype of a digital real-time, imaging system to be used for physical security of high value facilities. It was used to obtain a contract for a nuclear power plant security system.

From 1990 to 1996, Poindexter served as co-founder of TP Systems, Inc., a software development firm specializing in commercial software for the IBM PCs and compatibles; Poindexter was the chief designer and programmer. Development included a symbolic debugger for multi-tasking environments, a BBS communications program, and numerous utility programs.

From 1993 to 1996, Poindexter served as a consultant to Elkins Group. Elkins was a business alliance with Electronic Data Systems (EDS), which has developed the Elkins Interactive Training Network (EITN), a satellite based training delivery system. Poindexter was the chairman of the Maritime Advisory Committee and a member of Elkins’ board of directors. He also provided advice on strategic planning.

From 1996 to 2002 Poindexter served as senior vice president for SYNTEK Technologies. SYNTEK is a small high technology firm with contracts in domestic and international defense and commercial business. Poindexter was responsible for high-level advice on management and direction of information systems projects (for example Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s Project Genoa).

From December 2002, to August 2003, Poindexter served as the Director of the DARPA Information Awareness Office (IAO). The controversial mission of the IAO was to imagine, develop, apply, integrate, demonstrate and transition information technologies, components, and prototype closed-loop information systems that will counter asymmetric threats (most notably, terrorist threats) by achieving total information awareness: enabling preemption; national security warning; and, national security decision making.

Poindexter also faced immense criticism from the media and politicians about the Policy Analysis Market project, a prediction market that would have rewarded participants for accurately predicting geopolitical trends in the Middle East. This was portrayed in the media as profiting from the assassination of heads of state and acts of terrorism due to such events being mentioned on illustrative sample screens showing the interface. The controversy over the futures market led to a Congressional audit of the IAO in general, which revealed a fundamental lack of privacy protection for American citizens. Funding for the IAO was subsequently cut and Poindexter retired from DARPA on August 12, 2003.

His wife, Linda Poindexter, was an Episcopal priest for 13 years, but retired from the clergy when she converted to Roman Catholicism. They have five children, including Alan G. Poindexter, a NASA astronaut, Space Shuttle pilot on the STS-122 mission to the International Space Station, and the commander of STS-131.

Duration : 0:11:0

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