Anthony J. Tether (born ca. 1941) served as Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) from June 18, 2001, until February 20, 2009. Tether is notable for initiating the series of DARPA Grand Challenges which marked the resurgence of research in autonomous vehicles. As of September 8, 2009, Tether is a member of the SSCI Scientific Advisory Board. Scientific Systems Company, Inc. (SSCI) is a developer of technology solutions for defense and industrial suppliers.
Prior to his appointment, Tether held the position of CEO and president of The Sequoia Group, which he founded in 1996. The Sequoia Group provided program management and strategy development services to government and industry. From 1994-96, Tether served as CEO for Dynamics Technology Inc. From 1992-94, he was vice president at Science Applications International Corporation's (SAIC) Advanced Technology Sector, and then was vice president and general manager for Range Systems at SAIC.
Prior to this, he spent six years as Vice President for Technology and Advanced Development at Ford Aerospace, which was acquired by Loral Corporation during that period. He has held other positions in the Defense Department, serving as director of DARPA's Strategic Technology Office from 1982–86, and as director of the National Intelligence Office in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from 1978-82. Prior to entering government service, he served as executive vice president of Systems Control Inc. from 1969–78, where he applied estimation and control theory to military and commercial problems, with particular concentration on algorithms used to perform real-time resource allocation and control.
Tether has served on both the Army Science Board and the Defense Science Board, and on the Office of National Drug Control Policy Research and Development Committee. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and is listed in several Who's Who publications.
In 1986, Director Central Intelligence Bill Casey honored him with the National Intelligence Medal and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger with the Department of Defense Civilian Meritorious Service Medal respectively. In 2009, Secretary of Defense Gates honored him with the Department of Defense Outstanding Public Service Medal. In 2013, AIAA awarded him the Aerospace Communications Award for aerospace communication contributions.
Tether received his Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1964, and his Master of Science (1965) and Ph.D. (1969) in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.
Tether is on the fund management team for Ellington Healthcare Partners, which invests in start-up and early stage companies with unique therapeutic products and devices; other fund managers include former Governor Tommy Thompson.