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As a Department of Defense Research and Development Laboratory, MIT Lincoln Laboratory conducts research and development aimed at solutions to problems critical to national security. In 2016, the Laboratory celebrated its 65th anniversary of service to the nation.

The areas that constitute the core of the work performed at Lincoln Laboratory are sensors, information extraction (signal processing and embedded computing), communications, and integrated sensing and decision support, all supported by a broad research base in advanced electronics.

Research at the Laboratory includes projects in air and missile defense, space surveillance technology, tactical systems, biological and chemical defense, homeland protection, communications, cyber security, and information sciences. The Laboratory takes projects from the initial concept stage, through simulation and analysis, to design and prototyping, and finally to field demonstration.