The Untold Story of SAIC, Network Solutions, and the Rise of the Web—Part 1

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its very beginning in 1969, when he was a young naval officer assigned to the Office of Naval Research in Washington D.C. “They assigned me to ARPA,” Daniels tells me, referring to the Pentagon skunk works known as the Advanced Research Projects Agency. “It just so happened that the ARPANET was started a few doors down the hall from my office.” This progenitor to the Internet was an experimental computer network, established with the idea of sharing computer resources and connecting communities throughout the country at places like Harvard, MIT, USC, Michigan, and Northwestern. “So for the next two years,” Daniels says, “I was one of the first users of the ARPANET.”

mike_daniels1Daniels says he enrolled in law school after he got out of the Navy, and worked for a number of years at CACI, an IT company in Arlington, VA, before leaving in 1979 to start Computer Systems Management. He says his interests turned back to the Internet after he had sold the company and was working for Beyster at SAIC. He had continued to follow the development of the ARPANET after the defense-oriented MILNET was split off in 1983, and the remaining non-military operations were turned over to the National Science Foundation (NSF).

He says he was introduced in 1987 to the four owners of Network Solutions, a computer networking specialist that had been qualified as a minority-owned government contractor. “I basically got to know them over the next five or six years,” Daniels says. “They had networking contracts with Nations Bank, [based in Charlotte, NC]. They had a networking contract with the state of Pennsylvania… They had a small group of networking guys who were really smart.”

Meanwhile, at SAIC, Daniels began working closely with Beyster and … Next Page »

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