DoD directive 5105.15 establishes the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) signed on February 7, 1958. The directive gave ARPA the responsibility "for the direction or performance of such advanced projects in the field of research and development as the Secretary of Defense shall, from time to time, designate by individual project or by category."
A common question asked of the IPTO directors by the ARPA directors about IPTO projects was "Why don't we rely on the computer industry to do that?" This question leads to an important point - this ARPA research was different from what the computer industry had in mind to do - or was likely to undertake.
Since Licklider's creation of the IPTO, the work supported by ARPA/IPTO continued his explicit emphasis on communications.
"The ARPA theme is that the promise offered by the computer as a communication medium between people, dwarfs into relative insignificance the historical beginnings of the computer as an arithmetic engine."... "The computer industry, in the main, still thinks of the computer as an arithmetic engine. Their heritage is reflected even in current designs of their communication systems.' They have an economic and psychological commitment to the arithmetic engine model, and it can die only slowly..."