White House considers new project seeking links between mental health and violent behavior

The proposal is part a larger initiative to establish a new agency called the Health Advanced Research Projects Agency or HARPA, which would sit inside the Health and Human Services Department. Its director would be appointed by the president and the agency would have a separate budget, according to three sources with knowledge of conversations around the plan.

HARPA would be modeled on DARPA, the highly successful Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency that serves as the research arm of the Pentagon and collaborates with other federal agencies, the private sector and academia…

The attempt to use volunteer data to identify “neurobehavioral signs” of “someone headed toward a violent explosive act” would be a four-year project costing an estimated $40 to $60 million, according to Dr. Geoffrey Ling, the lead scientific adviser on HARPA and a founding director of DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office.

“Everybody would be a volunteer,” Ling said in an interview. “We’re not inventing new science here. We’re analyzing it so we can develop new approaches.”