The MITRE Corporation was founded in 1958 in MacLean, Virginia, U.S.A. as a not-for-profit organization to operate research and development centers sponsored by the federal government. The company's initial focus was on the continental air defense project called the Semi-Automated Ground Environment (SAGE). SAGE relied on the first digital computers to link radar stations, weapons systems, and military decision makers in near real time.
SAGE became operational in 1963. It spawned numerous innovations in computing, software, information displays, communications, program management, and systems engineering. To name a few: the National Airspace System, Airborne Warning and Communications Systems (AWACS), Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS), and Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS).
In 1969, Robert Everett became MITRE's president.