In 1972 he moved to DARPA and subsequently became Director of DARPA's Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO). While Director of IPTO he initiated the United States government's billion dollar Strategic Computing Program, the largest computer research and development program ever undertaken by the federal government. Dr. Kahn conceived the idea of open-architecture networking. He is a co-inventor of the TCP/IP protocols and was responsible for originating DARPA's Internet Program. CNRI provides the Secretariat for the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Dr. Kahn also coined the term National Information Infrastructure (NII) in the mid 1980s which later became more widely known as the Information Super Highway.
In his recent work, Dr. Kahn has been developing the concept of a digital object architecture as a key middleware component of the NII. This notion is providing a framework for interoperability of heterogeneous information systems and is being used in many applications such as the Digital Object Identifier (DOI). He is a co-inventor of Knowbot programs, mobile software agents in the network environment.
Dr. Kahn is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a former member of its Computer Science and Technology Board, a Fellow of the IEEE, a Fellow of AAAI, a fellow of ACM. He is a former member of the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee, a former member of the Board of Regents of the National Library of Medicine and the President's Advisory Council on the National Information Infrastructure. He is a recipient of the AFIPS Harry Goode Memorial Award, the Marconi Award, the ACM SIGCOMM Award, the President's Award from ACM, the IEEE Koji Kobayashi Computer and Communications Award, the IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal, the IEEE Third Millennium Medal, the ACM Software Systems Award, the Computerworld/Smithsonian Award, the ASIS Special Award and the Public Service Award from the Computing Research Board. He has twice received the Secretary of Defense Civilian Service Award. He is a recipient of the 1997 National Medal of Technology , the 2001 Charles Stark Draper Prize from the National Academy of Engineering, and the 2002 Prince of Asturias Award. He has received honorary degrees from Princeton University, University of Pavia, ETH Zurich, University of Maryland, George Mason University, and the University of Central Florida, and an honorary fellowship from University College, London. Dr. Kahn received the 2003 Digital ID World award for significant contribution (technology, policy or social) to the digital identity industry.