About IARPA

Our Research

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) invests in high-risk, high-payoff research programs to tackle some of the most difficult challenges of the agencies and disciplines in the Intelligence Community (IC) .

 

DNI seal with surrounding IC seals

IARPA collaborates across the IC

to ensure that our research addresses relevant future needs.
This cross-community focus ensures our ability to:

  • address cross-agency challenges
  • leverage both operational and R&D expertise from across the IC
  • coordinate transition strategies with our agency partners

IARPA does not have an operational mission and does not deploy technologies directly to the field. Instead, IARPA facilitates the transition of research results to our IC customers for operational application.

Our Organization

There are three research thrusts within IARPA:

Incisive Analysis

seeks to maximize insight from the information we collect, in a timely fashion.

Safe & Secure Operations

endeavors to counter new capabilities implemented by our adversaries that could threaten our ability to operate freely and effectively in a networked world.

Smart Collection

strives to dramatically improve the value of collected data from all sources.

 

High-risk/High-payoff research

is about taking risks rather than going for quick wins or sure bets. In high-risk research, failures are inevitable. Failure is acceptable so long as the failure isn’t due to a lack of technical or programmatic integrity and the results are fully documented.

IARPA brings the best minds

in the field to bear on our research by sponsoring full and open competition to the greatest extent possible. We will not start a research program without both:

  • a powerful research idea
  • an exceptional person to manage the program
IARPA holds high standards for rigor in our research, and all IARPA programs are structured according to the Heilmeier framework. As a result, technical excellence and technical truth are the hallmarks of all IARPA programs.

Modeled after

the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), IARPA was established in 2006 with the mandate to:

  • conduct cross-community research
  • target new opportunities and innovations
  • generate revolutionary capabilities
IARPA was tasked to accomplish these objectives by drawing upon the technical and operational expertise that resides within the intelligence agencies. This ensured IARPA’s programs will be uniquely designed to anticipate the long-term needs of, and provide research and technical capabilities for, the Intelligence Community.