IARPA has been fortunate to have a number of distinguished leaders since its inception in 2007. Each leader has brought a wealth of expertise to help guide and support IARPA and the crucial role it plays within the Intelligence Community (IC).

Going forward, IARPA’s leadership will continue to push the boundaries of scientific research to ensure the IC maintains its edge and continues to be the indispensable backbone of our nation’s security.



Dr. Catherine Marsh became director at the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity in November 2019, where she is responsible for investing in high-risk/high-payoff research that has the potential to provide our nation with an overwhelming intelligence advantage. Prior to this assignment, Dr. Marsh was the chief scientist for the CIA’s Directorate of Science and Technology from 2016-2019, where she was responsible for ensuring that leading-edge science and technology underlies current and future mission capabilities. Before that, she was dean of the DS&T’s George Methlie School. From 2013-2015, she served as IARPA's deputy director. Dr. Marsh joined the CIA in 2001 and served in serval capacities to innovate power solutions for the Intelligence Community. While in industry, she led the team that put lithium-ion technology on numerous platforms, including NASA’s MARS exploration rovers Spirit and Opportunity. Dr. Marsh is a director of National Intelligence Fellow and member of the DS&T’s distinguished expert cadre. She holds a bachelor’s degree and doctorate in inorganic and analytic chemistry from Brown University.


Photo of Dr. La Rhonda B. Nicholas, IARPA Deputy Director

Dr. La Rhonda B. Nicholas, IARPA Deputy Director

Dr. La Rhonda Nicholas joined IARPA in July 2023 as the Deputy Director, to partner with the Director in leading the implementation of high-risk, high-payoff technically viable research programs that address the IC’s most challenging intelligence gaps. Coming from industry as a polymeric materials research engineer, Dr. Nicholas joined the CIA in 2001 as a Materials Engineer, amassing multiple positions to advance R&D efforts in biometrics, biomaterials, data integration, and cyber over the course of her career. Her previous assignments include a variety of notable positions across the IC, to include a dual-hatted position as the DNI and DCIA Senior Representative to the Department of Defense, where she ensured effective communication and collaboration on sensitive operational and intelligence matters. Dr. Nicholas also served as the DNI appointed Program Manager for the JASONS corporate program and a Legislative Assistant on the personal staff of a Congressman in the US House of Representatives. As a member of the CIA Senior Technical Service, she has a proven record of leading change, implementing strategic direction and collaborative teambuilding. Dr. Nicholas received her Ph.D. and M.S. in Materials Engineering from University of Maryland College Park and her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Hampton University.




Mr. Robert Rahmer is IARPA’s Office Director for Analysis Research. Mr. Rahmer joined IARPA in 2014 as a Program Manager. He specialized in discovering and developing novel proactive and predictive methods for securing computational environments, and led the CAUSE, CORE3D, VirtUE and FUSE programs. Mr. Rahmer’s primary research focus included cybersecurity, cyber-event forecasting, cyber-actor behavior and cultural understanding, threat intelligence, threat modeling, cyber-event coding, and cyber-kinetic event detection. Prior to arriving at IARPA, Mr. Rahmer led several technical computer network operations teams that focused on reverse engineering, incident response, tactical development, and cyber threat intelligence analysis, in support of multiple government organizations. Mr. Rahmer has supported the IC since 2003 in various roles as a contractor, providing technical expertise in cyber-security analysis, security engineering, and cyber intelligence analyst training for commercial, Department of Defense, and IC organizations. He also served in the U.S. Navy as part of its Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program. Mr. Rahmer holds a master’s degree in computer science from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. He also holds several industry information security certifications, including the Certified Information System Security Professional certification.