The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) was created in 2006 under the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to fund high-risk, high-payoff research that could potentially provide the United States with an overwhelming intelligence advantage over future adversaries. IARPA works very closely with the Intelligence Community (IC) to ensure that IARPA programs address relevant future needs. It tackles some of the most difficult challenges across the intelligence agencies and disciplines, and results from its programs are expected to transition to its IC customers.

In a September 2006 speech, the Director of National Intelligence stated that the goal of IARPA is to conduct research that

  • Cuts across multiple IC agencies
  • Targets new opportunities that lie in the white spaces between agencies
  • Provides innovations that agencies avoid because of current business models
  • Generates revolutionary capabilities that will surprise our adversaries and help us avoid being surprised.