NASA aeronautics official moves to new intell agency

NASA’s associate administrator for aeronautics will be leaving to head up a new agency that works on spy technology.

Lisa Porter will become the first director of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity. IARPA, which is less than a year old, will work with 16 intelligence agencies to develop new technologies, such as high-speed code cracking machines and cloaking devices.

IARPA may co-opt the intelligence projects handled by its sister agency, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

IARPA has operated under two acting directors since its creation in June 2007. Tim Murphy, the current acting director, took the position last August, replacing the current Assistant Deputy Director of National Intelligence, Steve Nixon.

IARPA “will sponsor innovative research that will yield revolutionary game-changing capabilities for the intelligence community,” Porter said in an e-mail message to NASA employees today.

Porter, who has been at NASA since May 2005, handled aeronautics research and air safety research at NASA. She also co-chaired the National Science and Technology Council's Aeronautics Science and Technology Subcommittee, which wrote the first presidential policy for aeronautics research and development in December 2006.

Before joining NASA, Porter worked at DARPA as senior scientist, working on a swath of projects including scientific research, systems integration and designing quiet helicopter rotor blades.

Feb. 1 will be Porter’s last day. Her deputy, Jaiwon Shin, will take over her position in an acting capacity.

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