Stefanie Tompkins took over as the 23rd director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) on Monday, returning to an agency she served for 11 years.

“I am honored and thrilled to return to DARPA, where breakthrough technologies are a near-daily occurrence,” Tompkins said in a press release. “Such breakthroughs could not be more consequential for our national security, economic competitiveness, and our personal lives.”

Tompkins, a former intelligence officer in the U.S. Army, served at DARPA from 2007 to early 2018 in a variety of roles. She served as program manager and deputy director of the Strategic Technology Office; DARPA chief of staff; director of the Defense Sciences Office; and acting deputy director of DARPA.

Since February of 2018, Tompkins has been the vice president for research and technology transfer at Colorado School of Mines. According to the press release, this was “a job that marked a return of sorts to her roots as a geologist while drawing on her skill set for turning technological possibilities into technological realities.”

“Stefanie is someone who really knows and respects the agency and its importance to our national security,” said Peter Highnam, DARPA’s previous acting director, who will continue to serve the agency as its deputy director.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.