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The Institute for Defense Analyses is a federally funded research and development center supporting the Department of Defense and other federal agencies that require rigorous and objective analysis of national security issues. The Strategy, Forces and Resources Division (SFRD) performs interdisciplinary analyses of plans and policies related to national security strategy; the structure and capabilities of US, allied and adversary forces; chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense; organizational efficiency and management issues; and human capital challenges. SFRD has an opening for a Research Analyst to contribute to analyses principally focused on forces, capabilities, and readiness.  



Research Analysts at IDA are career research staff, typically with PhDs or with extensive practical or research experience. Research Analysts engage with senior government officials to develop research programs on government policy, budgetary, and program choices. Some research tasks will be narrowly focused, while others will address a broader spectrum of concerns. Research Analysts contributing to SFRD’s forces, capabilities, and readiness program of work will provide analytic expertise to national security challenges that involve the Nation’s overall readiness enterprise. After defining a research question, Research Analysts:

  • Develop and implement research plans
  • Select appropriate methodologies and analytic tools for research, both quantitative and qualitative.
  • Develop and deploy data collection strategies including those involving human subjects, various survey methods, interview protocols, literature reviews, and manipulation of large data sets.
  • Collect or oversee the collection of data
  • Implement and apply software appropriate to the research problem 
  • Interact with research subjects, including government officials, other subject matter experts, and military forces, in the research process and with research sponsors in communicating results
  • Help manage a portfolio of research efforts
  • Direct more junior research associates in development of data gathering, analysis and interpretation efforts, and in development of analytic tools or software code to test hypotheses.




Research Analysts are expected to demonstrate proficiency in rigorous and structured analytic techniques and to be familiar with modern computer applications appropriate to the individual’s academic discipline. Research Analysts are members of interdisciplinary research teams and must demonstrate good interpersonal communications skills and contribute effectively to a team approach to problem solving and help manage a portfolio of research projects. The issues that IDA addresses change constantly and Research Analysts are expected to be adaptable and self-motivated, demonstrating a capacity for independent thought, synthesis of a variety of sources, and sound judgment while creatively applying qualitative and quantitative analysis methods to complex policy problems. As part of the research process, IDA research teams will travel to US government or US security partner field locations (typically headquarters or office-like locations).

  • PhD with three years post-degree research/fellowship experience applying qualitative and quantitative skills or a Master’s degree with 8 years’ experience. Degrees are required to be in a discipline such as operations research, industrial engineering, systems engineering, coupled with a background in political science, international relations, strategic studies, or security studies, applicable to the study of force readiness, capabilities, force management, global posture, and force structure.
  • Candidates must have significant leadership experience at the O-6 military level or above in military Service, Joint, and Office of the Secretary of Defense organizations. 
  • Requires demonstrated interest in and understanding of the application of strategic concepts to force readiness choices and national security impacts.
  • Requires understanding of, and operational or research experience in, readiness concepts and operations.
  • Requires proven expertise or experience with analytic methods and techniques for the assessment of readiness, capabilities, force management or force structure alternatives. Must be able to apply computational capability, data analytics, computer models or simulations for evaluation of policy, technology, or program options 
  • Requires the ability to communicate complex concepts simply and clearly in written and verbal form, to peers and government officials
  • Candidates are required to submit a resume and cover letter outlining their interest in the position, and how their skill set, experiences, and education align with the defined responsibilities 
  • Candidates must be able to maintain a TS-SCI level security clearance. 

U.S. Citizenship is required