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Posted by: Institute for Defense Analyses on Nov 14, 2017


Alexandria, VA

Job Description:


The Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) is a federally funded research and development center supporting the Department of Defense (DoD) 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 nuclear deterrence and assurance.    


Research Analysts at IDA are career research staff. Research Analysts engage with senior government officials to develop research programs on government policy, budgetary, and program choices. After defining a research question, they will:
Develop and implement research plans Select appropriate methodologies and analytic tools for research Develop and deploy data collection strategies including those involving human subjects, various survey methods, interview protocols, and literature reviews Collect or oversee the collection of data Implement and apply software appropriate to the research problem Interact with research subjects, including government officials and other subject matter experts, in the research process and with research sponsors in communicating results Direct more junior research assistants and associates in development of data gathering, analysis and interpretation efforts, and in development of software code and in applying the code to test hypotheses
Some research tasks will be narrowly focused, while others will address a broader spectrum of concerns.  Research Analysts contributing to SFRD’s nuclear policy, strategy, and forces programs of work will contribute to analyses of (a) military capability requirements within a portfolio of joint forces and individual Military Service weapon systems employed across a wide range of missions and scenarios; (b) strategies and policies for employment of the Nation’s nuclear capabilities for prevention of major conflict and deterrence of nuclear weapons use, for assurance of allies, and for strategic stability among state actors, including through arms control; (c) relative priorities among and across military capability gaps in the context of all the programs necessary to implement a national security strategy (including the nuclear weapons/forces aspect of deterrence and assurance strategies); (d) the efficacy of particular programs or operational concepts, particularly those related to nuclear weapon systems and forces, in light of plausible future strategic settings; (e) strategies and capabilities affecting or designed to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and forces, and (f) theories of deterrence and assurance and evidence supporting translation of theory into practical policy.

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.  They are members of interdisciplinary research teams and must demonstrate good interpersonal communications skills and contribute effectively to a team approach to problem solving. 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 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).

Requires a PhD in Political Science, International Relations, International/National Security Studies, or related discipline that includes the study of deterrence and assurance theory and practice as it applies to nuclear weapons policy and strategy.  Demonstrated interest and accomplishment in the application of game theory or other theories of International Relations to public policy choices is desired. Requires familiarity with methods and techniques for the quantitative analysis of public policy alternatives. Must be able to design computer models and simulations for evaluation of policy alternatives.  Requires the ability to communicate complex concepts simply and clearly in written and spoken contexts. A cover letter outlining their interest in the position, and how their skill set, experiences, and education align with the defined responsibilities is desired.  At later stages of the candidate evaluation process, applicants less than 7 years post-degree will be required to submit a copy of their transcripts (undergraduate & graduate//unofficial copies will suffice), a writing sample, and to provide contact information for at least three references able to evaluate applicant’s skills and work history. US Citizenship is required. Applicants selected will be subject to a security investigation and must meet eligibility requirements for access to classified information.

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About Institute for Defense Analyses

IDA is the Institute for Defense Analyses, a not-for-profit corporation that operates three Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs) in the public interest: the Systems and Analyses Center, the Science and Technology Policy Institute, and the Center for Communications and Computing. IDA exists to promote national security, preserve the public welfare, and advance scientific learning by analyzing, evaluating, and reporting on matters of interest to the United States Government.

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