About IDA

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Institute for Defense Analyses

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The Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) is a private, nonprofit corporation headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C. Our mission is to answer the most challenging U.S. security and science policy questions with objective analysis leveraging extraordinary scientific, technical and analytic expertise.

Research facilities

IDA manages three federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs):

  • The Systems and Analyses Center (SAC) is collocated with IDA corporate headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. The Office of the Secretary of Defense is SAC’s primary sponsor. SAC blends expertise in technologies and systems with deep knowledge of costs, policies, human capital, intelligence, advanced analytic methods, and sponsor organizations and processes.
  • The Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI), located in Washington, D.C., is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and primarily supports the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President. STPI’s focus is on supporting policymakers with objective analyses on matters of scientific and technological importance to the government.
  • The Center for Communications and Computing (CCC) comprises three research and development facilities located in Bowie, Maryland; La Jolla, California; and Princeton, New Jersey. The National Security Agency sponsors CCC. The work of this FFRDC focuses on developing innovative technology solutions to complicated mathematical and computational problems in cryptology, which includes both foreign signals intelligence and protecting the communications of the U.S. government.

IDA also manages the Defense Management Institute, an independent research organization dedicated to finding solutions to management challenges the Department of Defense (DOD) faces. DMI was established by the DOD Director of Administration and Management/Performance Improvement Officer.

Sponsor relationships

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Sponsors rely on IDA for dispassionate, fact-based and scientifically rigorous research and advice performed in an environment free of commercial or shareholder interests where objectivity and the public interest are foremost. Our work is characterized by unquestioned objectivity and exceptional quality.

The unique relationship we enjoy with our U.S. government sponsors gives us unusual access to classified government information and sensitive corporate proprietary information. We stringently avoid conflicts of interest throughout the enterprise. Together, these factors enable us to offer outsider perspectives on important national issues with insider access to information.

Guiding principles

The following guiding principles apply to all the work we do:

  • Rigorous Analysis: Our findings and conclusions arise directly from the results of technically exacting and data-driven analyses.
  • Trusted Expertise: We are devoted to honesty, professionalism, and ethical conduct.
  • Inclusion: We embrace differences and celebrate the inherent value of a team diverse in thought, experience and demographics.
  • Collaboration: Unified by our commitment to a common goal, we surpass what would have been accomplished individually.
  • Innovation: We are a learning organization — learning from each other, our peers, outside experts and those we serve to create and improve our capabilities, methods and approaches.
  • Service to the Nation: We exist to inform our nation’s leaders as they confront the most challenging U.S. security and science policy challenges.

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