IDA's Annual Report
Message from the President
It is my privilege to succeed Larry Welch as president of IDA. The quality of this institution and its products owes much to General Welch's leadership over the last two decades - and to the high-caliber staff that he and the Division and Center Directors recruited. People are the heart of any institution, and IDA is fortunate to have such an intellectually skilled and highly motivated team.
This report documents the contributions that team made in 2008 to IDA's mission: "addressing important national security issues, particularly those requiring scientific and technical expertise." In his January 2009 Foreign Affairs article, the Secretary of Defense called on the national security community to "reprogram…the Pentagon for a new age." He followed with a budget proposal that seeks balance between the present and the future, between counterinsurgency capabilities and more conventional capacities, and between retaining successful institutional traits while shedding the unproductive.
IDA's work this last year supports the Secretary's broad goals. At IDA's Studies and Analyses Center, for example, our researchers are deeply engaged in operational testing of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles so critical to protecting U.S. troops, and in the broad pursuit of technologies for countering the improvised explosive devices that threaten them. IDA staff contributed to improving the use of biometric technologies in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to developing better protection against the classic threat of chemical munitions. We provided the congressionally-mandated independent assessment of the proposed deployment of ballistic missile defenses in Europe against a potential Iranian attack. IDA assists the Director of National Intelligence in assessing risks to the Intelligence Community's supply chain resulting from a "globalized" economy, and its information technology specialists advise a wide range of sponsors on the challenges of cyber space, including how to build, operate, and protect complex networked systems to meet their needs. IDA analysts supported the Tenth Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation, as the Department of Defense sought to balance sustaining the success of the All-Volunteer Force with the budget burden of sharply increased operating costs.
At IDA's Communications and Computing Center, our researchers continue to produce cutting-edge products in mathematics and computer science for the National Security Agency. IDA also brings its science and technology expertise to bear on problems faced by other federal agencies, often through its Science and Technology Policy Institute. Among its several projects of note this last year is one supporting the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, as the Council sought to move the goal of "personalized medicine" closer to reality.
Because the volume of IDA's work for DoD is constrained by statute, IDA and its research sponsors work together to ensure that its capabilities are applied to the most analytically challenging problems facing the Department. I hope you will agree that we met that standard in the work described in this report, and that IDA's multidisciplinary approach provided the insights needed to address the issues posed by our sponsors. Whatever immediate issues must be confronted, however, the ultimate standard for these analyses is their ability to identify underlying phenomena - "root causes" if you will. In doing so, there is no substitute for bringing the tools of all disciplines to bear, in a research culture that prizes vigorous intellectual debate and a close, collaborative dialogue with the sponsoring communities.
We hope this report will convey, at least in part, a sense of the analytic depth and diversity of IDA and its staff. Each of the sections dealing with the research of our three FFRDCs opens with a discussion of overall research capabilities and, except when limited by classification, then describes in some detail one of the significant tasks highlighted above.
I believe IDA's exceptional analytic talent, can-do culture, close working relations with sponsors, and attention to efficient operations provide a solid foundation for sustaining the institution's contributions to national security, broadly defined. We at IDA look forward to the analysis of future issues every bit as challenging as those described in this report. Our research sponsors can count on our willingness to address them with the independence and rigor they deserve.
Dr. David S.C. Chu
Institute for Defense Analyses