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About IDA

IDA (Institute for Defense Analyses) – a not-for-profit corporation headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia just outside Washington, DC – 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.

Pic 1: Preparing for tutoring program with Alexandria City Public Schools. Pic 2: Former IDA President Gen. Larry D. Welch, USAF (Ret.), with a Defense Science Study Group member.

Sponsors rely on IDA for dispassionate, fact-based, and scientifically rigorous research and advice to inform their decisions. Since 1956, IDA’s basic mission has remained unchanged – bring the best scientific, technical, and analytic talent to bear on issues critical to U.S. National security, in a research environment free of commercial or shareholder interests where objectivity and the public interest are foremost.

The work produced by IDA’s FFRDCs is characterized by unquestioned objectivity and high quality. Because of our unique relationship with our Government sponsors, IDA enjoys unusual access to highly classified and sensitive government and corporate proprietary information. We adhere to a strict regime for avoiding conflicts of interest.  We are thus in the position of offering outsider perspectives on important issues with insider access to information.

Pic 1. Trustess discuss work with staff member. Pic 2. Staff in IDA Simulation Center.

Our diverse mix of professionals possesses expertise in a broad range of technologies and systems combined with deep knowledge of costs, policies, operations, and organizational matters. IDA continually renews and evolves its staff, integrating those newly educated in the latest advances in research with seasoned veterans of acquisition management, policy-making, and operational leadership roles in government and defense-related organizations. The exceptional creativity, determination, and commitment to service that IDA researchers bring to their work are the foundation of IDA’s excellence.


Our Research Staff

IDA’s goal is to empower the best scientific and strategic minds to research and analyze the most important issues of national security. Our diverse mix of professionals provides IDA with the multidisciplinary talent and expertise it needs to respond the many challenges brought to us by our sponsors. The exceptional creativity and determination that our research staff brings to their work with IDA’s sponsors and each other is the foundation of IDA’s reputation for excellence.

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Our Sponsors

IDA works solely for U.S. Government agency sponsors on critical national security issues; we do no work for industry. Our current sponsors include the Departments of Defense, Commerce, Energy, Homeland Security; Veterans Administration; and National Security Agency. Through our Science and Technology Policy Institute, we support the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). 

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Our Leadership

Following in the footsteps of distinguished former IDA leaders – such as scientists Dr. James R Killian, Jr., Dr. Jack Ruina, and Dr. Herbert York,  as well as outstanding military figures such as General Maxwell Taylor, Major General James McCormack, Jr., and General Andrew J. Goodpaster, today’s officers and trustees represent the breadth of IDA’s research.

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