Systems and Analyses Center
The Systems and Analyses Center (SAC) is one of three Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs) operated by the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA), a not-for-profit corporation. Sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), SAC traces its roots to 1956 when IDA was formed. Its mission is to provide objective analyses of national security issues, particularly those requiring extraordinary scientific and technical expertise.
In addition to OSD, SAC’s sponsors include other joint leadership in the Department of Defense – i.e., the Joint Staff, the Combatant Commands, the Defense Agencies, and joint programs and activities. To avoid institutional pressures to support individual military service positions, SAC conducts research for the Military Departments only in circumstances that ensure there will be no conflict of interest.
With the encouragement and approval of OSD, SAC also conducts appropriate research for other Federal departments and agencies.
To guard its objectivity and freedom from conflicts of interest, SAC does no work for commercial firms, has no financial or other stake in the implementation of its findings, and does not compete for federal contracts. While enforcing a rigorous review process to ensure the independence and objectivity of its analyses, SAC maintains a low public profile, deferring to sponsors on the use of research results.
SAC has a high-quality, interdisciplinary research staff blending long-standing experience and current knowledge to provide both corporate memory and state-of-the-art expertise. More than 90 percent of the research staff have advanced degrees; over 55 percent have PhDs. About 70 percent of IDA researchers were educated in engineering, the physical and life sciences, mathematics and statistics, and computer science; the remainder were educated in economics, political science, business, and other social sciences. When needed to address sponsor problems, SAC augments its regular staff with a deep bench of adjunct staff members and consultants with specialized expertise. IDA encourages its researchers to be active professionally – including publishing in the open literature – to maintain currency and to promote career development.