OED Leadership

Mr. Robert R. Soule, Division Director
Robert R. Soule has served as Director of IDA's Operational Evaluation Division since May 2001. He came to IDA following two decades of civilian service at the Department of Defense, where he advised senior DoD officials on issues related to the effectiveness and costs major defense programs, and the DoD budget and acquisition process. Prior to his DoD experience, Mr. Soule was an economist for Science Applications, Inc. and a defense analyst for the National Security Division of the Congressional Budget Office.
Bob’s contributions to our nation’s defense have been recognized through numerous awards, including the Distinguished Presidential Rank Award, the Secretary of Defense Medal for Distinguished Civilian Service, the Office of the Secretary of Defense Exceptional Civilian Service Medal, and the Vice President's Hammer Award for Reinventing Government. He has authored several publications relating to the long-term budgetary implications of modernizing U.S. strategic nuclear forces.
Bob earned a Masters of Economics and Public Affairs degree from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Amherst College.

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Bram Lillard, Deputy Director
photo, Bram Lillard

Dr. V. Bram Lillard is the Deputy Director of OED.  As part of OED’s support to the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E), he leads an interdisciplinary analytical team of statisticians, psychologists, and engineers focused on advancing the science of test and evaluation for defense weapon systems.   He also oversees the Sustainment and Readiness Modeling group, which is focused on analyzing raw maintenance and supply data, developing software tools to build end-to-end simulations, and identifying what investments are needed to improve weapon system readiness.

In his early years at IDA, Bram was the submarine warfare project lead for DOT&E programs, including Virginia class submarines, P-8A Maritime Patrol Aircraft, and their combat systems and weapons. In 2013-14, Bram was the acting Science Advisor to the Director of DOT&E.  He then served as the warfare lead for OED’s Naval Warfare group supporting DOT&E, and as task lead for the Littoral Combat Ship analysis group.  He was awarded IDA’s prestigious Goodpaster Award for Excellence in Research in 2017. From 2017 to early 2021, he led the newly-created OSD/CAPE task and was embedded in the Pentagon, where his primary focus was F-35 cost and sustainment, and related TACAIR studies.

Bram has a Ph.D. and an M.S. in Physics from the University of Maryland.  He received his B.A. in Physics and Mathematics at State University of New York, Geneseo.

Dr. Laura J. Itle, OED Assistant Director and IDA SAFETY Act Program Support
Dr. Laura Itle is an OED Assistant Director and the Program Manager for IDA’s support of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) Office of SAFETY (Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies) Act Implementation. She is an expert in chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosives (CBRNE) detection technologies and venue security. Laura also has expertise in resilience, continuity of operations, and continuity of government.

In her SAFETY Act role Laura oversees the work of over 150 scientists, engineers, and economists who serve as peer reviewers of the efficacy of new anti-terrorism technologies. She directs a small cadre of specialists in fields such as risk management, critical infrastructure security (e.g., canine explosive detection, blast hardening, and emergency response), and cyber security, who in turn draw on subject matter experts from the Federal government, national laboratories, academia, and Federally Funded Research and Development Centers. Besides overseeing their work, Laura synthesizes their findings and recommendations and prepares final results for the DHS Undersecretary for Science and Technology. IDA’s SAFETY Act team has won three Under Secretary’s Awards for Program Support for their efforts.

Laura has a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering and Biomolecular Transport Dynamics from the Pennsylvania State University, and a B.S.E in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering from the University of Iowa.


Shawn Whetstone, Assistant Director
photo, Heather Wojton Dr. Shawn C. Whetstone is an OED Assistant Director, and leads OED’s Net-Centric Warfare group. He leads and mentors more than 40 researchers in the Net-Centric Warfare area, providing analytical support for tests and assessments of information, space, and communications technology for DOT&E in the Department of Defense, and for multiple program offices in the Department of Homeland Security.

Since joining IDA in 1988, Shawn has provided analytical support for the design, observation, analysis, and reporting of more than 80 operational tests and assessments of selected acquisition programs and operational organizations, and published more than 95 limited distribution publications. Over the past decade his research focus has been in the general area of cyber operations, and he has developed analytical methods, procedures, and training for integrating cyber considerations into operational tests and assessments.

Shawn has a Ph.D. and M.S.E. in nuclear engineering from the University of Michigan, and a B.S. in nuclear engineering from the Pennsylvania State University.