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Capabilities and Expertise

Science and Technology

 

Science and Emerging Technologies

This portfolio of research includes projects examining cutting-edge scientific advancements and breakthrough technologies. Our efforts include developing an understanding of the possible role of these topics in defense contexts, providing an independent assessment of their limitations, and identifying the challenges that must be addressed to advance their maturity. The wide range of research topics covered includes novel materials and structures, sensing and measurement technologies, and computation and processing. Our staff are experts in hypersonics, directed energy, datalinks, quantum sciences, biotechnologies and more.

 

Strategic Technology Assessments

We conduct comprehensive assessments of existing technologies to inform decisions about their adoption or adaptation. Projects focus on evaluating the feasibility, effectiveness, maturity and scalability for purposes of technology integration into weapon systems and programs of record. This portfolio includes analysis of international competition and collaboration in technology areas of strategic significance. We provide independent assessment of appropriate strategic investment strategies in emerging technologies to enable U.S. advantage. As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to grow in its ability to enable future defense capabilities, projects in this portfolio examine emerging methods to evaluate AI capabilities, infrastructure shortfalls for AI adoption, and ethical use of AI. The outcome of our work aids DOD and DHS sponsors in evaluating human-machine teaming constructs and developing frameworks for AI evaluation and employment.

Systems: Concepts and Test

 

Advanced Weapon Concepts and Experimentation

This portfolio focuses on the development of innovative yet feasible weapon system concepts based on emerging technologies and novel applications of existing weapon systems and subcomponents. Researchers conceptualize new weapon systems, considering various factors such as mission requirements, concept of employment, evolving threats, and tactical and strategic objectives. We excel in conducting traditional analysis of alternatives, and our findings support investment priorities within DOD research and development portfolios. This portfolio also assists government sponsors in early experimentation of emerging weapon system concepts and prototypes, from experiment design through analysis of data collected during military user exercises.

 

Developmental Test and Evaluation

This portfolio of projects provides analytical support for T&E of established systems and programs across the DOD and DHS. Independent and objective assessments enable discovery and correction of problems and ensure rapid development and fielding. We are engaged in programs early in the acquisition process to support innovative and efficient T&E strategies, to evaluate system performance and risks, to inform critical decisions, and to champion responsive execution approaches. Our efforts may include, for example, planning and executing cybersecurity test programs or evaluating missile defense activities.

Systems: Missions, Operations, Evaluation

 

Weapons Employment Evaluation

This portfolio focuses on analysis of operational considerations related to employment of a variety of weapons systems. We provide independent validation and verification for nuclear, chemical and biological weapon models across a wide-range of real-world operational scenarios. Our researchers have developed cutting-edge simulations to aid understanding of, and potential strategies for, responding to future contingencies and to explore novel countermeasures that could be employed to defeat, remediate or respond to an adversary’s use of weapons.

 

Systems, Mission, and Force-Level Analyses

This portfolio provides comprehensive examination of mission- and force-level scenarios for weapon systems and systems of systems. We holistically examine technical performance, operational impact and cost, relying heavily on modeling and simulation approaches and drawing from operational data. Our efforts provide independent evaluation of tactics, logistics and strategy from the tactical to the operational campaign levels. These analyses support informed resource decision-making in the DOD’s Planning, Programming, Budgeting and Execution (PPBE) process, for individual programs as well as for force structure and overall force readiness.

Resilience and Sustainment

 

Resilience Science and Technology and Infrastructure

We analyze technology, systems and emergent concepts that play a central role in enhancing the resilience of the national security enterprise. Our efforts include assessing the security and stability of critical infrastructure; increasing the resiliency of homeland defense operations through the management of systemic risk, particularly against climate change and other cascading effects; and evaluating the long-term sustainability and survivability of such systems. This portfolio also includes emerging science and technology and its application to the creation of resilient systems.

 

Weapon Systems Sustainment and Readiness

This portfolio focuses on ensuring that key weapon systems are ready to perform their missions by identifying barriers to military readiness and drawing a direct link between resource decisions and readiness outcomes. Our approach emphasizes obtaining and integrating authoritative data from across the military departments to build an unequaled view of the sustainment system. This view allows us to study the interconnected nature of operations, logistics, maintenance, personnel and supply processes throughout a system’s life cycle. By tying discrete actions to changes in overall readiness, we help our sponsors identify optimal courses of action and justify their decisions to leadership.

For more information about IDA’s sustainment analyses and modeling capabilities:

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