Help test weapons, body armor, and vehicles for weapon lethality and survivability, to demonstrate that they will work in combat, defeat targets, provide protection, and save lives.
The Live Fire Test and Evaluation (LFT&E) team in the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) Operational Evaluation Division (OED) provides independent and objective evaluations of the lethality and effectiveness of new or upgraded DoD weapons systems. Key to this is ensuring that adequate Live Fire Testing (LFT) – firing of actual weapons against representative targets - is conducted on every major system before it is fielded. Live fire testing is inherently destructive, so the ability to carefully plan and optimize test designs is essential.
The LFT&E team is currently looking for talented individuals who enjoy using science, mathematics, or engineering skills to solve unique and unstructured technical problems, and who want to contribute to our nation's defense in a nonprofit environment.
What does research look like in this position?
Formulate original approaches for experiments and tests of new weapon systems.
Help optimize instrumentation and data collections methods used in destructive testing, including methods to measure blast, penetration, shock, acceleration, and thermal effects.
Observe live fire tests of weapon systems, and analyze test data using both qualitative methods (e.g., photographic and video interpretation, case studies) and quantitative methods (e.g., probabilistic and statistical tools, spectral analysis).
Work independently and collaborate closely with the test and evaluation community to develop new methods and tools to better understand weapon system capabilities and performance.
Present findings to mid- and senior-level Defense officials (i.e., presidential appointees, generals, admirals, etc.) through oral presentations and written reports.
What qualifications and skill-sets do you need?
PhD in a STEM field such as Material Science, Applied Mathematics, Engineering (Mechanical, Chemical, Aerospace, Biological, Industrial, Systems Engineering), Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Operational Research, or other relevant interdisciplinary programs
Prior-Military, DoD acquisition, or test and evaluation experience is valued but not required.
Proficiency compiling and analyzing both qualitative and quantitative data.
Strong written and oral communication skills and ability to clearly explain technical topics to non-technical audiences.
Availability to travel (approx. 20% time).
Successful completion of a background check is required.
Must work from Alexandria, VA area - relocation package provided.
Why work at IDA?
Comprehensive benefits including diverse health insurance options, generous 11% contribution to retirement, maternity/paternity leave, 20 days paid time off, and relocation reimbursement;
Mission-oriented work at a non-profit that supports and protects our warfighters; as a non-profit, IDA employees are eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSFL);
Professional development including tuition reimbursement, internal and external trainings, and funding for researcher-pitched projects and publications;
A strong employee and corporate culture of work-life balance, including commitment to average 40-hour work weeks through flex time, partial telework options;
A brand-new facility located in Alexandria’s high-tech corridor in Potomac Yard; amenities include a cafeteria, grab-n-go café, gym, and close proximity to local dining and shopping; and
Easy access to Potomac Yard Metro stop (opening 2023) and Potomac Yard DASH bus stop. Employer contributes $280/month (IRS max) to commuter benefits.
What are the next steps?
Complete the application and submit your resume.
The application process consists of three interviews.
A short screening call with HR;
A 30 min – 60 min screening call with researchers; and
A full day interview with various researchers and staff; includes giving an hour presentation on a research project.
Prior to the full day interview, you will be asked to provide:
Transcripts (unofficial accepted);
3 letters of recommendation; and
A writing sample.
What is the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA)?
IDA, as a non-profit, is uniquely positioned to answer the most challenging U.S. security and science questions with objective and rigorous analysis leveraging extraordinary scientific, technical, and analytic expertise.
The Institute for Defense Analyses is a nonprofit organization that provides government agencies with high-quality, objective analyses of issues of national security. We provide a work environment that encourages rigorous, independent research on challenging and complex issues.
IDA embraces diversity and supports an inclusive work environment. Working here requires energy, commitment, flexibility, and teamwork. Whether you’re a graduate student ready to start your career, a professional looking for your next challenge, or a member of the military hoping to transition to the private sector while continuing to make a difference in the national security of your country, we offer exciting opportunities to learn and grow.