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Research Analyst – Nuclear Weapons Strategy and Policy: Master’s or PhD

Effective October 11, 2021, all current and newly hired IDA employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 unless they have been granted a medical or religious exemption. Individuals who accept employment with IDA will be required to provide proof that they are fully vaccinated or receive approval for a medical or religious accommodation prior to starting employment. 

The Institute for Defense Analyses is a federally funded research and development center supporting the Department of Defense and other federal agencies that require rigorous and objective analysis of national security issues. The Strategy, Forces and Resources Division (SFRD) performs interdisciplinary analyses of plans and policies related to national security strategy; the structure and capabilities of US, allied and adversary forces; chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense; organizational efficiency and management issues; and human capital challenges. SFRD has an opening for a Research Analyst to contribute to analyses principally focused on national security strategy, policy, and plans that guide nuclear deterrence and assurance capabilities.  

Research Analysts at IDA are career research staff, typically with PhDs or with extensive practical or research experience. Research Analysts engage with senior government officials to develop research programs on government policy, budgetary, and program choices. Some research tasks will be narrowly focused, while others will address a broader spectrum of concerns. Research Analysts contributing to SFRD’s nuclear policy, strategy, and forces program of work will provide analytic expertise to national security challenges that involve the Nation’s nuclear enterprise. After defining a research question, Research Analysts:
  • Develop and implement research plans
  • Select appropriate methodologies and analytic tools for research
  • Develop and deploy data collection strategies including those involving technical digital extraction, human subjects, various survey methods, interview protocols, and literature reviews
  • Collect or oversee the collection of data
  • Develop and/or apply software appropriate to the research problem and data sources 
  • Interact with research subjects, including government officials and other subject matter experts, in the research process and with research sponsors in communicating results
  • Direct more junior research analysts and associates in development of data gathering, analysis and interpretation efforts, and in development of analytic tools or software code to test hypotheses.

Research Analysts are expected to demonstrate proficiency in rigorous and structured analytic techniques and to be familiar with modern computer applications appropriate to the individual’s academic discipline. Research Analysts are members of interdisciplinary research teams and must demonstrate good interpersonal communications skills and contribute effectively to a team approach to problem solving as well as be able to devote research to more than one project at a time. The issues that IDA addresses change constantly and Research Analysts are expected to be adaptable and self-motivated, demonstrating a capacity for independent thought, synthesis of a variety of sources, and sound judgment while creatively applying qualitative and quantitative analysis methods to complex policy problems. As part of the research process, IDA research teams will travel to US government or US security partner field locations (typically headquarters or office-like locations).

Candidates are required to possess the following:
  • Master’s degree with a minimum of 10 years’ experience or PhD in a discipline such as political science, international relations, strategic studies, security studies, or in an engineering or physical science discipline applicable to the study of nuclear weapons policy, strategy, planning, and associated military capabilities 
  • At least 10 years of significant leadership experience in the operations or staff of a high-performance organization in government, industry, or research 
  • Ability to apply computational capability, data analytics, computer models, or simulations to complex problems 
  • Proven experience as a member of an interdisciplinary team and understanding of the integration of both quantitative and qualitative inputs in comprehensive research findings
  • Ability to communicate complex concepts simply and clearly in written and verbal form, to peers and government officials

Additional preferred qualifications include:
  • Demonstrated interest in and understanding of the application of both technical capabilities and strategic concepts to public policy choices and national security programs
  • Basic understanding of nuclear deterrence concepts and operations or the history of nuclear deterrence and assurance theory
  • Understanding of basic nuclear physics and nuclear weapon effects, and familiarity with the capabilities of nuclear delivery systems and command and control
  • Skill in organizing or synthesizing large quantities of research material 

Candidates are required to submit a resume and cover letter outlining their interest in the position, and how their skill set, experiences, and education align with the defined responsibilities. 

At later stages of the candidate evaluation process, applicants with less than 7 years post-Master’s degree or with less than 7 years post-PhD degree will be required to submit a copy of their transcripts (undergraduate & graduate//unofficial copies will suffice), a writing sample, and to provide contact information for at least three references able to evaluate applicant’s skills and work history. 

Successful completion of a criminal background check is required.

U.S. Citizenship is required

Ability to obtain and maintain a security clearance is required

IDA is an equal opportunity employer committed to providing a fair recruiting process and working environment free from discrimination. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identify, national origin, disability or protected veteran status. Click here to learn more about IDA's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.