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Entry Level PhD – Naval Combat Systems Analyst

Combat Systems Analyst – Naval Warfare
Plan for and analyze the results of testing of Navy combat systems, surface to air missiles, and electromagnetic spectrum operations systems, to determine if they are effective and suitable.   
The Naval Warfare Group in the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) Operational Evaluation Division (OED) provides independent and objective evaluations of the effectiveness and suitability of new or upgraded DoD weapons systems. Specifically, this position in the Navy group will be focused on the test and evaluation of shipboard combat systems, surface to air missile systems, electromagnetic spectrum systems (e.g., radar and electronic warfare systems), and the development of aerial target systems used in testing. Our group provides analytical support to the Office of the Secretary of Defense for the test and evaluation of Navy weapon systems.  

The Navy Group 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 testing.
  • Observe live fire tests of weapon systems, and analyze test data using both qualitative methods and quantitative methods.
  • 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 Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Computer Science, Engineering (Aerospace, Mechanical, Electrical), Mathematics, Operations Research, or other relevant interdisciplinary programs
  • Strong scientific computing experience is strongly desired
  • Prior-Military, DoD acquisition, or test and evaluation experience is valued but not required.
  • Proficiency compiling and analyzing both qualitative and quantitative data.
  • Past experience in Modeling and Simulation is desired but not required.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills and ability to clearly explain technical topics to non-technical audiences.
  • Availability to travel (approx. 20% time).
  • Successful application for a National Security Clearance required but not needed for consideration.
  • 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.
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.