This job has expired

Director, Research Programs

Institute for Defense Analyses
Alexandria, Virginia
Closing date
Oct 6, 2023

Job Details


In support of the IDA President and the Vice President, Research (VPR), is the lead official responsible for managing and overseeing the annual research program for IDA’s Systems and Analyses Center (SAC) FFRDC and IDA’s Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI) FFRDC.  Tracks and manages SAC’s progress toward the assigned work ceiling and informs and collaborates on decisions on priorities for ceiling allocation across research Divisions and projects, when needed. Understands and ensures IDA upholds core values of FFRDCs and represents SAC’s and STPI’s core capabilities and positions in the FFRDC community in engagement with DoD, NSF, OSTP, and other government organizations. Leads in the preparation of input materials to government offices related to the setting of SAC’s ceiling. Prepares, analyzes, and reports on the results of periodic sponsor performance surveys, as required by DoD’s FFRDC Instruction. Manages the day-to-day relationship with the primary sponsor of IDA’s SAC FFRDC in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition and Sustainment), including SAC’s Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR) and the COR’s immediate superior. Collaborates with the leadership of IDA’s Finance Directorate and head of contracting.  Works independently to coordinate the tracking and summary reporting on program and project development activities for the SAC and STPI FFRDCs. Provides guidance and serves as a strategic partner to research Directors regarding developing, coordinating and finalizing project descriptions and contract actions, and coordinates with Government offices involved in the program development and contracting processes. Fosters collaborative relationships with research Division Directors, Managers of Division Administration (MDA), Division Business Managers (DBM), and Government sponsors on all matters related to development of project descriptions and related contract issues. Oversees training of new DBMs and MDAs regarding their project and program responsibilities. Is a member of the senior leadership team at SAC/STPI. Contributes to the development of IDA and research Division research strategies. Embraces a collaborative management style that earns the respect of IDA’s senior leaders. Assists the VPR in other ways, as directed.



Project Descriptions and Contracting Actions

  • Develops and implements training plans, sets performance expectations, and provides guidance and direction to IDA Managers of Division Administration (MDAs) and Division Business Managers (DBMs) on matters relating to the submission, modification and administration of new and existing project descriptions. Works closely with IDA’s Finance Directorate and the contracts team on contract modifications and other issues.
  • Serves as the face of IDA to SAC’s Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR) and his/her immediate superior in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition and Sustainment).  Is the principal interface with the COR and Contracting Officer (CO) on project descriptions, notices to proceed, and period-of-performance extensions.  Is a primary interface with the COR and CO on matters related to project performance and the implementation of changes in government processes affecting IDA’s program.
  • Reviews statements of work, funding levels, and periods of performance in project descriptions, assists research Division management and Project Leaders in scoping projects that can be executed with the funds provided and time allowed.
  • Interacts with senior IDA management and senior government officials in accomplishing these tasks.  

Program Planning and Analysis

  • Monitors and assesses progress toward meeting annual goals for the size and composition of IDA’s research program, including assessing periodic updates to research Division program plans and developing monthly reports on project development activities.
  • Contributes to the development of IDA strategies and research plans.
  • Analyzes and reports on contract funding activities for SAC and STPI. Coordinates access to project descriptions at various stages of development, consistent with needs of research Divisions and operations Directorates.
  • Designs and executes the sponsor performance feedback process to meet FFRDC requirements
  • Develops and tracks metrics and trends to monitor the status and performance of IDA’s research program
                Includes information such as sponsors, new and continuing research areas, publications, sponsor performance evaluations, staff utilization, revenue, and staff years delivered.
  • Provides expertise and guidance to assist in preparing reports for internal and external audiences.
  • Collaborates with senior IDA management in accomplishing these tasks, including interacting with senior management to achieve the best possible research program, in the face of ceiling and other possible constraints.  

Sponsor Relations

  • Has a deep understanding of IDA’s mission and the role of FFRDCs in providing independent, objective, and rigorous analysis and technical advice to government sponsors. Can readily explain the details of both – IDA mission and FFRDC role – to government sponsors and others.
  • Serves as the primary interface with research sponsors across government on all matters related to processes involved in engaging with SAC and STPI.
  • Interacts with senior government officials in accomplishing these tasks.

Ceiling Management

  • Leads SAC’s preparation of inputs in response to DoD requests to justify future year’s ceilings.
  • Has authority of tracking and assessing SAC’s progress toward meeting its assigned ceiling target.
  • Establishes sub-ceiling allocations to individual SAC research Divisions to meet strategic intent of IDA President and VPR, and works with research Directors to make any project tradeoffs required to stay within the overall STE ceiling. In disputed tradeoffs, is the decision authority, subject to inputs from the VPR and the IDA President.   

Special Projects

  • Leads and contributes to development and implementation of special projects, especially those aimed at streamlining IDA’s business processes. Works closely with the Information Technology (IT) Directorate, the Chief Data Officer, and the Director, Business Modernization to develop technology and process solutions that improve the efficiency and effectiveness of research Division processes. Past examples have included a task tracking system, a publications processing system, and an independent research proposal, approval, and accomplishments tracking system.
  • Represents IDA Headquarters “Program Office” in all senior interactions regarding potential changes to project and program management / oversight inspired by IDA’s Data Initiative and Business Modernization efforts.
  • Key contributor to the development and implementation of initiatives aimed at improving the understanding of FFRDCs and IDA to external audiences. An example was the development – working with IDA’s Vice President-Corporate Operations, representatives of other FFRDCs, and Defense Acquisition University personnel – of explanatory materials designed to improve understanding of FFRDCs among Government acquisition officials.
  • Collaborates with senior IDA management, senior representatives of other FFRDCs, and senior government officials in accomplishing these tasks.  

Supports the VPR with other matters as assigned.



  • Bachelor’s degree required, Master’s degree preferred, in a related discipline
  • Minimum of ten years of experience in the national security environment
  • A combination of research management experience and experience working with government contracts.  This includes program management, management of research projects and portfolios, engagement with government contracting and oversight, and so forth
  • FFRDC experience and understanding of the role of FFRDCs in the broader national security community
  • Experience working with sponsors on project descriptions and budget
  • Experience working with research teams on execution
  • Experience interacting with government contracting personnel and processes
  • Familiarity with DoD and other government organizations’ missions and research priorities is highly desirable, as is a general knowledge of research methods appropriate to IDA work
    Other Requirements:
  • Demonstrated proficiency with PC applications including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and SharePoint.
  • Experience in analyzing data, extracting insights, trends or conclusions, and communicating and presenting results, including the innovative use of data visualizations.
  • Excellent attention to detail.
  • Ability to communicate and collaborate effectively with senior management, as well as all levels of staff within an organization, and government contracting officials and sponsors.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills; able to exercise tact, diplomacy and good judgment in handling sensitive information and in dealing with challenging individuals.
  • Able to represent persuasively IDA’s perspectives to government officials.
  • General familiarity with financial management and government contracting.
  • Must have initiative and drive, and be able to work independently.
  • U.S. Citizenship is required.
  • Ability to obtain/maintain necessary security clearance.  Active security clearance highly preferred.
  • Successful completion of a criminal background check is required.
  • Willingness to work in the Alexandria VA office at least 4 days a week.

Successful completion of a criminal background check is required.


The Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) is a not-for-profit corporation that operates three Federally-Funded Research and Development Centers serving the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Defense Office of Test and Evaluation, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other Federal Agencies.

IDA is a nonprofit corporation whose purpose is to promote national security and the public interest and whose primary mission is to assist the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the unified commands and defense agencies in addressing important national security issues, particularly those requiring scientific and technical expertise. To avoid institutional pressures in support of Service positions, IDA does not work directly for the Military Departments. To ensure freedom from commercial or other potential conflicts of interest, IDA does not work for private industry or foreign governments.

IDA's research requires in-depth knowledge of defense systems, technologies, operations, strategies, and resources. Our work addresses issues of both long-term and immediate concern. IDA's research program includes multi-year efforts, and quick response analyses in areas of established expertise. The work often requires privileged access to information, including sensitive government information and industry proprietary data not normally available to non-government organizations.

IDA offers competitive salaries and benefits including:


Life/Accidental Death & Dismemberment

Tax Deferred Annuity Plan
Qualified Retirement Plan

10 paid holidays
Annual Leave (Vacation)
Sick Leave

Tuition Assistance
Pre-Tax Healthcare Spending Account
Pre-Tax Dependent Care Spending Account
Employee Assistance Program
Fitness Facility

Company info
4850 Mark Center Drive

Get job alerts

Create a job alert and receive personalized job recommendations straight to your inbox.

Create alert