You are viewing a preview of this job. Log in or register to view more details about this job.

Data Scientist, Defense - Logistics and Readiness Modeling

Contribute to logistics and readiness research over a diverse project portfolio in the national defense domain. Make a tangible impact for mission-driven work with great pay and benefits.

The Department of Defense spends hundreds of billions of dollars every year on operating and maintaining their weapon systems on air, land, and sea, and yet these weapon systems often struggle to meet their readiness targets.

The Sustainment Group in IDA’s Operational Evaluation Division (OED) is at the forefront of providing cutting-edge independent analyses to address this challenge, advising the Department of Defense on how to ensure that the equipment we already own is available when needed for national defense.

We are looking for talented individuals who want to use their hard-earned data analysis and research skills to contribute to our nation's defense in a nonprofit environment.

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.

What does research look like in this position?

  • Formulate research questions out of unstructured problems and messy data.
  • Use data science methods (mathematical modeling, statistical analysis, machine learning, visualization, data wrangling, etc.) to turn data into key insights about how the government can better manage its resources.
  • Explore raw data from DOD databases and contribute to our data processing pipeline, which gives us an end-to-end picture of the DOD sustainment system.
  • Build, maintain, expand, and make use of the Sustainment Group’s set of software tools to find creative solutions to challenging questions related to national security.
  • Conduct independent research on complex topics while collaborating closely with the larger research group to develop new methods and tools.
  • 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?

  • Either a:
    • PhD in a STEM field (such as Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry, Applied Mathematics, Engineering, Statistics, Biology, Computer Science) or Operations Research, Data Science, or any other data-intensive research field; OR
    • Masters degree (same fields as above) along with 8+ years of data science related work experience; OR
    • Masters degree (same fields as above) combined with military experience in logistics, supply, or maintenance
  • Must have experience using computer programming for data processing and analysis with a language such as R, Python, or MATLAB.  
  • Experience writing functions and packages in R, Python, MATLAB, or similar programming languages is valued but not required.
  • Experience using git or other version control or software collaboration tools is valued but not required.
  • Must be able to clearly explain technical topics to non-technical audiences.
  • Military service and experience with sustainment, logistics, and readiness is valued but not required.
  • Successful completion of a background check is required. 
  • Must be able to successfully obtain and maintain a security clearance with IDA sponsorship
  • Occasional travel is expected.

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, and expectation of communication only during core business hours;
  • Organization-wide commitment to diversity in the workplace and providing a working environment free from discrimination, by fostering a culture of active citizenship and implementing data-driven processes of continuous feedback and learning.
  • Flat corporate structure that encourages collaboration and ability to choose your own projects.
  • 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 Fall 2022) and Potomac Yard DASH bus stop. Employer contributes $300/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.
    1. A short screening call with HR;
    2. 30 min – 60 min screening call with researchers; and
    3. 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.


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.