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Operational Evaluation Division

Our Mission

The Operational Evaluation Division (OED) rigorously and independently analyzes data to evaluate whether systems enable warfighter missions under operational conditions by partnering with the Department of Defense to develop, advance and apply methods for test planning and analysis and to identify test resource needs.

Our People

OED’s interdisciplinary team of nearly 200 researchers includes academics, industry professionals and former military personnel. The majority of our researchers hold advanced degrees, two-thirds at the doctoral level.

We come from diverse educational backgrounds, including engineering, physics, chemistry, biology, computer science, psychology, data science, statistics, economics, political science and operations research.

Meet our leadership team and some of our researchers.

OED staff

Our Work

Department of Defense seal

OED sponsors in the Department of Defense (DOD) trust our researchers to provide independent factual analyses backed by technical expertise. We work collaboratively to deliver effective solutions across the entire project life cycle.

We draw upon our scientific expertise and operational experience to objectively evaluate major defense programs in the air, land, sea, space and cyber military domains.


We develop test concepts, observe tests in the field, perform program reviews, employ modern data-driven analytical approaches, develop and apply modeling and simulation tools, write reports, publish research papers, and present our results and recommendations to senior government decision-makers.

OED researchers do not just work in the office. We observe operational and cybersecurity testing onboard ships, submarines, and aircraft and at military installations across the world. 

See OED in action

Our Culture

OED Softball team photo 

OED’s culture fosters intellectual freedom and analytical rigor. We value the free discussion, discipline, drive and focus found in both the academic and the military communities. We strongly encourage, and fund, professional development. Our researchers frequently participate in seminars, workshops, classes, and conferences at IDA and across the country. OED researchers actively support IDA initiatives by tutoring local students and mentoring junior scientists through the IDA Summer Associates Program.

Teamwork is fundamental to our culture, and OED understands that nonwork activities help build effective teams. Our researchers enjoy many opportunities to socialize, like lively debates around the lunch table, friendly games of softball, and home-grown skits for our holiday party.