Virginia Tech’s National Security Institute signed a memorandum of understanding with the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) to create new opportunities for workforce development and the advancement of national security initiatives.

Virginia Tech is the first academic institution selected by IDA for collaboration. 

IDA is a private, nonprofit corporation headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia that supports government sponsors on critical national security and science policy issues. Its current sponsors include the Departments of Defense, Commerce, Energy, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs and the National Security Agency. IDA also supports the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

“This collaboration agreement between two excellent institutions presents an exciting opportunity to build the next generation of national security leaders through education, experiential learning, and common understanding of the challenges we face as a country,” said Laura Freeman, deputy director of the Virginia Tech National Security Institute.

Through the memorandum, Virginia Tech researchers will engage with IDA staff to shape impactful research programs — leveraging their deep knowledge of the critical challenges. The institutes will utilize their combined facilities to advance areas of research including data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and digital transformation.

Members of Virginia Tech National Security Institute and the Institute for Defense Analyses discuss partnership.
The signing ceremony took place at the Innovation Campus HQ in Arlington. Photo by Anthony Wright for Virginia Tech.

The institutes will collectively seek to educate and mentor students to fuel the intelligence and defense workforce pipeline. IDA employees may engage Virginia Tech students through applied research, capstone projects, and mentoring innovation campus projects — building deep connections and career paths for Virginia Tech students.

“In addition to the shared goal of advancing national security, the two institutions also have a shared value of service,” Freeman said.

As a senior military college, a federal designation given to the university because of its Corps of Cadets, Virginia Tech has a long-standing tradition of supporting the Department of Defense, reinforced by its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve). Similarly, as a manager of federally funded research and development centers, the IDA is a trusted advisor of the Department of Defense and other federal agencies, whose research and analyses have provided valuable insight to the government for decades.

The university announced the formation of the Virginia Tech National Security Institute in 2021, aspiring to become the nation's preeminent academic organization at the nexus of interdisciplinary research, technology, policy, and talent development to advance national security. The institute houses the Ted and Karyn Hume Center for National Security and Technology, which serves as the hub for national security-focused experiential student learning and workforce development at the university.

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