Are you interested in contributing to decisions that affect national policy?
As the world changes, the nation's leaders are faced with increasingly challenging problems involving defense and national security. What threat is the nation likely to face, and when? How should military personnel, weapons, facilities, and infrastructure be configured and used to counter this threat? Where should monies be allocated to ensure the nation continues to be safe and secure?
Statisticians work with many other scientists, policymakers, and military personnel to address questions such as these. Activities can be applied-involving collecting and analyzing data-or more theoretical-including developing new methods and models. Statisticians with different degrees (e.g., BS, MS, PhD) and application areas (e.g., physics, medicine, human factors, genetics, manufacturing, and public policy) work in defense and national security.
Statisticians interested in defense and national security support the following:
- U.S. Department of Defense at places such as the Army Research Laboratory, Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Command, Naval Surface Warfare Center, and Pentagon
- U.S. Department of Energy at places such as the Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore, Sandia, and Pacific Northwest national laboratories
- Research organizations at places such as the Center for Naval Analyses, Institute for Defense Analyses, and RAND
- Private companies
Statisticians who work in defense and national security help to do the following:
- Test and evaluate new systems
- Budget scarce resources
- Design experiments
- Evaluate complex computer simulation models
- Study the behavior of aging materials
- Analyze experimental data
- Interpret research findings
Suppose the question is whether to upgrade or possibly replace an existing military system. The statistician would help interpret existing test data, understand the uncertainties and biases in those data and in relevant computer simulation models, plan and conduct new experiments, collect and analyze data (perhaps developing new methodology), elicit and understand the utilities of the decisionmakers, and help inform a quantitative assessment of where sources will be most effectively spent.
A career as a statistician in defense and national security offers a chance to serve your country while doing challenging and interesting work.