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Author: William A. Stein
William A. Stein: DSSG

The Defense Science Study Group (DSSG)

"The Defense Science Study Group (DSSG) is a program sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and managed by the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA). The purpose of the program is to identify some of the most talented young scientists and engineers from academia and expose them to issues and operations related to national security. Individuals spend about 20 days per year for 2 (or 3) years receiving briefings by distinguished speakers; visiting laboratories, intelligence organizations, and military, manufacturing, and industrial facilities; and conducting studies on defense-related topics. A group of mentors who have distinguished careers in defense, industry, or academia provide guidance to the program."


What is IDA?

I asked somebody at NSA, and here is their reply:

From: XXX
To: [email protected]
Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2001 09:47:45 -0400 (EDT)

William Stein said:
> Thankyou for the clarification.  Perhaps because I know so little
> about IDA/CCR/NSA etc they all seem the same to me.  Incidently,
> yesterday I found out that I have been selected for the next DSSG
> (Defense Sciences Study Group), so maybe I will learn more.

NSA is a US government agency.

IDA is the Institute for Defence Analysis - a non-profit company that acts as a think tank for the Defense Department (similar to the old Rand Corporation).

Three of the IDA divisions (possibly more, but these are the only ones I know about) are FFRDCs - Federally Funded Research and Development Centers; this means that they are fully funded by the US government to do research. The three of which I am aware are CCR-Princeton, CCR-La Jolla, and CCS-Bowie. ("CCR"-Center for Communications Research, "CCS"= Center for Computing Sciences). Basically the government gives them a pot of money and says "go off and do good things". Of course, since they want the money to continue to come, they tend to do work on projects of interest from whomever is giving them money! I understand part of the original motivation for setting up the FFRDCs was to get around government salary restrictions. Of the three, CCR-Princeton was set up in the 1950-60s, was originally on the Princeton University campus (paid their rent by giving faculty access to supercomputer time!) until they got pushed off during the Vietnam war protests. CCR-La Jolla was set up in the 1980s as a sister to CCR-Princeton, but on the West Coast to attract those academics who prefer the West rather than the East. CCS-Bowie is the youngest with a more computer science flavor.

I hope that helps!