The MITRE Corporation was chartered in 1958 as a private, not-for-profit organization to provide engineering and technical guidance for the federal government. Today, with locations in McLean, VA and Bedford, MA, MITRE serves a variety of government agencies through the operation of federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) that assist the United States government with scientific research and analysis, development and acquisition, and systems engineering and integration.
The government first created FFRDCs in the 1940s, focusing largely on national security challenges, and providing technical capabilities unavailable within government or the private sector. Today, FFRDCs work in the fields of aviation, defense, energy, health and human services, space, federal agency modernization, homeland security, and more. FFRDCs have developed new technologies — from advanced radar and air traffic control systems, to global climate models, landmine detectors, and radiation therapy treatments for cancer. MITRE has played a significant part in many such advances, often in collaboration with other FFRDCs or national laboratories.
National Security Engineering Center (NSEC)
Technical areas such as sensors, electronics, digital systems, IT, and cybersecurity are at the core of MITRE's National Security Engineering Center (NSEC). NSEC's engineers, mathematicians, physicists, chemists, and experts in an array of disciplines bring technical knowledge and analytic understanding of the sponsors’ missions and operations.
MITRE doesn't manufacture products or compete with industry. As an FFRDC sponsored by the Department of Defense, NSEC helps the government make choices based on objective technical assessments, mission requirements, and budgetary constraints. Prototypes or system improvements developed by MITRE staff are transferred either directly to sponsors or to commercial companies for production.
NSEC has long supported technologies such as the airborne warning and control system (AWACS) that the United States and our allies relies upon daily. New technologies include developing software for the lighter, faster communications devices today's warfighters need, and defending the nation's computer networks from cyberattacks.
At locations around the world, NSEC supports customers within the DoD and intelligence community, focusing resources on areas such as systems engineering, modeling and simulation, acquisition strategy and management, enterprise engineering, information technology, and cybersecurity.
Researchers have applied commercial technologies to create a completely 3D-printed, sensors-carrying platform controlled by a smartphone. This innovation supports the military's intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance needs effectively and affordably. Project teams also have helped develop and test identity-resolution systems that enable analysts to match individuals with formal names, aliases, occupations, and threat potential. Domestically, this work supports homeland security personnel at airports and other points of entry.
Center for Advanced Aviation System Development (CAASD)
MITRE works with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to provide the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world, and to meet the evolving needs of the nation's airspace. CAASD works closely with the FAA to develop NextGen — the next-generation air transportation system. CAASD provides the FAA with advanced technical capabilities in systems engineering, mathematics, and computer science, and applies domain knowledge in air traffic management and airspace user operations relevant to the National Airspace System (NAS).
CAASD has contributed to the development of technologies and procedures that form the backbone of NextGen. These include using digital communications between aircraft and controllers for more accurate and efficient exchange of routing instructions, and using satellite-based positioning information to identify more efficient flight paths and improve situational awareness between aircraft.
Key CAASD developments include: 1) the Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), a nationally implemented onboard air traffic management system that uses range and altitude data to detect and correct potential collision threats; 2) the Airport Movement Area Safety System, a runway-conflict alert capability installed at the nation's busiest airports; 3) airfield marking and lighting enhancements that reduce runway incursions; and 4) Alaska Capstone, an advanced air safety system that uses CAASD-developed technology to reduce the unique hazards of air travel in the nation's northernmost state.