As a FFRDC, the company operates very much within those boundaries. Day to day, there is always a talk of something new, something to explore, something to learn. The main downside is there is no accountability for management, and that tends to reward incompetence. This can make it difficult when trying to pushing something forward and finalize on a single project. At times you will have team leads, or upper management that have a "rockstar" mentality which tends to cause a large amount of grief for people trying to complete the work. This however is probably MITRE's only short coming.
a pure research and development environment
no management accountability