Quantitative Dynamics of Human Empires


Rockefeller University

“Quantitative modeling of social systems shows a large component of automatic drives in the behavior of individual humans and human society. Studies of the formation and breakdown of 20 diverse empires operating over almost 3,000 years describe these processes with utmost clarity and paradigmatic simplicity. Taking territorial expansion as the basic parameter, we show that it can be represented in time by a single logistic equation in spite of the complicated sequences of events usually reported by historians. The driving forces of empire, leading to expansion and saturation at 14 days of travel from the capital, can be reduced to testosterone and progesterone.”

The Military Use of Space: A Diagnostic Net Assessment

February 1, 2001

Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments

“The principal aim of this report is to assess the evolving capabilities of nations and other actors to exploit near-earth space for military purposes over the next 20-25 years.”

Strategic Appraisal: The Changing Role of Information in Warfare


RAND Corporation

Contributors: Carl H. BuilderDavid C. GompertJohn ArquillaDavid RonfeldtMichele ZaniniJeremy ShapiroEdward R. HarshbergerDavid A. OchmanekBrian NichiporukStephen T. Hosmer, et al.

“Advances in information technology have led us to rely on easy communication and readily available information — both in our personal lives and in the life of our nation. For the most part, we have rightly welcomed these changes. But information that is readily available is available to friend and foe alike; a system that relies on communication can become useless if its ability to communicate is interfered with or destroyed. Because this reliance is so general, attacks on the information infrastructure can have widespread effects, both for the military and for society. And such attacks can come from a variety of sources, some difficult or impossible to identify. This, the third volume in the Strategic Appraisal series, draws on the expertise of researchers from across RAND to explore the opportunities and vulnerabilities inherent in the increasing reliance on information technology, looking both at its usefulness to the warrior and the need to protect its usefulness for everyone. The Strategic Appraisal series is intended to review, for a broad audience, issues bearing on national security and defense planning.”

The Korean Armistice Conference: A Personal Memoir


RAND Corporation

“In 1951, the late Herbert Goldhamer, a senior RAND analyst, spent several months as an adviser to the United Nations team that was negotiating with the North Koreans and the Chinese at Panmunjom. Long classified, this now historic document is an unedited transcript of the observations Goldhamer dictated immediately after his return. Intended to capture impressions while they were still fresh, this lively account was to be the raw material for a later more systematic analysis. It offers the reader a firsthand look, through the eyes of an astute observer, at the roles that interpersonal relations and culturally based perceptions play in diplomatic negotiations. The volume includes a Foreword by Andrew W. Marshall and an Introduction by Ernest R. May.”

Strategic Thought at RAND, 1948-1960: The Ideas, Their Origins, Their Fates

June 1990

RAND Corporation

“This document reports on how a bright and innovative group of people at the young RAND Corporation came to learn about military strategy and to make important contributions to that field in the first 15 years of the Corporation. It draws on memories, documents, discussions, and interviews. The account is organized loosely according to certain main ideas that came out of those fruitful years, with emphasis on the new field of nuclear strategy.”

Net Assessment: The Concept, Its Development, and Its Future

May 1990

This paper contains “observations about the concept, the history, the…status, and future needs and prospects of net assessment [that] emerged” from a May 1990 symposium sponsored jointly by the Director, Net Assessment, and the president of the Institute for Defense Analyses. “The symposium was held as part of a thrust to help the DoD and IDA gain a deeper understanding of the significance of recently changing strategic conditions in world events, and of the implications of the changed conditions for DoD strategic planning. Net Assessment has been a part of the DoD planning landscape for many years. The key questions to which the symposium sought answers were how the activity has served the DoD in the past, and how it could continue to serve it in the future.”

Net Assessment: An American Approach

April 1990

Memorandum No. 29 Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies (JCSS)

This paper is based on a lecture presented at the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies on August 17, 1989. At that time the author was a Visiting Fellow at the Center, as well as the Bradley Senior Research Associate at Harvard’s Olin Institute for Strategic Studies.

“What follows represents only one line of thinking about net assessment, which we may define as “the craft and discipline of analyzing military balances.” From the first part of this definition an important characteristic of this approach becomes clear: net assessment, in this view, is not a science or anything close to it. Although net assessment may draw on various forms of quantitative analysis, it makes no pretense to the certainty (such as it is) of operations research, much less the hard sciences. Many do not share this view, and think that not only is scientific rigor, of the kind associated, let us say, with molecular biology, possible in this field, but that scientific progress characterizes it as well. My view is more pessimistic: a storehouse of wisdom about doing net assessments has been built up in the Office of Net Assessment (ONA) in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and many statesmen and generals have, in the past, made superb net assessments. But there is no guarantee that accumulated good sense will survive in any bureaucracy, and individual genius appears and flourishes as it wills. What is worse, many of the approaches to net assessment that dominate contemporary academe, and to a lesser extent the public and contract research worlds are, in fact, profoundly destructive of sound net assessment.”

U.S. and Soviet Strategic Forces: Joint Net Assessment

November 14, 1983

Secretary of Defense, Director of Central Intelligence

This declassified document, produced in 1983, is a joint net assessment by the Director of Central Intelligence and the Secretary of Defense. It examines aspects of the United States and Soviet Union’s strategic postures, including trends, asymmetries, and scenarios.


Long-Term Competition with the Soviets: A Framework for Strategic Analysis


RAND Corporation

“A suggestion for a shift in focus on planning and programming U.S. strategic forces. Long-term analysis of the U.S.-Soviet competition should be concerned with both opponents, treating threats within that framework, searching for areas of possible U.S. advantage, and looking for weaknesses as well as strengths. Current analysis focuses solely on warding off potential Soviet difficulties and advantages. It is doubtful that forces on either side develop in accordance with simply stated national goals. Analysis should incorporate the tools of Bayesian analysis and two-sided, force-posture planning games, similar to SAFE and XRAY. It should develop more comprehensive U.S. positions on composition of strategic forces, SALT, arms-control issues, the nature of the strategic arms competition, and general U.S. objectives. By leading away from concentration on a single criterion, the analysis could gain some freedom in planning.”

Problems of Estimating Military Power


RAND Corporation

“Mere tabulations of military forces are not meaningful estimates of military power, which is always relative to the military posture of some other country or alliance. Until we understand the decisionmaking process within typical military bureaucracies and take account of the political balancing, coordination problems, information flow, conflicting objectives, etc., we cannot effectively forecast future military postures beyond the four to five years decisively determined by present military commitments and inertia. Models of the decisionmaking behavior of a military organization should treat it as an adaptively rational multi-objective process, rather than an omnisciently rational single-objective process like that shown in the SAFE force planning game. This paper was prepared for presentation to the American Political Science Meetings in New York, September 6-10, 1966. 22 pp.”

Determinants of NATO Force Posture


RAND Corporation

“A discussion of the political and economic factors that continue to keep Western Europe militarily weak despite the spending of almost twenty billion a year on defense. The author sees the major determining factors in the diversion of resources to national rather than alliance use, in diseconomies of scale, in the high production cost of weapons, and in underinvestment in new equipment.”