Trajectories of COVID-19: A Longitudinal Analysis of Many Nations and Subnational Regions

June 23, 2023


“The COVID-19 pandemic is the first to be rapidly and sequentially measured by nation-wide PCR community testing for the presence of the viral RNA at a global scale. We take advantage of the novel “natural experiment” where diverse nations and major subnational regions implemented various policies including social distancing and vaccination at different times with different levels of stringency and adherence. Initially, case numbers expand exponentially with doubling times of ~1–2 weeks. In the nations where interventions were not implemented or perhaps lees effectual, case numbers increased exponentially but then stabilized around 102-to-103 new infections (per km2 built-up area per day).

Dynamics under effective interventions were perturbed and infections decayed to low levels. They rebounded concomitantly with the lifting of social distancing policies or pharmaceutical efficacy decline, converging on a stable equilibrium setpoint. Here we deploy a mathematical model which captures this V-shape behavior, incorporating a direct measure of intervention efficacy. Importantly, it allows the derivation of a maximal estimate for the basic reproductive number Ro (mean 1.6–1.8). We were able to test this approach by comparing the approximated “herd immunity” to the vaccination coverage observed that corresponded to rapid declines in community infections during 2021. The estimates reported here agree with the observed phenomena. Moreover, the decay (0.4–0.5) and rebound rates (0.2–0.3) were similar throughout the pandemic and among all the nations and regions studied. Finally, a longitudinal analysis comparing multiple national and regional results provides insights on the underlying epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 and intervention efficacy, as well as evidence for the existence of an endemic steady state of COVID-19.”

CCP Weapons of Mass Persuasion


Narrated by Patrick Kirchner

This paper is part of the Andrew W. Marshall Foundation’s set of publications on Examining History to Explore the Future: France, the United States, and China. This project was made possible by a generous grant from the Richard Lounsbery Foundation.

The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) approach to the United States today reflects the party’s formative competitive experiences a century ago. Starting in the 1920s, the CCP vied with the Nationalist Party (KMT) for control over China, but the CCP was also nominally allied with the KMT in the First United Front, 1924–27. In that context, the Communists waged political warfare against the KMT at the elite and the grassroots level. Initially, the CCP’s aim was to coopt the KMT. When cooption failed, the Communists turned to subversion before attacking the Nationalists kinetically. In recent decades, the CCP has used this united-front template against the United States, thanks partly to a foundation of U.S.-CCP cooperation laid during the Sino-Japanese War and reinforced in the late Cold War. This report accordingly traces the CCP’s repertoire for strategic competition to the Chinese Civil War (Part 1). It then analyzes the application of this toolkit to the United States across a series of interactions beginning in the late 1930s and continuing through the present (Part 2). The report concludes with two alternative visions of how the coming decades could unfold, hinging upon Washington’s ability to counter Beijing’s ongoing subversion campaign (Part 3).


Building a Systems-Oriented Approach to Technology and National Security Policy

Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET)

June 2023

“This brief provides a framework for a systems-oriented approach to technology and national security strategy. It identifies and discusses the tensions among three strategic goals of technology and national security policy — driving technological innovation, impeding adversaries’ progress, and promoting safe, values-driven technology deployment — and highlights various levers of power that policymakers can use to pursue those goals. This adaptable framework, suitable for any country or international body, emphasizes the importance of creative problem-solving and maintaining a comprehensive understanding of the policy landscape.”

Jewish population trajectories between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea

May 9, 2023

Israel Affairs

“This article re-examines Jewish population in what is now Israel using historical estimates from Ottoman, Mandatory British and United Nations sources and recent data from the Israeli census bureau. A logistic model generates backward extrapolations and forward projections. The model quantifies three waves of Jewish immigration totalling about 3.5 million. Subtracting immigrant data from total population numbers gives the main empirical trajectory for non- immigrant native-born population. A multi-logistic model combining migrant and native populations projects a Jewish population of about 10 million in 2050, a level low in the range of estimates made by others.”

The New Makers of Modern Strategy: From the Ancient World to the Digital Age

May 2, 2023

Princeton University Press

Contributions by John Bew, Lawrence Freedman, Walter Russell Mead, Toshi Yoshihara, Matthew Kroenig, Hew Strachan, Antulio Echevarria, John H. Maurer, Michael Cotey Morgan, James Lacey, Eric Helleiner, Jonathan Kirshner, Iskander Rehman, Matt J. Schumann, Michael V. Leggiere, Charles Edel, Francis J. Gavin, Wayne Wei-Siang Hsieh, Sarah C. M. Paine, Priya Satia, Margaret MacMillan, Williamson Murray, Robert Kagan, Tami Biddle, Brendan Simms, Daniel Marston, Guy Laron, Tanvi Madan, Sergey Radchenko, Thomas G. Mahnken, Christopher J. Griffin, Dmitry Adamsky, Carter Malkasian, Ahmed S. Hashim, Elizabeth Economy, Seth G. Jones, Sue Mi Terry, Jason K. Stearns, Joshua Rovner, Thomas Rid, John Lewis Gaddis, Eric Edelman, Andrew Ehrhardt, Mark Moyar

The New Makers of Modern Strategy is the next generation of the definitive work on strategy and the key figures who have shaped the theory and practice of war and statecraft throughout the centuries. Featuring entirely new entries by a who’s who of world-class scholars, this new edition provides global, comparative perspectives on strategic thought from antiquity to today, surveying both classical and current themes of strategy while devoting greater attention to the Cold War and post-9/11 eras. The contributors evaluate the timeless requirements of effective strategy while tracing the revolutionary changes that challenge the makers of strategy in the contemporary world. Amid intensifying global disorder, the study of strategy and its history has never been more relevant. The New Makers of Modern Strategy draws vital lessons from history’s most influential strategists, from Thucydides and Sun Zi to Clausewitz, Napoleon, Churchill, Mao, Ben-Gurion, Andrew Marshall, Xi Jinping, and Qassem Soleimani.”

Andrew Marshall: Net Assessment as a Tool of Strategy

March 14, 2023

The Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI)

“Foreign policy strategist Andrew Marshall had a career that spanned seven decades from the late 1940s. He was hailed by a former KGB officer as ‘the grey cardinal, the éminence grise’ of the U.S. revolution of military affairs, and as ‘the great hero’ of Chinese officers tracking developments in U.S. military technology, claiming they had translated every word he wrote. Dr. Thomas G. Mahnken joins ‘Talking Strategy’ to discuss his work and life.”

American Defense Reform: Lessons from Failure and Success in Navy History

December 1, 2022

Georgetown University Press

Featuring a discussion on Andy Marshall, American Defense Reform is “a roadmap for U.S. military innovation based on the Navy’s history of success through civilian-military collaborations.”

“The U.S. military must continually adapt to evolving technologies, shifting adversaries, and a changing social environment for its personnel. In American Defense Reform, Dave Oliver and Anand Toprani use U.S. naval history as a guide for leading successful change in the Pentagon.

American Defense Reform provides a historical analysis of the Navy during four key periods of disruptive transformation: the 1940s Revolt of the Admirals, the McNamara Revolution in systems analysis, the fallout from the Vietnam War, and the end of the Cold War. The authors draw insights from historical documents, previously unpublished interviews from four-star admirals, and Oliver’s own experiences as a senior naval officer and defense industry executive. They show that Congress alone cannot effectively create change and reveal barriers to applying the experience of the private sector to the public sector.”

Peak Human? Thoughts on the Evolution of the Enhancement of Human Performance

Rockefeller University

Adapted from Jesse Ausubel, lecture upon receiving the 2022 Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest

October 13, 2022

While societies expect cars and computers to continue to improve, what about humans themselves? Is our species near peak human? We provide a four-part framework for considering performance: cognitive achievement such as IQ, physical achievement such as Olympic records, lifetime performance such as height and life expectancy, and immune system education such as resistance to disease. After several centuries of rapid and pervasive enhancement, trends suggest that human performance enhancements may be hard won during the coming decades.

The Art of Net Assessment and Uncovering Foreign Military Innovations: Learning from Andrew W. Marshall’s Legacy


Journal of Strategic Studies

“Andrew W. Marshall, who shaped the way in which contemporary international security experts think about strategy, has been mostly associated with the invention of net assessment. The intellectual sources of this analytical technique, and of the related competitive strategies concept, could be traced to Marshall’s efforts to uncover Soviet post-World War II defense transformations. This article outlines the essence of these Soviet innovations – the empirical frame of reference that inspired Marshall. It provides a new perspective on the history of the net-assessment methodology, advances the debate within strategic studies over the nature of military innovations, and offers insights for experts examining defense transformations worldwide.”

On Diagnostic Net Assessment


The Andrew W. Marshall Foundation

Andrew Marshall’s initial notion of a diagnostic net assessment came about while he worked at the RAND Corporation, particularly in the 1950s and 1960s.   

It was during his time at RAND that Marshall, along with Joe Loftus, Jim Digby, Herb Goldhammer, Albert Wohlstetter, and others, began to understand that trying to describe the nature of  the long-term competition between the United States and the Soviet Union required methods of analysis that were by definition broad and multi-disciplinary in nature.   

For Marshall, to understand a competition between two nations meant studying the people, the organizations, and the decisionmaking structures of each country, including its comparative strengths and weaknesses.  To the RAND analysts, understanding the nature of a competition was not a study of raw numbers; it was about conducting a structured systematic analysis that looked to the past for trends and then constructing alternative futures based in part on that trend analysis.   

Because of the uncertainty about the future, the assessments would depend on the question; include factors such as ideology, demographics, political economics, financial institutions, cultures, religion, education, science, technology, research and development, manufacturing, budgetary constraints, organizational constructs, the possible emergence of disruptive technologies, and military organizations, tactics, doctrine, and force structure.   

By nature, net assessment is subject to considerable uncertainty. The principal outcome of Marshall’s analysis was to identify two or three areas of emerging problems or opportunities about which a decisionmakers still had time to make strategic choices and decisions. 


The Last Warrior

May 17, 2015

Nixon Presidential Library & Museum

Andrew Krepinevich and Barry Watts talk about their biography of Andrew Marshall, head of the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment – the Pentagon’s think tank – from 1973-2015. The co-authors are former members of Marshall’s staff.

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.”