October 26, 2011

Driving in the Dark: Ten Propositions About Prediction and National Security

By Richard Danzig

The Department of Defense relies on predictions about future threats and potential scenarios to forecast needs and select and acquire major weapons systems. Yet history has shown that an uncertain national security environment dictates the need for adaptability and flexibility when predictions are incorrect, and the U.S. military must be better prepared when predictions are wrong.

In Driving in the Dark: Ten Propositions About Prediction and National SecurityDanzig examines the nature of prediction in national security and offers strategic recommendations for how the U.S. Department of Defense can improve its predictive capabilities while also preparing for predictive failure. Danzig recommends that the Department of Defense adopt new strategies to improve its predictive abilities while also preparing to be unprepared. He suggests narrowing the time between conceptualizing programs and bringing them to realization; building more for the short-term and designing operationally flexible equipment; and valuing diversity and competition. Policymakers will always drive in the dark, but by adopting these recommendations, they may better respond to unpredictable conditions and prepare the United States for unforeseen threats.

Authors

  • Richard Danzig

    Member, CNAS Board of Directors, Senior Advisor, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory

    Richard Danzig’s primary activity is as a consultant to U.S. Intelligence Agencies and the Department of Defense on national security issues. He is a Senior Advisor to the Joh...

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