This blog is reflective of my professional projects, academic research, and personal interests. It is an eclectic mix of thoughts, observations, and stuff that is just interesting to me. I started this blog in March 2011 with the hope of writing for it about once a week. Given life events, the demands of professional projects, dissertation research and family I never achieved that level of proficiency. Nevertheless, I have enjoyed the feedback that I have received on the posts I have written, and generally find that taking the time to write out my ideas helps me in other aspects of my work. Now that I have completed my PhD I’m hoping to return to my original goal of posting with greater frequency.
My research interests are varied, but generally revolve around questions of uncertainty, the unknown, and competition—generally at the level of the international system, e.g. how do states identify, characterize, and counter threats in the international system or identify opportunities? What kinds of technological investments should they be making in order create the capabilities they might need to cope with threats or capitalize on opportunities? What research or analytic methods are available to us, or can be invented to improve our ability to understand the tradeoffs between alternative choices being made under such uncertainty?
These kinds of questions have led me in many directions in my scholarly research, which parallels my professional work, where I have focused on intelligence analysis, net assessment, wargaming and scenarios, policy and strategic planning, and generally trying to cope with the limits of what is empirically knowable when were are concerned about the future, the alternative choices available to us, and the interdependence of outcomes of the decisions of others. Surprisingly, internal relations theory provides very few answers to these kinds of questions despite the explosion of formalisms and concepts that occurred in the late 1970s and 80s after borrowing heavily from economics. I believe that ecology and evolution remain under exploited by international relations scholars and practitioners and that their application to international relations could produce a new wave of concepts and models better suited to the contemporary international system than our existing stock of theories and tools that grew up in the Cold War and the afterglow of its conclusion. I hope that the research oriented postings here resonate with others with similar interests and frustration.
I completed my PhD in Computational Social Science at George Mason University in 2012 by studying the prospective uses of Agent-Based Modeling in intelligence analysis, particularly with respect to analytic tradecraft and the relationships between producers and consumers. In addition to my studies at George Mason, I attended the Santa Fe Institute’s Complex Systems Summer School (2007), earned an MA in National Security Studies from Georgetown University (1999), and received my BA in Political Science from Boston University (1997). Before moving over to George Mason as a full-time researcher/doctoral candidate in September 2010, I have worked for Logistics Management Institute, BAE Systems, and Booz Allen Hamilton working on analytic and technology projects for the US government.