Technical Supplement for Course of Action Simulator
Luke A. Maier
Technical Paper 2014-1v2
The Course of Action Simulator (CAS) was developed as an analytical and educational model of how two states adopt courses of action in response to threats, resource constraints, and complex priorities. This analytical tool was featured in several presentations and publications, and its purpose is to help explore how agent-based modeling can inform security studies. This technical paper outlines the model’s underlying calculations and algorithmic theory to make it as transparent as possible so that its limitations and strengths can be evaluated by users seeking to advance strategic modeling.
Modeling strategic decision-making as algorithmic behavior provides a disciplined, transparent, and potentially data-driven method for forecasting how threats evolve and how we can address them. Designing algorithms that articulate how states make security decisions can help U.S. strategists understand and forecast how other nations will react to changes in their security environment. Advancing algorithmic models of state behavior can provide valuable opportunities to capitalize on rapidly advancing computational power and to address the need for strategic-level simulation for national security research. The following sections: 1) introduce the model’s basis in international relations scholarship, 2) explain why a state’s selection of a course of action resembles algorithmic behavior, and 3) detail the calculations that CAS uses to represent states’ identities, power, and priorities in an agent-based model.
Citation: Maier, L. 2014. Technical Supplement for Course of Action Model. Technical Paper 2014- 1v2. Fort Bragg, NC: Laboratory for Unconventional Conflict Analysis and Simulation.
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