Decision-Support Tools for National Policymakers: Fool’s Gold or Treasure Trove?

January 2022
Topics: Strategic Planning, Policy, International Relations, Modeling and Simulation
Christopher Ford Ph.D., The MITRE Corporation
USA vs. China images on a map
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Decision-support tools cannot replace the human judgment of high-level decision-makers, but they can assist national leaders in addressing complex national challenges. This paper offers a brief outline of one emergent decision-support methodology that is being developed and evaluated at the MITRE Corporation to support decision-making in advancing U.S. interests in our country’s strategic competition with China. This MITRE methodology captures rigorously-structured insights from a community of human Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), and then incorporates these inputs into a Bayesian Belief Network (BBN) model. Beyond simply testing candidate Courses of Action (COAs) against this aggregated expertise, this methodology also permits users to adjust its parameters to test policy ideas against alternative environments. It thus has great promise in helping U.S. leaders cope with a challenging security environment.

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