Aaron B. Frank

Photo of Aaron Frank
Senior Information Scientist
Washington Office


Ph.D. in computational social science, George Mason University; M.A. in national security studies, Georgetown University; B.A. in political science, Boston University


Aaron Frank is a senior information scientist specializing in the development of analytic tradecraft and decision-support tools for assessing complex national security issues. He is interested in problems associated with uncertainty, the philosophy and history of science, decision-making, and the way in which models mediate between data and theory to understand individual choices and collective action. He has employed agent-based models, wargames, and other analytic tools to assess the benefits and limitations of historical and experimental data and generate missing information via simulation to analyze problems ranging from regional conflicts between national governments, to military innovation and transformation, to the dynamics of social identities and the formation of new communities. 

Frank's recent projects have primarily focused on two challenges, each of which seek to bring computation closer to national security decision-making. One area is in the field of Computational Social Science, where he is working with advanced research agencies on the assessment, development, and use of social science theories, models, and simulations in support of incorporating assessments of individual and group behavior into national security decision-making. The second area is focused on assessing the quality, completeness, and analytic usability of data held within enterprise information technology systems, and developing long-term visions for how data, analytics, machine learning, and Artificial Intelligence can assist senior executives and military leaders in decision-making by extracting more value from the data in their possession and developing new capabilities to improve data quality and completeness.

Previous Positions

Associate, LMI; Project Manager, George Mason University; Lead Engineer, Computational Social Science, BAE Systems; Associate, Booz Allen Hamilton

Selected Publications

Yuna Huh Wong, John M. Yurchak, Robert W. Button, Aaron Frank, Burgess Laird, Osonde A. Osoba, Randall Steeb, Benjamin N. Harris, Sebastian Joon Bae, Deterrence in the Age of Thinking Machines, RAND Corporation (RR-2797-RC), 2020

Ben Connable, Michael J. McNerney, William Marcellino, Aaron Frank, Henry Hargrove, Marek N. Posard, S. Rebecca Zimmerman, Natasha Lander, Jasen J. Castillo, James Sladden, Anika Binnendijk, Elizabeth M. Bartels, Abby Doll, Rachel Tecott, Benjamin J. Fern, Will to Fight: Returning to the Human Fundamentals of War, RAND Corporation (RB-10040-A), 2020

Michael J. McNerney, Ben Connable, S. Rebecca Zimmerman, Natasha Lander, Marek N. Posard, Jasen J. Castillo, Dan Madden, Ilana Blum, Aaron Frank, Benjamin J. Fernandes, In Hyo Seol, Christopher Paul, Andrew Parasiliti, National Will to Fight: Why Some States Keep Fighting and Others Don't, RAND Corporation (RR-2477-A), 2018

Ben Connable, Michael J. McNerney, William Marcellino, Aaron Frank, Henry Hargrove, Marek N. Posard, S. Rebecca Zimmerman, Natasha Lander, Jasen J. Castillo, James Sladden, Will to Fight: Analyzing, Modeling, and Simulating the Will to Fight of Military Units, RAND Corporation (RR-2341-A), 2018

Aaron Frank, "Computational social science and intelligence analysis," Intelligence and National Security, 32(5), 2017

Bradley Knopp, Sina Beaghley, Aaron Frank, Rebeca Orrie, Michael Watson, Defining the Roles, Responsibilities, and Functions for Data Science Within the Defense Intelligence Agency, RAND Corporation (RR-1582-DIA), 2016

Aaron B. Frank, "Toward computational net assessment,", 14(1), 2016

Aaron Benjamin Frank, Margaret Goud Collins, Simon A. Levin, Andrew W. Lo, Joshua Ramo, Ulf Dieckmann, Victor Kremenyuk, Arkady Kryazhimskiy, JoAnne Linnerooth-Bayer, Ben Ramalingam, J. Stapleton Roy, Donald G. Saari, Stefan Thurner, and Detlof von Winter, "Dealing with femtorisks in international relations," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(49), 2014