Cover: Forecasts and Decisions

Forecasts and Decisions

A Commentary on Lustick and Tetlock 2021

Published in: Futures & Forecast Science (2021). doi: 10.1002/ffo2.81

Posted on Apr 2, 2021

by Steven W. Popper, Robert J. Lempert, Paul K. Davis, Tim McDonald

Lustick and Tetlock (2021) present a distinctive, persuasive case for theory-guided simulation and its use in the intelligence community (IC). The usefulness of their insight can be expanded by recognizing the relationship between the forecasting project, the decision-aiding project, and the knowledge project. We point out further issues for consideration with theory-guided simulation and the foresight project. We argue that when uncertainty prevails to the extent that forecasting becomes challenged, the real measures of merit should be better decisions, not better predictions. Recent advances in decision-making under deep uncertainty (DMDU) offer the prospect of providing just such aid to planning and decision. This, in turn, suggests a reconsideration of the IC (and other knowledge project endeavors') roles in supporting policy deliberations. Potential intersection and cross-fertilization between DMDU concepts and methods and forecasting technique might prove to be to the mutual benefit of both the forecasting and decision-aiding projects and transformative to conceptualization of the nature of the knowledge project.

Research conducted by

This report is part of the RAND external publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.