The debate about NATO's defense options has been exacerbated by the lack of a coherent analytic framework. This paper argues that NATO defense planning should make use of conceptual structures akin to global political-military war gaming. For game-structured analysis to be effective, models must be unequivocally strategic in perspective, flexible enough to address a vast range of questions, transparent enough to establish credibility, and interactive enough for non-modeler-analysts to use the models directly. Finally, assumptions in the aggregated strategic-level models must be related to insights gained from empirical experience and detailed studies. This paper describes recent progress on many of these issues in the RAND Strategy Assessment Center, and it proposes a cross-national cross-cultural effort to develop an improved analytic framework that could be used throughout the NATO community.
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