A New Analytic Technique for the Study of Deterrence, Escalation Control, and War Termination

by Paul K. Davis


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The study of deterrence, escalation control, and war termination (DEWT) is important because the resulting concepts and mindsets affect the way nations formulate and analyze defense programs and political-military strategies in peacetime, and the way they develop and contemplate choices in time of crisis or conflict. This paper discusses methods for improving the quality of thought and discussion on such matters. It describes a new analytic approach that uses techniques of artificial intelligence to reflect in computer programs many of the principal insights about decisionmaking developed over the last 20 years. In successive sections, the paper considers past DEWT studies and some of their shortcomings, identifies some requirements of analytic models of DEWT issues, describes a modeling approach using examples from prototype computer programs, illustrates how the approach can affect decisions, and offers suggestions for applying analogous techniques to other policy problems.

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