Senturion: A Predictive Political Simulation Model   [open pdf - 172KB]

"The expanding complexity of sub-national and cross-national threats to national security strains the analytical capabilities of the Department of Defense (DoD) and the intelligence community, highlighting the need for methods and tools that can make this emergent complexity manageable. With an ever-increasing spectrum of threats, more objective analytic capabilities that draw on all-source intelligence and advances in computational methods are needed to help provide insight and aid in the understanding of individual and group behavior. This paper summarizes work utilizing the Senturion predictive analysis software at the National Defense University (NDU). The Center for Technology and National Security Policy (CTNSP) at NDU has been testing the Senturion capability since 2002, and has begun to support the application of this new technology in DoD. Senturion is a simulation capability that analyzes the political dynamics within local, domestic, and international contexts and predicts how the policy positions of competing interests will evolve over time. The authors begin by describing the methodology underlying the software, and then provide an overview of three case studies that used the software: a predictive analysis of the stabilization and reconstruction phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), the run-up to the Iraqi elections in January 2005, and the leadership transition in Palestine following the death of Yasser Arafat. Each of these projects tested the application of the software's modeling technology to unfolding events. Each analysis was performed and briefed to senior government decision makers well in advance of events; the forecasts from each project tracked well with reality, often providing counterintuitive results. The approach provides policy makers and analysts with a tool for anticipating the outcome of complex political events that can also provide a detailed explanation of why events may not unfold as expected with traditional means of analysis."

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