DARPA Contracts IAI to Develop a Data-driven, Robust, and Efficient Assessment of Deterrence Strategies and Tactics in Gray Zone Conflicts

Current military conflicts often take place in a “Gray Zone,” marked by more intense political, economic, informational, and military competition than in normal steady-state diplomacy, but lesser than in conventional war. Studying deterrence in a Gray Zone is complicated by the need to demonstrate the achievement of success, defined as the absence of an adversarial action, and the need to show that the deterrent action taken was a primary cause of the success. To achieve this, improvements are needed in modeling threat intentions, explaining observations based on data, and in holistically examining the complex set of conditions, actors, tactics, strategies, and outcomes across conflict. IAI will develop a Data-driven, Robust, and Efficient Assessment of Deterrence (DREAD) for measuring and explaining the success of deterrent strategies and tactics in Gray Zone conflicts. A statistical framework and a novel modeling tool will be developed. Data collection and model building will be grounded in an innovative theoretical understanding of deterrence in Gray Zone conflicts in which multi-dimensional deterrent policies target a variety of actors who are challenging the status-quo or influencing the challenger(s). This deterrence framework will move beyond a traditional focus on military threats that are targeted at a single key actor, and instead theorize about multiple, different non-military deterrent strategies that are targeted at a variety of actors. Deterrence policies will be conceptualized as encompassing military, economic, political, and cyber components. DREAD will initially analyze the success of deterrence information and influence operations, which is a part of Cyber Information Warfare. DREAD can also be applied to assessing and explaining adversary intentions and actions from open source data in industries such as information technology, health care, and politics.