Rethinking Risk in National Security - Lessons of the Financial Crisis for Risk Management

by Michael J. Mazarr
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Michael J. Mazarr Rethinking Risk in National Security - Lessons of the Financial Crisis for Risk Management
Michael J. Mazarr - Rethinking Risk in National Security - Lessons of the Financial Crisis for Risk Management

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This book examines the role of risk management in the recent financial crisis and applies lessons from there to the national security realm. It rethinks the way risk contributes to strategy, with insights relevant to practitioners and scholars in national security as well as business. Over the past few years, the concept of risk has become one of the most commonly discussed issues in national security planning. And yet the experiences of the 2007-2008 financial crisis demonstrated critical limitations in institutional efforts to control risk. The most elaborate and complex risk procedures could not cure skewed incentives, cognitive biases, groupthink, and a dozen other human factors that led companies to take excessive risk. By embracing risk management, the national security enterprise may be turning to a discipline just as it has been discredited.


Michael J. Mazarr

Further information

Illustrations Note:
IX, 246 p.
Table of Contents:
1. Risk, Judgment and Uncertainty.- 2. Defining Risk.- 3. Approaches to Risk in National Security.- 4. Risk and Uncertainty.- 5. Risk is What We Make of It.- 6. Indifferent to Consequences.- 7. The Swans to Worry About Are Gray.- 8. Risk Becomes Personalized.- 9. What You Don’t Know Can Destroy You: Ignorance and Correlated Risk.- 10. Risk, Incentives and Culture.- 11. The Role of Risk in Strategy.- 12. Outcome Assessment of the Emerging U.S. National Security Strategy.- 13. Principles of Effective Risk Management.- 14. Managing Uncertainty.
“This book is both extraordinarily relevant and timely for today's policy makers. The complexities of strategy development and decision making under conditions of uncertainty are not going away.  Doing strategy right is hard, but as Mazarr shows, incorporating a better conception of risk is essential.” (Frank Hoffman, Senior Research Fellow, Center for Strategic Research, Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University, USA)

“The financial industry remains haunted by a systemic failure of firms, regulators, and other market participants to recognize emerging risks that nearly brought down the global economy.  This book could not have arrived at a better moment in history, having the financial crisis to use as a model for strengthening national security risk management at a critical time.” (Clifford Rossi, Executive-in-Residence and Professor of the Practice at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, USA)

Presents innovative analysis applying lessons from the 2007-2008 financial crisis to risk management issues in national security

Offers incisive suggestions for improving national security risk strategy

Casts new light on how skewed incentives, cognitive biases, groupthink, and other human factors have led to excessive risk-taking and should be understood with caution

Media Type:
Palgrave Macmillan US
Biography Artist:
Michael J. Mazarr is a Senior Political Scientist at the RAND Corporation, USA. The author of 12 books, he has been a professor and dean at the National War College, USA, a special assistant to the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), USA, and a defense aide on Capitol Hill.
1st ed. 2016
Number of Pages:

Master Data

Product Type:
Paperback book
Release date:
April 27, 2016
Package Dimensions:
0.228 x 0.154 x 0.014 m; 0.38 kg
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