The Wisdom of Crowds: Insights from the Defense Futures Simulator

WoTR Wisdom Of Crowds Insights From Defense Futures Simulator

This week, the Biden administration released its proposed defense budget for fiscal year 2023. What should we make of it? We have a powerful resource to help us understand that question: Last year, the American Enterprise Institute, Center for Strategic and International Studies, and War on the Rocks jointly released the Defense Futures Simulator. Our goal was to make defense budget decisions more accessible, transparent, and engaging. After tens of thousands of simulations, we have been able to glean some initial insights into how a subset of national security experts think about defense budget decisions.

This analysis is drawn from a sample of roughly 1,000 simulations run in mid-2021. The simulator does not collect data on user identities, but we expect that users are more educated and focused on defense issues than the average American. Therefore, this should not be seen as a representative sample of the American people, but rather a subset of defense experts in the United States and beyond. Inputs may not reflect individuals’ actual preferences since users could simply be testing the software or examining alternative strategies. Nonetheless, our initial assessment of these inputs yields some intriguing results.

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