Rethinking Risk in National Security

Lessons of the Financial Crisis for Risk Management

  • Michael J. Mazarr

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Background

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Michael J. Mazarr
      Pages 3-18
    3. Michael J. Mazarr
      Pages 19-34
    4. Michael J. Mazarr
      Pages 35-47
  3. Lessons of the Crisis—The Character of Risk

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 49-49
    2. Michael J. Mazarr
      Pages 51-64
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      Pages 65-75
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      Pages 77-88
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      Pages 89-99
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      Pages 101-112
    7. Michael J. Mazarr
      Pages 125-139
  4. Toward Improved Risk Practices

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 141-141
    2. Michael J. Mazarr
      Pages 143-155
    3. Michael J. Mazarr
      Pages 175-187
    4. Michael J. Mazarr
      Pages 189-206
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 207-246

About this book


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.


risk financial crisis security defense strategy finance cognitive bias behavioral economics uncertainty black swan comparative politics

Authors and affiliations

  • Michael J. Mazarr
    • 1
  1. 1.RAND CorporationArlingtonUSA

Bibliographic information