Accession Number:



Complexity, Global Politics, and National Security

Descriptive Note:

Symposium proceedings

Corporate Author:


Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



Complexity theory can be viewed as the native form for investigating the properties and behavior of the dynamics of nonlinear systems. By nonlinear systems, one means the arrangement of nature -- life and its complications, such as warfare -- in which inputs and outputs are not proportional where the whole is not quantitatively equal to its parts, or even, qualitatively, recognizable in its constituent components and where cause and effect are not evident. It is an environment where phenomena are unpredictable, but within bounds, self-organizing where unpredictability frustrates conventional planning, where solution as self-organization defeats control and where the bounds are the actionable variable, requiring new ways of thinking and acting. The inquiry into the nature of nonlinearity, and the rise of Complexity theory has of necessity paralleled the development of the computer. Nonlinearity is extremely difficult to work with unless aided by the computer. The 11 contributions to this symposium were as follows The Simple and the Complex, by Murray Gell-Mann America in the World Today, by Zbigniew Brzezinski Complex Systems The Role of Interactions, by Robert Jervis Many Damn Things Simultaneously Complexity Theory and World Affairs, by James N. Rosenau Complexity, Chaos, and National Security Policy Metaphors or Tools, by Alvin M. Saperstein The Reaction to Chaos, by Steven R. Mann Clausewitz, Nonlinearity, and the Importance of Imagery, by Alan D. Beyerchen Complexity and Organization Management, by Robert R. Maxfield Command and Out of Control The Military Implications of Complexity Theory, by John F. Schmitt Complexity Theory and Airpower A New Paradigm for Airpower in the 21st Century, by Steven M. Rinaldi and Chaos Theory and U.S. Military Strategy A Leapfrog Strategy for U.S. Defense Policy, by Michael J. Mazarr. A 28-page bibliography on Chaos and Complexity is included.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Operations Research
  • Civil Defense
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement: