Game of Deception Game Theory Research Proposal

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¶ … Game of Deception (Game Theory)

Developing a Game of Deception using Game Theory

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Game theory is the theory of independent and interdependent decision making that is concerned with organizational decision making wherein the outcome involves the types of decisions made by two or more autonomous players, one of which may be nature itself, and in which no single decision-maker has complete control over the outcomes (Kelly, 2003). As this author points out, "Obviously, games like chess and bridge fall within the ambit of game theory, but so do many other social situations which are not commonly regarded as games in the everyday sense of the word" (Kelly, p. 1). Although game theory has been extended into a number of human endeavors in an effort to model real-world behaviors, its origins were focused on identifying theoretical solutions to the problems posed by uncertainty in games of chance (Schmidt, 2002). According to Edling (2002), the term "game theory" may be misleading for some observers because the techniques involved are essentially the same as those used to develop other decision-making scenarios. This author reports that, "Strictly speaking, game theory and decision theory are not that distinct; a decision is also said to be a game against nature, i.e., against an unintentional actor" (Edling, p. 197). Although game theory has been used for a wide range of industrial, sociological and environmental applications, historically, game theory has been used to model specific model military situations to identify superior alternatives (Schofield, 1999). Therefore, game theory provides researchers with a framework that allows the modeling of various decision making scenarios to identify the superior course of action for each player which can consist of an outright "win" or, in the alternative, the minimization of potential negative outcomes.

Statement of the Problem

Research Proposal on Game of Deception Game Theory Assignment

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, some observers were heard to lament the passing of the "good old days of Communism" when the enemy was well-known and all of the actors were states with known geographic coordinates (Kelemen & Kostera, 2002). As one analyst team points out, "The abrupt ending of the Cold War has left a vacuum in our strategic thinking. Neither our institutions nor our ways of thinking about national strategy have kept pace with the stunning changes of recent history" (Summers & Morin, 1995, p. 343). By sharp contrast, today's threats are much more nebulous and uncertain, and adversaries continually seek to develop low-cost countermeasures to the high-cost technology being deployed by the United States in its ongoing war on terrorism as well as to prosecute conventional warfare. One such low-cost tactic that can diminish the effectiveness of high-technology weapons systems is persistent area denial. According to Davis and Shapiro (2003), "During the past several years, all of the [military] services have worried about the challenges of antiaccess and area denial, widely regarded as key ways in which future adversaries will seek to undermine U.S. conventional military dominance" (p. 42).

Moreover, terrorist organizations and other non-state actors have become increasingly sophisticated in their use of such low-cost countermeasures because their very survival depends on it. In this regard, Davis and Shapiro add that, "Understanding that they are now at much greater risk for attack, the groups have a powerful incentive to use their own forms of antiaccess and area-denial strategies to greatly complicate U.S. military operations against them, even if found" (p. 42). In this regard, Shen, Chen, Cruz, Kwan and Kruger (2007) note that, "In an adversarial military environment, it is important to efficiently and promptly predict the enemy's tactical intent from lower level spatial and temporal information" (p. 1). Fortunately, technological innovations have created a dynamic modern battlefield that is amenable to analysis using game theory. According to a recent study by Castanon, Pachter and Chandler (2004), "The problem of persistent area denial arises in military operations, where an aircraft in a patrol area is trying to prevent ground vehicles from moving into position and launching a missile. Ground vehicles are detected as they move, and the aircraft can choose to pursue the vehicle, and destroy it if it is determined to carry a missile" (p. 3364).

Of course, enemy ground vehicle operators will likely fail to cooperate with the interdiction team and will seek to avoid detection at all costs in order to fulfill their launch missions. In this regard, Castonon and his colleagues add that, "In order to increase the chance of successful attack, the ground vehicle may use diversionary tactics, such as sending decoy vehicles to force the aircraft to move away and examine the decoys, thus opening a safe launch window for the missile vehicle" (p. 3364). These researchers conceptualize the respective combatant's strategic decisions concerning when to use a decoy vs. A missile vehicle, and when the aircraft should leave its patrol station and when to pursue a vehicle by using a two-person zero-sum Markov game framework. According to Edling (2002), "The main tool for describing stochastic processes is the stationary Markov process, of which the Poison process and Brownian motion are variants (differential equations are used in constructing stochastic models as well as to model change in probability distributions)" (p. 197). The use of game theory for such military applications is certainly not new, but dates back to at least World War II and thereafter when concepts of zero-sum two-person games were used to evaluate weapons systems (Weintraub, 1992).

The approach advocated by Castonon et al. is also congruent with Shen and his colleagues (2007) who advise, "A Markov decision process (MDP) can effectively model the uncertainties in the noisy military environment" (p. 2). Likewise, a recent study by Blasch, Chen and Pham (2008) uses the Markov game theory to outline an approach that is capable of enhancing threat detection, validation, and mitigation for future situational awareness operations in outer space. The results of the study by Castonon and his associates determined that the use of decoys provided a distinct advantage to the adversary when the actions of the aircraft are observed; however, this advantage is removed if the aircraft can prevent the observation of its movements. These findings also represent the basis of the instant study, the purpose of which is described further below.

Purpose of Study

The purpose of the proposed study is to provide a the background and overview needed to confirm or refute the efficacy of a two-person zero-sum game approach to address the persistent area denial tactics described above using the methodological approach described further below.


To accomplish the above-stated research purpose, the proposed study will use a mixed methodology consisting of a review of the relevant peer-reviewed, scholarly and governmental literature concerning game theory in general and its application on the battlefield in particular together with a series of sample vignettes illustrating its application in real-world settings. This mixed approach is highly congruent with a number of social researchers who emphasize the need to review what is already published to determine what is known in the literature. For instance, Fraenkel and Wallen (2001) report that, "Researchers usually dig into the literature to find out what has already been written about the topic they are interested in investigating. Both the opinions of experts in the field and other research studies are of interest. Such reading is referred to as a review of the literature" (p. 48). Likewise, Gratton and Jones (2003) emphasize that a review of the literature represents an essential starting point for almost all types of research projects today: "No matter how original you think the research question may be," they advise, "it is almost certain that your work will be building on the work of others. It is here that the review of such existing work is important" (Gratton & Jones, p. 51). A well conducted literature review will also succeed in identifying any existing gaps in the body of knowledge. In this regard, Gratton and Jones add that, "A literature review is the background to the research, where it is important to demonstrate a clear understanding of the relevant theories and concepts, the results of past research into the area, the types of methodologies and research designs employed in such research, and areas where the literature is deficient" (p. 51). Therefore, a review of the literature followed by a series of vignettes that illustrate the use of game theory to help decision-makers identify superior alternatives in a dynamic battlefield setting represents a viable and timely research approach.

Importance of Study

The importance of maintaining an accurate assessment of a battlefield and its combatants cannot be overstated; however, modern technology represents a two-edged sword for the U.S. military. For instance, according to Cruz and Schumacher (2007), "Pop-up threats usually appear or disappear randomly in a battle field. If the next pop-up threat locations could be predicted it would assist a search or attack team, such as in a persistent area denial (PAD) mission, in getting a team of unmanned air vehicles… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Game of Deception Game Theory.  (2009, January 11).  Retrieved June 3, 2020, from

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"Game of Deception Game Theory."  January 11, 2009.  Accessed June 3, 2020.