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For Immediate Release
November 30, 2015

IPFW Anthropology Professor Applies Research for Pentagon as ISIS Analyst

IPFW Anthropology Professor Applies Research for Pentagon as ISIS Analyst Image 1
Lawrence Kuznar Print-quality image

FORT WAYNE, Ind.—Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) Anthropology Professor Lawrence Kuznar never thought his research on conflict and economic decision making in herding societies would lead him to the Pentagon as an ISIS analyst.

Having spent time in Peru early on in his career studying violence and conflict in herding societies, Kuznar, who is also formally trained in mathematics, created several computer models with colleagues predicting violence in those societies. His published work led to a collaboration with the defense industry locally at Northrop Grumman and, eventually, a call from the Pentagon to see if he’d be interesting in applying his research and expertise as an analyst.

“The Pentagon wanted to get social scientists like myself together to look at conflict in certain parts of the world,” said Kuznar. “Iraq, Afghanistan, and Sudan near the Horn of Africa were areas of importance and escalating conflict," he added.

That experience led Kuznar to participate in Strategic Multi-layer Analysis projects (SMA), where problem solving methodologies are worked on for combatant commands such as Special Operations Command and Central Command in the U.S. Armed Forces.

“We expedite research and development and make rapid assessments and analysis for whoever needs it,” said Kuznar. “The military works very hard through open discourse to solve problems.”

Due to recent terrorist threats from the terrorist group known as ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh, Kuznar has been regularly consulting with the Pentagon. That work recently included a planning workshop at American University for continuing research on ISIS for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and attending a national security conference, the 9th Annual Strategic Multi-Layer Assessment Conference, sponsored by the OSD, along with the Department of Homeland Security and Director of National Intelligence, held at Andrews Air Force Base.

Kuznar says that much of what has been studied as of late, especially following the deadly attacks in Paris over a week ago, is the idea that ISIS is a social movement, as opposed to simply an organization, and how to combat that movement.

“Social science research related to societal decision making applies here,” said Kuznar. “We are working out how and when to jump in and stop an adversary.”

For more information on Kuznar and his research contact him at 260-582-9241 or kuznar@ipfw.edu.

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