Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Christina Spoons


Militarized technologies, large support infrastructures, and the unintended consequences of increased violence demonstrate that the current strategies are unsustainable to end modern conflict. However, the potential exists to precisely identify patterns from empirically reduced adversarial behaviors. Therefore, the purpose of this quantitative, non-experimental synchronic retrospective analysis was to determine the relationship between the distance, fatalities, and time (independent variables) to the hazard force (dependent variable) executed by ISIS in Syria between the years 2007 to 2015. A data set containing 12,326 records for attacks committed by U.S. adversaries in 20 countries between the years of 2007-2015 was analyzed using multiple linear regression. The theoretical foundation for this study was based on symmetrical and asymmetrical applied gaming theory, which differentiates between adversarial sizes and strategies. According to this theory, the potential direction between two attacks occurs because (a) adversaries operate with rationality, and (b) between any two targets (A and B); the rational preference is determined when the ratio of value of B over A is greater than A over B. This rational preference was calculated as intensity and was called hazard force. The analysis demonstrated a statistically significant association between fatalities and distance. The potential for positive social change as a result of this study may be through modeling adversarial events more accurately, reducing human costs, and redirecting finite resources to greater human endeavors, or creating policies with greater efficacy.