Welcome to Mystics & Statistics

Welcome all to the Mystics & Statistics blog. It is a blog intended to specifically look at quantitative historical analysis. While we have a strong interest in history, our interest it not just to record facts and figures, or to study history for history’s sake, but our interest is two-fold: 1) to be able quantify and analyze history so we can establish what we actually know and understand beyond dates and events, and 2) to be able to use that analysis to address present problems. In effect, we want to be able to use history, as opposed to just study it.

In many respects, this has always been the work that The Dupuy Institute and its predecessor organizations have been doing since 1962. But, because of the nature of our customers and the work we have done, it has always been narrowly defined to primarily addressing military and defense issues. While this will probably remain the focus of the blog due to backgrounds of the principal posters, we hope to actually expand this to some extent to be able the address other issues outside of defense. What we are interested in is quantitative historical analysis of any type. We do not think there is another blog that addresses this.

I will not attempt to define what quantitative historical analysis is. This is similar to econometrics, which relies heavily on historical trends to analyze economics. In fact, economics is the most quantified of the social sciences, and it has certainly helped make the discipline the most rigorous and useful of the social sciences. There is a discipline out there called “cliometrics” which is defined by Wikipedia as “systematic application of economic theory, econometric techniques, and other formal or mathematical methods to the study of history (especially, social and economic history). It is a quantitative (as opposed to qualitative or ethnographic) approach to economic history.” Our work is also related to operations research. In fact, the British operational research community recognizes a sub-discipline called “historical analysis.” There is a brief Wikipedia article on “quantitative history,” but they really do not describe what we do, and we have been doing it for decades. So what we are looking at historical work that is similar to economics, econometrics, cliometrics, operations research, historical analysis, quantitative history and quantitative social science.

Hopefully, with this blog we will be able to demonstrate some of the work we have been doing, some of the analysis we would like to pursue, and with the help of the guest bloggers, expand this examination past the parochial interest of the principal posters and perhaps lead this blog into areas of more general applicability and usefulness.

Sincerely,

Chris Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence
Executive Director and President
The Dupuy Institute

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Christopher A. Lawrence
Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience.
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Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation.
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His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024).
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Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

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One comment

  1. Excellent description of the work that The Dupuy Institute does! I especially like the link to econometrics, and use acquisition and use of historical data. It is surprising how many forecasters discount the detailed analysis of history! I’m curious to understand more about how you might use other tools from economics, such as game theory, which seems to capture some important aspects of competition, and cooperation, which might yield some powerful explanations of complex military situations, such as current day Syria.

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