Anyone Can Be A Historian

In the world of government contracting, it is hard for a contractor to remain working with the government for longer than 3-5 years. Problems happen, people annoy each other, mistakes are made, frictions develop, and pretty soon people start wondering if they could do better with another contactor. So it not unusual to see contractors fall in and out of favor. I have seen it happen repeatedly.

Many years ago a company that was a competitor to Dupuy’s HERO conducted a study. It was well done as they hired one of our employees as their employee and another of our employees as a consultant. They got a follow-on contract. But, this being the government, as is often the case, the follow-on contract came a year or so after the original effort was completed. The original team had move to other projects in the company. As it was, defense budgets were in a period of decline, so the company decided they could conduct the next study using available staff so they could keep them employed. The former HERO employee was not available as he had been assigned to another project, and that project manager did not want to let him go. The consultant was not called back. Instead they took some available engineers who were between contracts and put them on the project. After all, anyone can do history.

Needless to say, the next study was a failure. I was later told by a manager in the government that they would never hire that contractor back. Apparently this work requires enough expertise that we cannot be easily replaced by any bright guy.

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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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3 Comments

  1. You mean there is no substitute for ethnocentric, chauvinistic, nationalistic database researchers who revealed their irreplacable skills in the AHF (and have nothing better to do than to insult other users who disagree with their anglo-saxon entourage)? I beg to differ, a vague assertion. Other than that you cannot replace a person the higher their qualification is. TDI lacks PhD contenders in certain fields, especially technical aptitude, as well as (war) economy, which seem to be poorly covered.

  2. I have recently received my copy of War by Numbers from Amazon. I was pleasantly surprised by how readable it is. Everything that I have read so far is quite clear.

    I am also impressed by the clarity and depth of statistical analysis, the objectivity and the quality of the supporting data.

    For anyone who is interested in quantitative, historical modelling this is a Must Have.

    Well done Christopher and the Dupuy Institute!

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