SHOOT THE HORSE AND BUILD A BETTER BARN DOOR: EXPLORING THE POTENTIAL FOR A SUPERFORECASTING METHODOLOGY TO STRENGTHEN THE DHS LEADERSHIP SELECTION PROCESS
MacKinnon, Douglas J.
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Over the course of several years, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has worked diligently to improve the quality of its leaders. Such efforts have focused almost exclusively on initiating or expanding programs related to leadership development. To date, the impact of that exertion might be charitably described as tepid. While the issues associated with existing leaders have received ample attention, the selection process that precipitated them has not. This gap represents an opportunity to explore a nascent space and suggest new solutions that target the problem at the source. This thesis examines the process of leadership selection at a network level and finds several systemic problems related to measurement, structure, and decision-making. These problems bear a striking resemblance to those observed in the intelligence community and its ability to accurately predict complex future geopolitical events. One method that has dramatically improved the accuracy of geopolitical predictions is superforecasting. At its core, leadership selection is a prediction or a forecast. It is an educated but nonetheless imperfect best guess about how a candidate observed today will perform tomorrow. These features collectively suggest a novel question. Could DHS use a superforecasting methodology to improve its leadership selection process? This thesis follows the progression of that question to an unexpected destination and offers several concrete recommendations.
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