Dr. Robert E. Burks, Jr. is a Senior Lecturer in the Defense Analysis Department of the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS). He holds a Ph.D. in Operations Research form the Air Force Institute of Technology and a M.S. in Operations Research from the Florida Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from the United States Military Academy. He is a retired logistics Army Colonel with more than thirty years of military experience in leadership, advanced analytics management and logistics operations who served as an Army Operations Research analyst at the Naval Postgraduate School, TRADOC Analysis Center, United States Military Academy, and the United States Army Recruiting Command. He has led multiple analytical study teams responsible for Army Transformation (organizational change) issues and his work includes applying analytical methods to develop solutions for complex problems in support of the Combined Arms Support Command, the Army’s sustainment think tank and premier sustainment learning institution. In addition, he has served as the technical expert on studies involving deployment, equipping, manning, training, and logistics operations of military forces in multiple theaters of operation. He currently teaches the Modeling for Decision Making and Statistics Courses at NPS. His research interests include Irregular Warfare and Stability Operations modeling, Information Operations modeling, Wargaming and Agent Based Modeling and Simulation. His recent major awards include the Military Leadership Award (2013), Joint Service Warfare Award (2013), Military Operations Research Journal Award (2011) for developing analytical methods for solving the Theater Distribution Problem, and the Omar Bradley Fellowship for the Study of Mathematical Sciences (2011).
The United States Department of Defense (DoD) and the military services have employed wargaming for well over a century to prepare for war and other operations. The Naval War College first employed naval wargames in the late 19th century at the tactical and strategic levels. During the period between world wars, Plan Orange wargaming at the Naval War College was a key contributor to the strategic plan that led to the defeat of the Japanese Empire in 1945. Since that conflict, wargaming techniques have become widespread within U.S. organizations and throughout the world.