Robert A Zirkle

Professorial Lecturer

Part-time Faculty


Robert Zirkle has been a Research Staff Member at the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA)—a Federally Funded Research and Development Center—since January 1990. He has participated in a wide variety of quantitative and qualitative research, ranging from tactical nuclear stockpile issues to conventional arms control to weapons testing and acquisition to culture and language training within professional military education.

Dr. Zirkle’s areas of expertise include modeling chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons effects; verification and validation of software; and combat modeling. During his tenure at IDA, he has worked on projects for the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Intelligence Community. Prior to joining IDA, he worked for four years as a defense policy analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists. Dr. Zirkle is a graduate of the University of Illinois with a B.S. in Physics and B.A. in Political Science. He was awarded his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Political Science Department in 2008, where he focused on international relations and national security issues. His dissertation examined organizational culture and politics within the US Army and their impact on the service’s force structure, doctrine, and weapon systems.

Combat and individual soldier modeling; WMD effects and modeling; M&S verification and validation; Middle East area studies; study design and methodology; urban warfare; Irregular Warfare; counter-terrorism; military training and education (focus on culture and language); homeland security

Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Capstone: Defense Policy Analysis

Dissertation: “Communities Rule: Intra-Service Politic in the United States Army,” Massachusetts Institute of Technology, February 2008.

Selected Book Chapters:

Co-author, “Civil-Military Relations and Technology Absorption,” in Eric Arnett, ed., Military Technology and Offensive Capacity in Southern Asia (London: Oxford University Press, 1997).

“Restoring US Launch Capacity,” in Steven Guerrier and Wayne Thompson, eds., The Exploration and Utilization of Space (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1989).

Selected Articles/Papers:

Co-author, “A Framework for Success: Maximizing Collaborations between Federal Organizations,” InterAgency Journal, Vol., 7, No. 3 (Fall 2016): 5-27.

Co-author, “Prioritization Framework: A Step Toward Cost-Effective VV&A,” Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (I/ITSEC), Paper No. 16045, 2016.

Co-author, “A New Methodology for Estimating Nuclear Casualties as a Function of Time,” Health Physics Journal, Vol. 101, No. 3 (September 2011): 286-298.

Co-author, “A New Methodology for Estimating Blister Agent (Mustard, HD) Casualties as a Function of Time,” Journal of Medical Chemical, Biological and Radiological Defense, Vol. 101 (30 December 2010).

Co-author, “Technology, Civil-Military Relations, and Warfare in the Developing World,” Journal of Strategic Studies, Vol. 19, No. 2 (June 1996).

Selected IDA Publications:

Co-author, Generalizable Methodology for Validation and Verification, IDA Paper P-5355, July 2016.

Co-author, A Methodology for Examining Collateral Effects on Military Operations during Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and/or Nuclear Attack—Operational Effectiveness Loss Multiplier (OELM), IDA Paper, P-5202, April 2015.

Budgetary Déjà Vu: The Army National Guard and Post-War Drawdowns, IDA Paper P-5149, August 2014.

Co-author, BioWatch Analysis of Alternatives, IDA Paper NS P-5083, November 2013.

Co-author, The Infusion of Language, Regional and Cultural Content into Military Education: Status Report, IDA Document, D-4261, December 2011.

Co-author, Verification and Validation of the Representation of Human Response to Biological Agents in Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Casualty and Resource Estimation Support Tool (NBC CREST) Version 4.0, IDA Paper P-4627, August 2011.

Co-author, Iran’s Petroluem Refineries – An Open Source Primer, IDA Document D-4231, January 2011.

Co-author, Technical Reference Manual: NATO Planning Guide for the Estimation of Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN), Allied Medical Publication- 8(C), IDA Document D-4082, August 2010.

Co-author, Analysis of Shape-Charge Systems to Fulfill U.S. Marine Corps Explosive Neutralization Requirements, IDA Document D-3969, December 2009.

Co-author, Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT) Advanced Concepts and Technology Demonstration: IDA Final Report, IDA Document NS D-4001, December 2009.

Co-author, Assessment of Models and Simulations: Urban Conflict Representation, IDA Document NS D-3339, May 2006.

Co-author, Marine Air Ground Task Force Mine Countermeasures – Beach Zone to Objectives, IDA Document D-2883, November 2003.

Co-author, JCATS Verification and Validation Report, IDA Document D-2791, October 2002.

Co-author, The Effect of Weapons Modernization on Regional Force Balances, IDA Document D-2455, April 2000.

Co-author, Full Dimensional Protection: The Military Records and Reports Dimension, IDA Paper P-3362, August 1999.

Co-author, Force Planning Models for Readiness Assessments, IDA Document D-2291, March 1999.

Co-author, The Flank Countries and the CFE Treaty, IDA Paper P-3438, December 1998.

Co-author, IDA Review of the Army War Reserve Program, IDA Paper P-2210, April 1997.

Co-author, Advanced Sensor and Information Processing Technologies for Peacekeeping Operations, IDA Paper P-3112, September 1996.

Co-author, Costs and Effectiveness of Synthetic Aperture Radars for the Open Skies Mission, IDA Paper P-3022, September 1994.

Co-author, 73-Easting Battle Replication – A Janus Combat Simulation,” IDA Paper P-2770, September 1992.

Co-author, Retaining a Flexible Non-Strategic Nuclear Forces (NSNF) Option, IDA Paper P-2618, July 1991.