CNA's approach to research is a modern iteration of the Newtonian principle that complex, dynamic processes are best understood through direct observation of events and people.
That was the methodology CNA analysts first applied in the 1940s when they pioneered the field of operations research by helping the Navy address the German U-boat threat. Not content to study the problem from afar, this small group of MIT scientists insisted on deploying with Navy forces in order to observe operations and collect the data needed for meaningful analyses. Their groundbreaking work, and the anti-submarine warfare equations it produced, set a standard for operations research methods that CNA has maintained for 75 years.
Today, with more than 500 professionals at the headquarters and 50 researchers in the field, CNA still takes a multi-disciplinary, real-world approach to the work. On-site analysts carefully observe all aspects of a process—people, decisions, actions, consequences—and then collaborate with a headquarters-based research team to assess data and arrive at findings.