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Personal profile

Biographical details

Ivanka Barzashka is the CEO and co-founder of Strand Analytica, a British-American tech startup dedicated to powering the emerging science of wargaming through technology for national security and defence applications.

Barzashka was a founding director of the Wargaming Network at King’s College London, serving as its co-director (2018-2019) with Professor Philip Sabin, director (2019-2020) and managing director (2020-2022) working with Dr David Banks as academic director. In these roles, she was responsible for the WN’s strategic direction, fundraising, international partnerships, management of research and administrative staff, including graduate and undergraduate students, and external advisors and consultants.

Research Leadership

During her tenure at King’s, School of Security Studies (SoSS) leadership recognised wargaming as a ‘priority growth area’. In 2020, an independent review of research groups at the SoSS found that the WN, was ‘highly active in an area of great potential’, had ‘achieved a great deal in the short time since it was established’, ‘moved quickly to establish an impressive network that crosses academic and policy arenas’ and was ‘one of the more active research groups’ in the department.

At King’s, Barzashka has led research projects sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York (2015-2021), the UK Ministry of Defence (2021-2022), King’s Together Fund (2020) and the SSPP Research Fund (2018-2019).

Policy Research and Impact

Outside King’s, Barzashka has served as principal investigator/project lead for studies for the Secretary of State’s Office for Net Assessment and Challenge in the UK Ministry of Defence. She has served as consultant to the National Security Secretariat in the Cabinet Office working with the Wargaming Centre at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory. Previously, Barzashka managed the Federation of American Scientists’ interdisciplinary assessment of Iran’s nuclear capability.

Barzashka has provided testimony to the House of Commons’ Defence Committee. Her work has been cited by major news outlets including Reuters, the Associated Press and the Washington Post

Barzashka was a MacArthur pre-doctoral fellow at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation and a visiting fellow at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. She holds a BS in physics from Roanoke College and an MA in science and security (with distinction) from King's College London, where she is currently completing a doctorate in war studies research. Barzashka has educational training in military operations and strategy from Cornell University and business entrepreneurship from Stanford University’s Business School.

Teaching

In 2016, Barzashka established a co-curricular programme for strategic analytical wargaming to train postgraduate students, research staff and faculty to support principal investigators who need research teams to collect and analyse data for complex analytical wargames. Since 2018, the programme has become a flagship WN educational activity coordinated by Anna Nettleship, a programme alumnus.

From 2018 to 2019, Barzashka lectured at the Department of War Studies on missile offence and defence technologies as part of an MA module on Current Issues in Science and Security. In 2016, she was a seminar tutor for a BA module on Conflict and Diplomacy, which included a simulation on Syria peace negotiations.

Research interests

Barzashka’s applied academic research has been at the intersection of security and defence strategy and military and dual-use technologies, including nuclear weapons, nuclear fuel cycle technologies, missile offence and defence, space, and cyber weapons. She has examined questions related to grand strategy, integrated deterrence, nuclear deterrence, crisis and war escalation and termination, proliferation and arms control verification, with a geographic focus on the United States, United Kingdom, Europe, Ukraine, Russia and Iran.

Barzashka’s fundamental research interests include epistemology, methodology, research integrity and ethics in analytical wargaming. She has developed new methods combining strategic analytical wargaming, decision and risk analysis. Barzashka has also developed and applied physics-based methods to evaluate missile defence effectiveness, uranium enrichment performance and measure nuclear latency.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

External positions

McArthur Nuclear Security Fellow, Stanford University

1 Sept 201530 Jun 2016

Keywords

  • U Military Science (General)
  • JZ International relations

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