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Defense Resource Planning Under Uncertainty: an Application of Robust Decision Making to Munitions Mix Planning

Defense Resource Planning Under Uncertainty: an Application of Robust Decision Making to Munitions Mix Planning

Lempert, Robert J., author

"Today's defense resource planners face unprecedented uncertainty. The planning processes currently used to determine what forces and capabilities will be needed to address future threats to our national security and interests may be vulnerable to predictive failure. To manage these risks, a new approach to planning is needed to identify strategies that perform well over a wide range of threat and funding futures and thus are better able to manage surprise. This report describes how robust decision making (RDM) may help address this need. RDM, a quantitative decision support methodology for informing decisions under conditions of deep uncertainty and complexity, has been applied to many policy areas in the last decade. This document provides a proof of concept application of RDM to defense planning, focusing on the air-launched munitions mix challenge. The study embeds a fast-running "weapons on targets" allocation model within a "scenario generator" that explores many thousands of plausible, future twenty-year series of military campaigns. The RDM analysis uses these simulation models to stress-test alternative munitions mix strategies against many plausible futures. The analysis then identifies a robust munitions mix strategy, which interestingly depends not only on the desired portfolio of alternative weapons types but also on the rules used to replenish depleted weapons stocks after each campaign. The study also suggests how RDM might best be integrated into current Department of Defense planning processes and some of the challenges that might be involved"--Publisher's description

eBook, Electronic resource, Book. English. Electronic books.
Published Santa Monica, Calif. : RAND 2016

This resource is available electronically from the following locations


Statement of responsibility: Robert J. Lempert, Drake Warren, Ryan Henry, Robert W. Button, Jonathan Klenk, Kate Giglio
ISBN: 0833093053, 9780833093059
Note: Includes bibliographical references (pages 85-86)
Note: Online resource; title from PDF title page (RAND, viewed February 16, 2016).
Physical Description: 1 online resource (xxii, 86 pages) : color illustrations, color charts.
Series: Research report ; RR-1112-OSD
Subject: United States Armed Forces Ordnance and ordnance stores.; Decision making.; Armed Forces Weapons systems.; Armed Forces Equipment and supplies.; Expenditures, Public.; Armed Forces Procurement.; United States Armed Forces Weapons systems.; TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Military Science; Armed Forces Ordnance and ordnance stores.; United States Armed Forces Equipment.; United States Armed Forces Procurement.; Strategy.; United States. Department of Defense.; United States. Department of Defense Appropriations and expenditures.; United States.
Alternative Title: Application of Robust Decision Making to Munitions Mix Planning
Series Title: Research report (Rand Corporation) ; RR-1112-OSD.
Local note: JSTOR Books at JSTOR Open Access


  1. Preface
  2. Figures
  3. Tables
  4. Summary
  5. Acknowledgments
  6. Abbreviations
  8. Introduction
  9. Planning with Predictive Failure

  10. Munitions Mix Challenge

  11. Organization of This Report

    2. The RDM Approach to Munitions Mix Planning
  12. Comparison of RDM and Traditional Analysis

  13. RDM Enables Decision Makers to Discover Robust Strategies Through Iteration

  14. XLRM Factors Shape the Design of the Experiment

    2. RDM Munitions Mix Analysis
  15. Initial Analysis of a Broad Range of Munitions Mix Strategies

  16. Analysis of Potentially More Robust Munitions Mix Strategies

  17. Stress-Testing of Strategies over Many Futures

  18. Scenarios That Illuminate the Vulnerabilities of Strategies

  19. Performance of Big+Deter-Mixed Strategy in the Moderate Scenario

  20. Performance of the Big+Deter-Mixed Strategy in the Extreme Scenario

  21. Future Focus on Purchase Rules in Addition to Portfolio Goals

    2. Conclusions
  22. A Robust Munitions Mix Strategy

  23. The Future of RDM in Defense Planning

    2. References.