The Impact of Equipment Availability and Reliability on Mission Outcomes

An Initial Look

by Charles T. Kelley, Jr.


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This documented briefing describes an initial effort to gain insights on how the availability and reliability of Army equipment affect ground combat results and to assess the consequent implications for current and future forces. Combat results were generated using the JANUS model, a force-on-force simulation. For the purposes of this effort, JANUS was modified to take into account equipment availability before an engagement begins and equipment failures during the engagement. The principal scenario used was a forced entry by U.S. forces into Kosovo to neutralize Serbian forces and to stop ethnic cleansing. A second scenario based in Poland was used to check the broader applicability of results from the Kosovo scenario. The legacy force issues addressed include the effect of equipment availability and reliability on a unit’s combat capability, including a comparison with results derived from Lanchester Theory; the effects of combat aging; and the potential contribution from rebuilding equipment. The future force issue addressed was the comparative contributions of improved equipment supportability relative to other combat-enhancing characteristics such as the use of robotics.

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The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Army and conducted in RAND Arroyo Center.

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