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This monograph presents and illustrates in some detail an analytical framework and methodology for defensewide capability-area reviews and describes new enabling tools to support capabilities analysis and related tradeoff work within the Department of Defense and the military Services. The Building Blocks to Composite Options Tool (BCOT) is used to generate and screen preliminary options, and the Portfolio-Analysis Tool (PAT) enables users to evaluate in a portfolio-analysis structure those options that pass screening. Variants of the methods can be applied for analysis across capability areas or for strategic-level defense planning, i.e., force planning to establish the overall mix and balance of capabilities. The concepts are illustrated with applications to the capability areas of Global Strike and Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD). Further research is recommended in four areas that promise to have a high payoff for defense planning: analysis cutting across capability areas; strategic-level portfolio analysis; advancing the science of exploratory analysis; and refinement of BCOT and PAT to make them easier to use, understand, modify, and maintain and also to enrich their utility for exploratory analysis and to incorporate new techniques for portfolio analysis developed in the fields of economics and business planning.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Background: The Capabilities-Development Process

  • Chapter Three

    A Framework and a Generic Terms of Reference

  • Chapter Four

    Tools to Enable the Framework

  • Chapter Five

    A Notional Example: Global Strike

  • Chapter Six

    A Second Example: Ballistic Missile Defense

  • Chapter Seven

    Conclusions and Next Steps

  • Appendix A

    Joint Capability Areas

  • Appendix B

    Implications for Systems Engineering and Modeling and Simulation

  • Appendix C

    RAND’s Portfolio-Analysis Tools

The research described in this report was prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The research was conducted in the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the OSD, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Department of the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Monograph series. RAND monographs present major research findings that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND monographs undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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