Problems of Estimating Military Power

by Andy W. Marshall

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Mere tabulations of military forces are not meaningful estimates of military power, which is always relative to the military posture of some other country or alliance. Until we understand the decisionmaking process within typical military bureaucracies and take account of the political balancing, coordination problems, information flow, conflicting objectives, etc., we cannot effectively forecast future military postures beyond the four to five years decisively determined by present military commitments and inertia. Models of the decisionmaking behavior of a military organization should treat it as an adaptively rational multi-objective process, rather than an omnisciently rational single-objective process like that shown in the SAFE force planning game. This paper was prepared for presentation to the American Political Science Meetings in New York, September 6-10, 1966. 22 pp.

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