Some Futures of Operations Research.

by Henry S. Rowen

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A consideration of three probable trends in operations research (systems analysis) in a talk before the 22nd Military Operations Research Symposium: (1) An increasing concern for the web of relationships linking the problems of national security and national welfare. Civilian and military, and foreign and domestic problems are interrelated through the transferability of ideas, skills, and analytic tools. For example, a computer model designed for military logistics has proved useful in the dispatch of New York City fire-fighting equipment. An analogous concern is how military training programs affect civilian education and employment (and vice versa). (2) Reinforced attempts to expand analysis beyond present limits of the quantitative and technical. This does not mean that analysts must consider the full range of social and political elements, but that they should be imaginative in developing analytic tools that reflect as yet unquantified elements. (3) An unfortunately widespread skepticism about the utility of analysis and distrust of rational approaches to problems. The effects of the other trends may help to counteract it, and doses of interdisciplinary cooperation, improved communication, and modesty are also prescribed. 14 pp.

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