The Air Force and Operations Research : A Commentary on I. B. Holley's Paper.

by Robert L. Perry

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A commentary on the paper "Operations Research and the Air Force: A Case History in Doctrine and Organization, 1942-1968," an analysis of the USAF's failure to fully exploit operations research (OR). Holley avoided certain harsh judgments implicit in his critique. OR finds ways to perform military tasks more effectively and efficiently by evaluating the operational performance of equipment and weapons, and by analyzing the relationship between tactics and weaponry. Two logical extensions--prediction of the course of future tactical and strategic operations, and assessment of organizations' operating efficiency--would involve large policy issues, e.g., weapons choice, strategic doctrine, and research and development procedures. However, USAF OR has addressed only small, quantifiable issues-- e.g., bombing accuracy, gunnery practices, and maintenance, supply, and inventory problems--and has protected the status quo by generating evidence to counter analyses performed by non-USAF groups. 16 pp. (LC)

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