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

by Robert L. Perry

Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback16 pages $20.00 $16.00 20% Web Discount

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)

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.