A variable resolution approach to modeling command and control in disaster relief operations

by Walter L. Perry, John Y. Schrader, Barry Wilson


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This paper is an annotated briefing which describes the use of variable resolution modeling techniques to understand the functioning of a proposed new system for reporting damage from national disasters and in directing subsequent relief operations. The modeling technique illustrated is an example of a more general process of using an existing modeling testbed to rapidly generate and evaluate alternative concepts of operation for the command and control (C2) of critical processes. The paper focuses on the construction and modification of C2 models designed to assist in the development of concepts and procedures to support disaster relief decisions and to control their execution. The objective is to suggest a process to evaluate alternative operational concepts against standard measures of information quality such as completeness, relevance, timeliness and accuracy. The construction process follows a top-down approach starting with a crude, highly aggregated representation of the essential C2 network, operational procedures and operational processes. Subsequent modifications consist of recursively increasing the level of resolution at critical network facilities and information processing activities. In this way, we are able to gain a clearer understanding about which system components are likely to degrade the quality of information.

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