Cover: Assessing Force Sufficiency and Risk Using RAND's Multi-Period Assessment of Force Flow (MPAFF) Tool

Assessing Force Sufficiency and Risk Using RAND's Multi-Period Assessment of Force Flow (MPAFF) Tool

Published Oct 28, 2019

by Katharina Ley Best, Igor Mikolic-Torreira, Rebecca Balebako, Michael Johnson, Trung Tran, Krista Romita Grocholski

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Research Questions

  1. How can the Army rapidly explore risk and budget implications across a variety of proposed force structures, readiness policies, and force generation policies?
  2. How can Army force sufficiency analysis incorporate uncertainty and a large set of possible futures while still supporting rapid high-level decisionmaking?
  3. What force sizing, force shaping, readiness, and force generation decisions are significant drivers of future force sufficiency risk?
  4. What force sizing, force shaping, readiness, and force generation decisions are robust in terms of force sufficiency risk across a wide variety of possibly future demand scenarios?

This report describes RAND's Multi-Purpose Assessment of Force Flow (MPAFF) tool for conducting quick, time-phased analysis of force sufficiency under a variety of assumptions on force generation policies, readiness policies, and force employment policies for the U.S. Army. This tool is part of a larger analytic approach developed by RAND to assess the risks and costs of proposed changes in Army force structures and associated readiness and force generation policies in a more rapid way than traditional assessment approaches, while preserving enough fidelity to continue to support Army decisionmakers. The MPAFF tool comes in two variants. The original MPAFF tool is designed to provide quick-turn analysis to support Army force and budget planning. The MPAFF-J variant provides the same analysis in a package that supports running thousands (even millions) of cases rapidly to enable sensitivity analysis and exploration of the robustness of potential policy options. The approach embraced by both variants uses input data generally available to Army planners and makes use of existing models and parameters available to the Army and RAND. The information provided by this analytic approach provides insight on the capacity and capability of an Army force structure to meet various strategic demands, as well as the effects of broad changes to policies related to force size, capabilities mix, force generation and readiness, reserve component usage, and beliefs about future threats.

Key Findings

  • Traditionally, the Army assesses risk and budget implications across proposed force and policy options using lengthy and complex processes.
  • The Army currently does not have access to a planning tool that provides quick-turn results while still exploring the effect of policy options across time and different phases of a conflict.
  • The MPAFF set of tools allows the Army to quickly perform quantitative assessments of capacity and force sufficiency risk over time relative to a large set of possible future demands.
  • The MPAFF set of tools can identify the most sensitive force planning assumptions, allowing the Army to focus slower, more sophisticated modeling efforts on the sets of force structure options, force management policies, and future demand scenarios that are of the most interest.

Research conducted by

This research was sponsored by the Director of Program Analysis and Evaluation, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8, U.S. Army and conducted by the Strategy, Doctrine, and Resources Program within the RAND Arroyo Center.

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