Zeroing In

A Capabilities-based Alternative to Precision Guided Munitions Planning

by Sam Loeb

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The process currently used to inform precision guided munitions (PGM) purchasing decisions predicts demand for munitions based on a few specific scenarios and does not include cost as an integral factor. As a result, planners are not able to readily see tradeoffs between the cost and effectiveness of a munitions portfolio across a variety of uncertain war scenarios. This dissertation uses the methodologies of exploratory modeling and robust planning to create a capabilities-based framework for the analysis of PGM purchasing decisions. The research shows that exploratory analysis can be applied to understand how changes in one’s budget, production capacity and preparation time affect the optimal munitions portfolio for a single war scenario, although the Department of Defense must be prepared to face a multitude of possible wars with limited resources. Combining exploratory analysis with robust decisionmaking techniques makes it possible to create improved and flexible munitions portfolios that perform well across a variety of possible futures while operating within an economic framework.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    The Munitions Requirements Process

  • Chapter Three

    Towards a Capabilities-based Approach

  • Chapter Four

    Overview of Relevant Literature

  • Chapter Five

    Exploratory Analysis and Robust Decision Making

  • Chapter Six

    Setting Up the Illustrative Analysis

  • Chapter Seven

    Illustrative Analysis of A Capabilities-based Approach

  • Chapter Eight

    Conclusions and Limitations

  • Appendix A

    Data Used In Illustrative Analysis

  • Appendix B

    Munitions Considered In This Report

Research conducted by

This document was submitted as a dissertation in September, 2005 in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the doctoral degree in public policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. The faculty committee that supervised and approved the dissertation consisted of Richard Hillestad (Chair), John Peters, and Steven Bankes.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Dissertation series. Pardee RAND dissertations are produced by graduate fellows of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, the world's leading producer of Ph.D.'s in policy analysis. The dissertations are supervised, reviewed, and approved by a Pardee RAND faculty committee overseeing each dissertation.

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