Finding Candidate Options for Investment

From Building Blocks to Composite Options and Preliminary Screening

by Paul K. Davis, Russell D. Shaver, Gaga Gvineria, Justin Beck

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This report describes and documents a methodology and a prototype tool, the Building Blocks To Composite Options Tool (BCOT), for identifying investment options suitable to a particular defense capability area. The report is intended primarily for users of BCOT and those who will extend its functionality in the future, i.e., working analysts and modelers. The methodology ensures that a broad range of investment options is considered initially. It then uses a screening technique to narrow the range to those deemed worthy of more-extensive assessment in a fuller portfolio-analysis framework, such as an assessment using RAND’s Portfolio Analysis Tool (PAT). The methodology draws upon some classic techniques from economics and operations research but extends them significantly and suggests pragmatic approximations in applications, particularly in capabilities-based planning. BCOT has been implemented in both Analytica® and Microsoft Excel.® However, it is a prototype, not a finished product. Much work is needed to fully develop exploratory-analysis techniques needed to assure robustness of results. The most important next step is to hone the exploratory-analysis concepts with a relatively complex application that includes many uncertainties about relative emphasis of scenarios and assumptions to be made in estimating effectiveness.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    BCOT’S Structure and Flow

  • Chapter Three

    The Centralized Interface: Inputs and Outputs

  • Chapter Four

    A Notional Example

  • Chapter Five

    Conclusions and Next Steps

  • Appendix A

    Effectiveness Calculations

  • Appendix B

    Subtleties in the Concept of Nearness to the Efficient Frontier

The research described in this report was prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and draws also on research for the Missile Defense Agency (MDA). The research was accomplished in the Acquisition and Technology Policy Center (ATPC) of RAND’s National Defense Research Institute (NDRI), a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the OSD, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Department of the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

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