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The U.S. Army Asymmetric Warfare Group has used the Vulnerability Assessment Method (VAM) for a variety of large-scale interagency exercises at the operational and theater levels and previously commissioned a handbook for that purpose. Because the group also advises deployed tactical units, it asked RAND Arroyo Center to revise the existing handbook to make it more useful at the operational and tactical levels, with a primary audience of brigade combat team commanders and staffs. The resulting document is designed to fit into a cargo pocket. It explains how the VAM can be embedded into doctrinal planning processes and describes a process for identifying adversary, friendly, and other key stakeholder centers of gravity to support the development of plans that will exploit adversary vulnerabilities while protecting friendly ones. It can help commanders and staffs, and other leaders and planners, identify what is most important in the adversary and nonadversary systems to avoid wasting resources by pursuing less-productive courses of action.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Vulnerability Assessment

  • Chapter Three

    VAM in the Context of Military Planning

  • Appendix A

    The Military Decision Making Process

  • Appendix B

    District Stability Framework

  • Appendix C

    Protection/Threat and Hazard Assessment

  • Appendix D

    Nine-Step Cultural Methodology

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Army and conducted by the RAND Arroyo Center.

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