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Complex Operational and Organizational Problems

PROJECT: Military Study Solution Strategies

Dean S. Hartley III

(Contribution to NATO SAS-026 Panel, July 2001, included in the
NATO Code of Best Practice (COBP) for C2 Assessment, 2002,
which can be obtained from the CCRP website using their order form.)

Project Metadata Keywords
Label Name Other Year DurationYrs
Client NATO SAS-026 Panel NATO
Dates 1999 2
Employer DOE Oak Ridge Facilities
Partner N/A
Pubs NATO Code of Best Practice for C2 Assessment, CCRP co-author 2002
Team David S. Alberts, Tim Bailey, Paul Choinard, Cornelius d'Huy, Uwe Dompke, Richard E. Hayes, Reiner Huber, Don Kroening, Stef Kurstjens, Nick Lambert, Georges Lascar, Christian Manac'h, Graham Mathieson, James Moffat, Orhun Molyer, Valdur Pille, David Signori, Mark Sinclair, Mink Spaans, Stuart Starr, Swen Stoop, Hans Olav Sundfor, Klaus Titze, Andreas Tolk, Corinne Wallshein, Gary F. Wheatley, John Wilder
Command and Control (C2, C3I, C4ISR)
Configuration management
Consequence Management
Geopolitical analysis
Global War on Terrorism (GWOT)
Human factors
Human, Social, Cultural Behavior (HSCB) Modeling
Impact analysis
Irregular Warfare (IW)
Military study process
Modeling, Simulation & Gaming (MSG)
Operations Other Than War (OOTW)
Risk analysis
Software issues
Software reuse
Stability Operations (SASO, SSTR)
Warfare modeling

Part of the results of the COBP project was the consideration of the role of the military study process:

It is important is that there be a conscious effort to create (and follow) a study plan that uses the insights and data that are assembled by the study to create a solution. The study plan consists of two inter-related parts – the formulated problem (the What) and the solution strategy (the How).



The creation of a successful solution strategy is more art than science; however, the following principles are useful guides to the art.

Figure 1. Prerequisites and Process for Solution Strategies

Figure 2. Research design: options vs scenarios

Figure 3. Research design details from one cell

Figure 4. Research design connection of multiple tools

This example is created for illustration and does not represent a real study; however, it does show many of the elements of real solution strategies. In particular, it illustrates a plan for conducting specific purposeful activities and connecting them to yield the desired result.


The basic guidance for the process for creating a good solution strategy is documentation, iteration, and concentration on the desired product of the study. Documentation is required to remind the team of what has been done, why and how it supports the end product. Iteration is required because everything affects everything else. Concentration on the desired product of the study is required because that is the touchstone for reducing complexity – and achieving success.

  • Human nature leads the analyst to focus on reducing the effort.
  • Human nature leads the sponsor to focus on reducing the time required.
  • A tool that includes all of the required factors and produces the desired output has the appearance of perfection; however, investigation is required to determine whether it is a "good" model of the problem.
  • It will require effort to focus on improving the quality.



With most textbooks, the bulk of the text is concerned with teaching about the available tools, not with how to use them as an ensemble. Each of the following references provides a piece of the picture.

Clemen, Robert T., Chapter 1 in Making Hard Decisions: an Introduction to Decision Analysis, Duxbury Press, 1990.

Hillier, Frederick S. and Gerald J. Lieberman, Chapter 2 in Introduction to Operations Research, Fifth Edition, McGraw-Hill, 1990.

Hoeber, Francis P., Editor, Chapter 1 in Military Applications of Modeling: Selected Case Studies, Military Operations Research Society and Gordon and Breach Science Publishers, 1981.

Hughes, Wayne P., Jr., Editor, Overview in Military Modeling, Military Operations Research Society, 1984.

Jaiswal, N. K., Chapter 1 in Military Operations Research: Quantitative Decision Making, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1997.

Quade, E. S., Editor, Chapters 1, 16, and 17 in Analysis for Military Decisions, Military Operations Research Society, 2000.

Rosenhead, Jonathan, "Problem Structuring Methods," in Encyclopedia of Operations Research and Management Science, Second Edition, Gass & Harris, Eds., Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2001.

Wagner, Harvey M., Chapter 1 in Principles of Management Science, Second Edition, Prentice-Hall, 1975.

The first entry below provides a good starting point for learning about methodologies/ tools that may be useful. The second gives a brief overview of OOTW tool types, describe more expansively in the third entry.

Gass, Saul I. and Carl M. Harris, Editors, Encyclopedia of Operations Research and Management Science, Second Edition, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2001.

Hartley, Dean S., III, "Military Operations Other Than War," in Encyclopedia of Operations Research and Management Science, Second Edition, Gass & Harris, Eds., Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2001.

Hartley, Dean S., III, Operations Other Than War: Requirements for Analysis Tools Research Report, K/DSRD-2098, Lockheed Martin Energy Systems, Inc., 1996.

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