Case Studies

U.S. Army Air Defense Weapons-Mix

Dennis M. Buede, Terry A. Bresnick, "Applications of Decision Analysis to the Military Systems Acquisition Process", Interfaces, 22: 6 (1992), pp.110-125.

In 1988, the US Army air defense community was wrestling with a problem of developing the most cost-effective mix of low-altitude air defense weapons. The objective was to compare and rank order alternate weapons mixes for the Forward Area Air Defense (FAAD) system. A multi-attribute utility theory framework was used for the analysis.

With emphasis on FAAD system battalions, six alternate mixes, ranging from the current short-range defense (SHORAD) system to a mix of 36 line-of-sight, forward heavy (LOS-F-H), 18 non-line-of-sight (NLOS), and 36 line-of-sight, rear (LOS-R) weapons, were evaluated. An evaluation hierarchy (see Figure 1) was developed Figure 1 and each alternative was scored on a relative basis for each criterion at the lowest level of the hierarchy. Weights were assigned to the criteria that reflected both the importance of the criteria and the difference in capability among the alternatives. Of the criteria at the bottom level of the hierarchy, ten of them accounted for almost 80% of the evaluation differences.

Figure 2 Figure 2 shows the results of the analysis using the aggregated scores for operational effectiveness and the rough estimates of the costs. On the cost scale, a score of 100 reflects the cheapest alternative, while zero reflects the most expensive mix. The expert panel unanimously agreed that alternatives 5 and 6 are well below an acceptable threshold of effectiveness; alternative 1 is clearly the best but may not be affordable. While alternative 3 gets good scores in many areas, its ability to support the maneuver concept of AirLand Battle posed a serious risk.

Decision conferencing was used to enable all appropriate combat arms to participate. The group finally selected alternative 3 as the preferred forward area air defense system mix based on effectiveness and cost considerations.

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