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Military Decision and Game Theory

O. G. Haywood Jr.
Journal of the Operations Research Society of America
Vol. 2, No. 4 (Nov., 1954), pp. 365-385
Published by: INFORMS
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/166693
Page Count: 21
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Military Decision and Game Theory
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Abstract

The United States military doctrine of decision prescribes that a commander select the course of action which offers the greatest promise of success in view of the enemy's capabilities of opposing him. This paper analyzes two battle decisions of World War II, and develops the analogy between existing military doctrine and the 'theory of games' proposed by von Neumann. Current U. S. doctrine is conservative. The techniques of game theory permit analysis of the risk involved if the commander deviates from current doctrine to base his decision on his estimate of what his enemy intends to do rather than on what his enemy is capable of doing. The idea of 'mixed strategies' presents more difficulties but may be useful, particularly for command decisions for small military organizations.

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