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Measuring the Effects of Knowledge in Military Campaigns

W. L. Perry and J. Moffat
The Journal of the Operational Research Society
Vol. 48, No. 10 (Oct., 1997), pp. 965-972
DOI: 10.2307/3010115
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3010115
Page Count: 8
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Measuring the Effects of Knowledge in Military Campaigns
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Abstract

A particularly difficult problem in command and control is that of identifying the relationship between intelligence, decision and combat outcome. The problem centres on three things: (1) an adequate representation of the situation confronting the commander on the battlefield; (2) an adequate measure of combat outcome; and (3) an appropriate metric linking knowledge of the first to the second. In this paper, we focus on the third of these by developing a measure of the knowledge possessed by the commander at the time he takes his decision and by relating this to combat outcomes. Combat outcomes are represented using traditional attrition-based metrics and the combat situation is simply the size, location and identity of enemy units. Therefore, the possible number of identified enemy units arrayed against the friendly commander constitutes the set of hypotheses on alternative situations. Surveillance assets provide the commander with evidence that is used to update the probability distribution. Knowledge if then represented as the product of two components: residual knowledge, the knowledge gained from the updated probability distribution, and detection knowledge, the knowledge from the detection itself. Information entropy was used to develop a metric that reflects the degree to which the commander understands the situation confronting him. The metric was applied in a UK Ministry of Defence study of a proposed Airborne STand-Off Radar (ASTOR) to measure the effects of improved surveillance on combat outcomes.

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