System Dynamics as a Conceptual Framework for Long-Term Defence Planning Initiatives

  • R. G. Coyle
  • R. Goad

Abstract

The paper discusses the problem of evaluating competing or comple­mentary long-term defence planning initiatives. It is agreed that the complex inter-relationships which may exist between them, and between the geographical areas in which they would be deployed, create a need for a framework for conceptual and quantitative analysis. The paper then dem­onstrates a method for formulating conceptual frameworks which clearly show the issues involved, and which can serve as agenda for discussion or as a basis for a quantitative model. The method is applied in the context of NATO’s Northern Region, giving both a diagrammatic and a quantitative simulation model, the latter being based on fictitious data. The paper closes with a brief discussion of the advantages and limitation of the method.

The process of long-term defence planning in NATO is, in principle, very simple; military needs are idenfitied, possible solutions to those needs are proposed and evaluated, and the most promising solutions are implemented, subject to budgetary and political constraints. In practice, matters are more complicated, not least because the evaluation problem is technically very difficult. Different proposals affect NATO’s ability to deal with a potential confrontation with the Warsaw Pact in different ways, and a coherent discussion of long-term defence issues requires a common, but tractable, analytical structure which facilitates evaluation and explanation of their relative contributions to NATO security.

This paper outlines such an analytical structure: a System Dynamics formulation of a potential NATO/WP conflict in the context of a developing crisis. The effect of a number of long-term defence initiatives on the ensuing conflict is illustrated by way of an influence diagram of their mutual interactions. The main theme of the paper is to show, by way qf the influence diagram, the conceptual relationships between these initiatives, and thus to indicate qualitiatively their potential effect on NATO security. In so doing, a firm analytical basis for quantifying these effects will also be laid, and the paper will give some illustrative examples, using fictitious data.

Keywords

Europe liME Defend 

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References

  1. Coyle, R.G., ‘The technical elements of the system dynamics approach’, European Journal of Operational Research, 14 (1983), 359–370CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Coyle, R.G., ‘Management system dynamics’, John Wiley and Sons, Chichester, 1977Google Scholar
  3. Coyle, R.G., ‘System thinking applied to counter-insurgency warfare’, Policy Sciences, to appearGoogle Scholar
  4. Coyle, R.G., ‘The use of optimization methods in system dynamics models ’, Dynamica, to appearGoogle Scholar
  5. Wolstenholme, E.F., ‘System dynamics in perspective’, Journal of the Operational Research Society, 33 (1982), 547–556Google Scholar
  6. Wolstenholme, E.F., and Coyle, R.G., ‘The development of system dynamics as a methodology for system description and qualitative analysis ’, Journal of the Operational Research Society, 34 (1983), 569–581Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. G. Coyle
    • 1
  • R. Goad
    • 1
  1. 1.Shape Technical CentreThe HagueThe Netherlands

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