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Zeroing In: A Capabilities-based Alternative to Precision Guided Munitions Planning

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Publication Date: September 2005

Publisher(s): Pardee Rand Graduate School

Author(s): Sam Loeb

Topic: Military and defense (Military spending)

Type: Report


The process currently used to inform precision guided munitions (PGM) purchasing decisions predicts demand for munitions based on a few specific scenarios and does not include cost as an integral factor. As a result, planners are not able to readily see tradeoffs between the cost and effectiveness of a munitions portfolio across a variety of uncertain war scenarios. This dissertation uses the methodologies of exploratory modeling and robust planning to create a capabilities-based framework for the analysis of PGM purchasing decisions. The research shows that exploratory analysis can be applied to understand how changes in one’s budget, production capacity and preparation time affect the optimal munitions portfolio for a single war scenario, although the Department of Defense must be prepared to face a multitude of possible wars with limited resources. Combining exploratory analysis with robust decisionmaking techniques makes it possible to create improved and flexible munitions portfolios that perform well across a variety of possible futures while operating within an economic framework.