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Paper No. 08-09

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JQ Smith, L Dodd and J Moffat

Devolving Command under Conflicting Military Objectives

Date: March 2008

Abstract: Command and Control (C2) arrangements aim to ensure their autonomous but rational commanders act in a way that is consistent with C2.s overall objectives. This can be a challenge, especially in scenarios where individual commanders face con.icting objectives: the success of a mission verses the compromise of a campaign. Building on our experiences in observing the reactions of military in simulated conflict, in this paper we demonstrate how multiattribute utility theory can be used to model the effects of such con.icting objectives on a particular commander.s actions. We show that the geometrical forms of expected utilities that arise from the assumption of commander rationality are qualitatively stable in a wide range of scenarios and therefore open to analysis. We proceed to demonstrate how an appreciation of this geometry can aid understanding of the relationship between complex operational environments and the C2 arrangements and also inform selection and training of personnel to address such conflicts appropriately.