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Tank Crews and Platoons as Living Systems.
ARMY RESEARCH INST FOR THE BEHAVIORAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCES ALEXANDRIA VA
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The purpose of this paper is to assess the applicability and utility of living systems theory LST, as developed by James G. Miller 1978, for analyzing the operations of small military combat units. General systems theories have been developed in recent years to provide interdisciplinary approaches for the discovery of identities isomorphisms among various levels of systems and for developing general theories of systems behavior e.g., Bertalanffy, 1968. In such theories a system is generally defined as a functionally related Set of elements which together form a whole. Systems in todays world are innumerable, ranging from the abstract e.g. systems of justice, management systems to the concrete e.g. computer systems, weapons systems. LST provides a frame- work for the study of the behavior of living systems, which are defined as concrete open systems having identifiable inputs, throughputs, and outputs in the forms of matter-energy and information. Living systems which have been studied under the rubric of LST include a modern city Vandevelde and Miller, 1975, health delivery systems Pierce, 1972, and industrial organizations Duncan, 1972. Small combat units certainly fit the definition of a living system it thus appears worthwhile to examine LST as an integrated framework for analyzing the complex man-machine interactions ongoing within them.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE