Accession Number:

ADA394035

Title:

Chaos Theory for the Practical Military Mind

Descriptive Note:

Research paper

Corporate Author:

AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLL MAXWELL AFB AL

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

1997-03-01

Pagination or Media Count:

68.0

Abstract:

The military professional is a practically-minded individual. This is not, stereotypes aside, the result of an inflexible, unimaginative nature, but comes from pursuing a profession that emphasizes mission accomplishment above all else. This paper is written with such a practical mindset, and begins with a definition of the most pertinent aspects of Chaos Theory for military applications. This is kept at a conceptual level for the benefit of the novice looking to understand the big picture before pursuing the topic further, and for those individuals who do not need to work at a more mathematical level. Examples of Chaotic systems of military interest are given. This work also addresses some of the difficulties in applying this mathematical theory metaphorically, and to social situations. For, although it is still being developed, Chaos Theory is being exploited by military strategists, economists, political analysts, and others with results that range from pragmatic and useful, to fanciful nonsense. The military professional could benefit from understanding some of the pitfalls of potential misapplication of Chaos Theory. Last, this paper provides an open-ended discussion of how to apply Chaos Theory, by stepping the reader through the process of evaluating a system that is not strictly physical, for the potential applicability of Chaos Theory.

Subject Categories:

  • Theoretical Mathematics
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE