Operational Risk Management is Ineffective at Addressing Nonlinear Problems
MARINE CORPS COMBAT DEVELOPMENT COMMAND QUANTICO VA
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A good indication of how much damage will result from a fire is the number of firemen fighting it. The more firemen fighting a fire, the more damage occurs. Therefore, in order to reduce the resulting damage, fewer firemen should be used to fight fires. This example illustrates how the wrong conclusion can be arrived at by taking a complex, nonlinear problem and oversimplifying it to fit a linear solution. Plotting the number of firemen versus the degree of damage will yield a linear graph from which one can draw the conclusion that more firemen will result in more damage. In linear systems, each variables assigned value is independent of any other variable in the system. Keeping the rest of the system constant, one can manipulate only one variable and the system will give perfectly predictable results as the value of the one variable moves along its entire range. A matrix is another way of representing every permutation of possible outcomes of a linear system. Because the Marine Corps risk management process, called operational risk management ORM, is a linear solution system, it cannot be effectively used to address more complex, nonlinear problems.
- Safety Engineering