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A Primer on Developing Measures of Effectiveness

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Journal article

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To understand the operational level of war, students must appreciate the newest Joint doctrine. At the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, an important doctrinal concept is elements of operational design. As an instructor at the college, I have observed that measures of effectiveness are a difficult aspect of operational design for students to understand. Because my own knowledge of the concept was lacking, I conducted some research on the topic by scanning existing Joint doctrine and asking around the school. My only success came from individuals at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command TRADOC Analysis Center, who provided a NATO manual on best practices for assessing command and control systems. This manual is informative about measures of effectiveness, albeit not in the context of operational design, and it is too technical and specialized for most staff officers. The dearth of knowledge surrounding measures of effectiveness extends beyond the college student population. This conclusion is not meant to disparage anyone or any institution but to highlight the general lack of understanding surrounding the concept of measures of effectiveness. This article reflects my efforts to describe a practical but rigorous method to develop measures of effectiveness that a nonspecialist can employ. The article will cover- 1 Examining the utility of metrics in general 2 Analyzing how current Joint doctrine portrays measures of effectiveness as part of the elements of operational design 3 Exploring how fields outside the military deal with concepts like measures of effectiveness 4 Mining those other fields for insights to help bridge some of the gaps in current military doctrine and 5 Providing observations on the implications of my findings on the emerging Army doctrine of design and related concepts.

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  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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