Planning Combat Outposts to Maximize Population Security
MASSACHUSETTS INST OF TECH CAMBRIDGE
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Combat outposts COPs are small, well-protected bases from which soldiers reside and conduct operations. Used extensively during the Surge in Iraq, COPs are usually established in populated areas and are prevalent in the counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan in 2010. This research models population security to determine combat outpost locations in a battalion area of operation. Population security is measured by level of violence, level of insurgent activity, and effectiveness of host nation security forces. The area of operation is represented as a graphical network of nodes and arcs. Operational inputs include pertinent information about each node. The model allows the commander to set various weights that reflect his understanding of the situation, mission, and local people. Based on trade-offs in patrolling and self-protection, the deterministic model recommends the size and locations for emplacing combat outposts and conducting patrols. We use piecewise linear approximation to solve the problem as a mixed-integer linear program. Results are based on two representative scenarios and show the impact of an area of operations characteristics and commanders weights on COP size and locations.
- Operations Research
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics