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Strategic Munitions Planning in Non-Conventional Asymmetric Operations

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Conference paper

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Most NATO nations are facing reduced defence budgets, while at the same time participating in multiple demanding operations around the world. Combined with the global economic situation, munitions procurement is under close scrutiny from finance ministers. This paper discusses approaches to strategic munitions procurement in the face of uncertain current and future operations, extended operation duration, procurementmanufacture lead times of months or even years, collateral damage considerations, use of strategic weapons in non-strategic engagements and disposal of obsolete munitions stockpiles. Current and recent operations, while obviously a good source of data if available, may not reflect future operations or doctrine. As such, the usefulness of historical data must be treated with care. Methodologies considered by this paper include the Target-Oriented Methodology TOM, Level-of-Effort Methodology LoE, Monte-Carlo Simulation, Marginal Analysis and military judgement. While each approach has its advantages and disadvantages, results need to be robust, objective, transparent and repeatable in order to justify the expense of potentially millions of dollars per munition. Furthermore, it was observed that while several types of weapon system might be able to perform a given mission, there is a trade-off between the cost of the munition and the risk of attrition to the platform utilising it. This paper demonstrates that, while hard data is always desirable, the uncertain nature of the future makes the use of military judgement inescapable. Detailed scenario development is the key to strategic planning, resulting in the requirement for a mix of munitions guided by the types and quantities of tasks that will need to be executed. For air-launched weapons, the requirement for non-precision munitions is virtually nil, while minimising of collateral damage and scenario duration are key drivers.

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  • Operations Research
  • Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies

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