Maritime military decision making in environments of extreme information ambiguity an initial exploration
Reeves, Andrew T.
Hutchins, Susan G.
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This thesis examines the following hypothesis: Through the combined use of common training and collaborative planning, a decision maker may sufficiently alleviate the harmful effects of an environment of information so that he/she can continue to make effective decisions. An environment of extreme information ambiguity, a dependent variable, is one of the most difficult components of a battle where the decision maker may reach a confusing and debilitating point where surviving seems less and less likely. Common training, an independent variable, purports that everyone who is relevant to the situation in the battlespace has similar skills, education, doctrine, and standards of performance coupled with comparable experiences. Collaborative planning, an independent variable, connotes a sharing of ideas; synchronization of assets, use of information technology, global real-time mission planning, face-to-face meetings, and other information sharing techniques for situations of collective concern. This thesis is a unique and in depth exploration of the relation of these three variables. Until now, no other research has looked at the relation of common training and collaborative planning with respect to decision making in environments of extreme information ambiguity. In order to explore the model the researcher analyzed two historical military battles: the Battle of Trafalgar and the Battle of Midway. Detailed research using a case study method was conducted to determine if the battles substantiated the thesis model. Research results indicate that for the maritime battles studied, the model appears to be a useful tool for interpretation and description of events and their outcomes. However, future studies should also increase the number and type of battles and other factors such as time and leadership should be considered.
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