Defining and coping with wicked problems : the case of Fort Ord building removal
Schultz, Kevin P.
Luckey, David S.
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Globalization and interdependencies have given rise to a new type of problem-some call them "wicked". Wicked problems are confounding experts in many disciplines of study. They are inherent to policy and strategic planning issues in civilian and military settings. The traditional, linear methods of problem solving are inadequate to address the complexity of wicked problems, and thus require new methods of problem solving. This thesis begins with a review of the definitions of wicked problems and strategies for coping with them. In order to demonstrate the utility of these concepts to a military audience, the building removal aspect of the Fort Ord base closure is utilized as an illustration of a wicked problem. The thesis first identifies the characteristics of a wicked problem in the Fort Ord case, and then proposes a strategy for coping with Fort Ord building removal. The Fort Ord example is not unique within the Department of Defense, and lessons learned from this illustration are applicable not only to other closed bases and to future rounds of base closure, but also to other issues marked by complexity and interdependence.
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