Operational planning with uncertain and ambiguous information: command and control and the natural environment
Pfeiffer, Karl D.
Hutchins, Susan G.
Kleinman, David L.
Kemple, William G.
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Operational planners, particularly military planners, are often faced with constructing a plan using ambiguous data in highly complex or rapidly evolving situations. Environmental information represents a particular challenge for planners. The state of the art in geophysical fluid dynamics leaves significant uncertainty in forecast conditions. Even with perfect knowledge of the future stste of ocean and atmosphere, translating these conditions into mission impacts can be difficult and result in ambiguity in interpretation. In this research, we examine the use of meteorology and oceanography (METOC) information by operational planners. An experiment was conducted using human subjects participating in a computer-mediated simulation. Player teams were charged with constructing plans to allocate assets to tasks in a five-day operational scenario. Players were required to integrate dynamic METOC information presented with varying levels of information richness (ambiguity in weather conditions) and varying levels of information structure (ambiguity in weather impacts). Plans were evaluated for both completeness and robustness, where robustness was assessed by considering the plan performance over the distribution of likely METOC conditions in the mission area. Results offer insight into the more effective employment of METOC personnel in the planning process, and into better presentation of METOC information to planners.
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