An Examination of the Effects of the Criterion Function on Optimal Fire-Support Policies
Brown, Gerald G.
Taylor, James G.
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This paper examines the dependence of the structure of optimal time-sequential fire-support policies on the quantification of military objectives by considering four specific problems, each corresponding to a different quantiiication of objectives (i.e. criterion functional). We consider the optimal time-sequential allocation of supporting fires during the "approach to contact" of friendly infantry against enemy defensive positions. The combat dynamics are modelled by deterministic Lanchester-type equations of warfare, and the optimal fire-support policy for each one-sided combat optimization p~oblem is developed via optimal control theory. The problems are all nonconvex, and local optima are a particular di5culty in one of them. For the same combat dynamics, the splitting of supporting &es between t*o enemy forces in any optimal policy (i.e. the optiality of singular subarcs) is shown to depend only on whether the terminal payoff reflects the objective of attaining an "overall" military advantage or a "local" one. Additionally, switching times for changes in the ranking of target priorities are shown to be different (sometimes significantly) when the decision criterion is the difference and the ratio of the military worths (computed accolding to linear utilities) of total infantry survivors and also the difference and the ratio of the military worths of the combatants' total infantry losses. Thus, the optimal fie-support policy for this attack scenario is shown to be significantly influenced by the quantification of military objectives.
Naval Research Logistics Quarterly, 25, 1, pp. 183-211.
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