Optimizing multi-ship, multi-mission operational planning for the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander
Silva, Robert A.
Carlyle, W. Matthew
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Operational-level planners in Maritime Operations Centers aim to assign naval forces in support of combatant commanders efficiently and effectively, but they lack a software-based planning tool to develop optimal ship employment schedules. They must assign ships to particular missions spread throughout numerous regions over a particular time horizon to meet the combatant commander's force requirements. Currently, this is a manual process. We present Navy Mission Planner (NMP), a decision aid based on an integer linear program that allows efficient generation of candidate employment schedules. NMP uses constrained, stack-based enumeration of candidate employment schedules over the feasible region. Total enumeration can produce an enormous number of schedules--easily reaching quadrillions of feasible solutions. By constraining the enumeration to eliminate impractical schedules, we can manage the computational burden and provide the naval planner useful solutions containing a near-optimal set of employment schedules for each assigned ship over the planning horizon. We submit a realistic scenario and provide a credible, face-valid solution to the multi-ship, multi-mission assignment problem, with sets of employment schedules that are as good as or better than sets produced manually.
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