Risk in military operations
Howe, P. Gardner.
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This thesis explores the nature and dynamics of risks faced by political leaders and military commanders in the conduct of military operations. It develops a systematic approach to analyzing and an effective strategy for minimizing exposure to risks in military operations. This thesis describes a military operation's aggregate risk as the sum of two components: the risk of military failure and the risk of political failure. Each component is shown to be usefully represented as a cost-weighted probability and the significant variables affecting the costs of failure and the probability of failure are examined. Based on this conceptual framework, a mathematical model is formulated that illustrates the fluctuations in an operation's political, military and aggregate risk as a function of the amount of control delegated by the political leader to the military commander. Analysis of this model leads to a useful approach for enhancing the success of military operations: command and control arrangements that reflect the optimal delegation of control minimize the operation's aggregate risk and, therefore, increase the likelihood of operational success. The thesis concludes by testing this strategy of risk minimization in two historical case studies and in a hypothetical application to a commando-type special operation.
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