Academic journal article McNair Papers

6. Decision Aids for Theater Strategy

Academic journal article McNair Papers

6. Decision Aids for Theater Strategy

Article excerpt

   With many calculations one can win; with few, one may not.
   How much less the chances for victory for one who makes
   none at all.

   Sun Tzu, The Art of War

The Regional Security Strategy Implementation Analysis (RSSIA) is one of the analytical tools that strategists use to evaluate key socioeconomic and stability indicators, examine conditions that make significant impact on a region, and see the effect that resources can have on its future growth. It is one tool that helps to maintain some degree of objectivity during the design of strategy, plans, and exercises and has strong potential to assist with interagency planning efforts. (1)

RSSIA began as an effort to assess the effectiveness of Southern Command Regional Strategy. It allowed strategic planners to compare the relative levels of political stability and socioeconomic potential throughout the region over time. It helps to identify the region's needs for long-term programmed resources and short-term immediate support requirements. RSSIA gathers subjective and objective information into data fields. This results in spread sheets that reflect where nations are in comparison to other nations within the region.


Once RSSIA provides a survey of the region and develops the appropriate indicators, the model then displays the relative positions of countries in the region. By adding and changing input factors the analyst can compare nations' responses to economic and political stimuli. The intent of the model was to create a tool that would allow the two factors (political stability and economic potential) to be placed with each other graphically on two axes, with the variable factors plotted on the existing graphic plane. Figure 13 shows an example of the spread sheet's final plot.


A Regional Analysis Support Package (RASP) is available to help organize the concepts and data that planners use in RSSIA. It provides four sets of interrelated data bases:

* An events database that tracks significant political, military and economic events

* A subject matter expert database that stores survey data

* A theory database that stores existing theory from many disciplines

* A statistical database that holds data over time. RASP allows the strategist to reassess RSSIA analysis based on new data and tailor information (text, lists, graphs) to the needs of the decisionmaker. 2 The various data bases contribute to the factors that the RSSIA model analyses.


To arrive at a plot like the example in figure 13, 28 factors are currently used; as the model continues to mature, additional factors are added. Following are some major factors currently used in the RSSIA model:

Communications infrastructure. Number of telephones per capita is used because it directly reflects internal communications. Also, programmers are building into the system the ability to capture cellular systems, satellite usage, and international courier data. The ability of industry in developing nations to communicate internationally is used for analysis.

Transportation infrastructure. Kilometers of rail, highways, and waterways are totaled and entered into the model. This factor reflects the ease of internal movement, but does not directly reflect the capacity of the infrastructure to support a nation's economic strategy. Potential refinements that can be introduced into this factor include freight costs from secondary cities and interior cities, tonnage of traffic per border point and anchorage. Important aspects are how well the host nation is maintaining its transportation network, the age and materials of roadbeds, and the appropriateness of the infrastructure to support nascent industries.

Access to energy. This factor includes kilowatt hours per capita's consumption, direct measurement of price per kilowatt hour for industry, number of hours of interrupted power in major industrial areas, and the number of major producers who rely primarily on private sources of power. …

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