A Future Officer Career Management System: An Objectives-Based Design

By Harry J. Thie; Margaret C. Harrell et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter Four
OBJECTIVES OF THE OFFICER CAREER
MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

Chapter Three discussed the alternatives we designed for the career system. Choice of alternatives hinges on what the officer career management system is trying to accomplish, that is, its objectives. This chapter describes how we identified the objectives for an officer career management system and how we determined policymaker preferences for them.

Determining the objectives that will be the basis for decisions is a crucial step in multiobjective decision analysis, because “the set of objectives used to evaluate the alternatives … is the foundation on which any analysis rests.”1

Formulating objectives has several important effects. First, specifying objectives compels decisionmakers to recognize and define their goals. Second, it fosters ideas and creates alternatives.2 Third, evaluating alternatives and selecting the best combination for a future career system hinges on the set of objectives. Finally, the objectives permit discussion, description, and debate about the proposed system. E. S. Quade notes that one way policy analysis and systems analysis, which include multiobjective decision analysis, differ from economics and other fields is in “consider[ing] the problem of what ought to be done as well as how to do it.”3 A well-defined set of objectives permits this consideration.

____________________
1
Ralph L. Keeney, “Structuring Objectives for Problems of Public Interest,” Operations Research, Vol. 36, No. 3, May–June 1988, p. 396.
2
Ibid., p. 404.
3
E. S. Quade, Analysis for Public Decisions, New York: American Elsevier, 1975, p. 84.

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