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A Stochastic Program For Optimizing Military Sealift Subject To Attack

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We describe a stochastic program for planning the wartime, sealift deployment of military cargo that is subject to attack. The cargo moves on ships from U.S. or allied seaports of embarkation, to seaports of debarkation (SPODs) near the theater of war where it is unloaded and sent on to final, in-theater destinations. The question we ask is: Can a deployment-planning model, with probabilistic information on the time and location of potential enemy attacks on SPODs, successfully hedge against those attacks? That is, can this information be used to reduce the expected disruption caused by such attacks? We develop a specialized, stochastic mixed-integer program whose solutions answer that question in the affirmative for realistic deployment data. Furthermore, compared to the optimal deterministic solution, the stochastic solution incurs only a minor "disruption penalty" when no attack occurs, and outcomes for worst-case scenarios are better. Insight gained from the stochastic-programming approach also points to possible improvements in current, rule-based, scheduling methods.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5711/morj.14.2.19

Publication date: June 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • Military Operations Research is the leading peer-reviewed journal publishing articles in the fields that describe operations research (OR) methodologies and theories used in key military applications.

    MOR specifically invites papers that are significant military OR applications. Of particular interest are papers that present case studies showing innovative OR applications, apply OR to major policy issues, introduce interesting new problem areas, highlight educational issues, and document the history of military OR.
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