Methodology for interoperability-enabled adaptable strategic fleet mix planning
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Fleet sizing and mix problems, together with fleet mix scheduling problems, are frequently used to plan acquisitions over multiple time periods. However, no fleet sizing and mix problems have assessed the impact of interoperability between assets on the fleet purchasing decision. A challenge to investigating this question is the inability of many such methods to address a more generalized fleet planning problem: one in which fleets that have multi-mission assets and problem scenarios in which mission modeling at the operational level involves assets numbers that are orders of magnitude lower than at the strategic acquisitions level. Furthermore, in strategic decision making environments that are characterized as volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous, prior approaches frequently do not take into account whether a decision set is adaptable to changing mission or budget priorities. In this work, a methodology is created to allow the investigation of the effects of interoperability on the fleet purchasing decision by first addressing the gaps in prior methods. A fleet scaling method is developed in order to bridge the gap between operational-level missions and strategic-level fleets in a way that is computationally inexpensive. Next, a discussion regarding how best to capture trade-offs associated with the adaptability of fleet plans leads to the adaptation of a method from decision-theory literature to the problem. Finally, requirements and criteria for capturing the effects of interoperability modeling are created. This methodology, which serves as an initial framework for assessing this large problem, is instantiated with existing methods where possible to show that it does indeed enable the desired investigation to be conducted. A sample case study based on two World War II operations is used to form the basis of the multi-mission analysis, and to walk through each step of the methodology. The sample study compares the effects of interoperability on fleet plan adaptability compared to other asset design variables, the number of assets, and fleet cost. Interoperability is shown to be a significant enough effect in this simple example that there is evidence for including it in future assessments of fleet plan adaptability. Furthermore, the usefulness of a unified fleet plan adaptability methodology that can account for asset requirements, mission capability, and budget and mission preference uncertainty, is demonstrated.
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