Navy operations research. (English) Zbl 1163.90311

Summary: This paper emphasizes OR’s utility to the U.S. Navy, as seen by its customers. Like many naval officers who subspecialized in operations research, the author was both producer and consumer of analysis toward improving fleet operations, Pentagon planning, and training effectiveness. Many of OR’s unnoticed heroes are officers and Navy civilians who, then and now, could put operations analysis to best practical use. The paper reaches three conclusions, which (briefly) are: (1) The U.S. Navy could shift much analytical talent to improve fleet readiness and scarcely notice a loss of quality in Washington, (2) the benefit of Navy OR in the Pentagon was not so much in formal decision making as it was in educating a stream of future leaders about the state of the Navy and cost-constrained possible future states, and (3) the distinguishing contribution of all OR has been and still is in helping executives make better, timely decisions by applying our special art of quantitative analysis, and only incidentally in the fidelity or complexity of the models and other tools we employ.


90Bxx Operations research and management science
01A60 History of mathematics in the 20th century
90-03 History of operations research and mathematical programming
Full Text: DOI