Multiattribute Decision Modeling in Defense Applications

Contributing USMA Research Unit(s)

Systems Engineering

Publication Date


Publication Title

Handbook of Military and Defense Operations Research

Document Type



The role of decision analysis (DA) within military operations research (OR) is discussed. A technically sound and easy-to-apply approach for multiattribute problems is developed, based on an additive value model. This includes developing a value hierarchy based on stakeholder values, the identification of measures of value and the associated scales, the development of single-attribute value functions, and elicitation of attribute swing weights. Cost issues are addressed, as are issues of multiple stakeholders. An example from a military application is presented and developed from beginning to end. The ramifications of decisions under uncertainty are then considered and limitations and cautions identified for application of a linear model. Decision trees are described as the most straightforward way to model a chancy decision. Utility functions are introduced and contrasted with value functions. Some widely useful methods of sensitivity analysis are given. The emphasis is on practical methods that are technically sound but understandable by clients without special training in OR or DA, and on clear methods of presentation of results. The treatment is designed as a sufficient outline for a practitioner, but texts are recommended for those who want to go into more depth in the material.

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