Operations analysis or operations research is a technical discipline based in large measure on mathematical modeling, statistical analysis, and mathematical optimization that has broad application to decision making processes. Originating in World War II with efforts to improve the effectiveness of military operations, operations analysis has proven to be a useful decision aid in commercial as well as military and other government operations and projects. Our corporate experience and expertise in operations analysis is derived principally from long-term application of these techniques to military operations. Operations analysis is an ASI core competency that we also bring to the systems acquisition and systems engineering processes of our customers.
Rarely can classic operations analysis optimization techniques be applied to real-world problems with any degree of scientific rigor. An approach that we have found useful in support of large systems acquisitions and which relies heavily on various manifestations of operations analysis is summarized in the following table.
Candidate Operations Analysis Technique
|Understand technical capabilities of legacy system||Provides the baseline for determining the additional technical capabilities that new technology can provide|
|Determine operational performance of legacy system||Provides the baseline for establishing the additional operational capability that a new system can provide||Trial or experimental design; measures of performance; data collection; data and statistical analysis|
|Build system model||Establishes relationship between operational performance and system technical capabilities||Mathematical modeling and possibly simulation|
|Validate system model||Builds confidence in system model||Statistical analysis|
|Assess state of technology||Determines the new technical capabilities that can be incorporated into the system|
|Establish system trade space||Provides structure for system trade studies|
|Perform system trade studies||Provides estimates of system performance and its dependency on system technical capabilities and operational constraints||Mathematical optimization may be possible for some elements of the trade space|
Beyond this example of operations analysis applications to a system acquisition, our experienced staff of operations analysts have worked on a wide variety of operations analysis problems that include
- Analyses of U.S. Navy fleet and Marine Corps operations, exercises, and systems,
- Analyses of intelligence collection operations to establish patterns, changes in patterns, and changes in the collection environment,
- Statistical analyses to support forensic analysis of system failures, and
- Analyses to support customer strategic and tactical decision making in the presence of uncertain and ambiguous data and information.
Operations analysis is an important tool that finds application in many of the engineering services that we provide our customers.