Maths of war

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Kromeriz, Apr 12, 2011.

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  1. Well, we do have a means of stopping this Red Queen race in it's tracks.

    We can play the same card I do when confronted by wasps buzzing round the BBQ, a can of RAID®.

    In Afghanistan we could deploy the equivalent in nice 400 Kiloton packages.
     
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  2. So, the statistician's tactical advice is to "change b".

    So how would do we do that? Well, we'd reduce the number of insurgent groups and try to increase the intervals between their attacks and decrease their severity.

    Now, I know I'm a cursed REMF so aren't allowed an opinion on "real warfighting" but 'reducing the number of insurgent groups' seems fairly similar to what is currently going on (a combination of encouraging the locals not to take part and to kick the Talibs out and robust action against those groups that remain). And the 'reduction of attacks' stuff seems fairly similar to the interdiction of their logistics that, amazingly, is also going on.

    Interesting but possibly not as helpful as they might want? Never mind that it boils down to "have fewer and less aggressive enemies" - which is hardly the wisdom of the new age, is it?
     
  3. Flammable solvents and open flames? That metaphor really does play out.
     
  4. Wordsmith

    Wordsmith LE Book Reviewer

    One of the earliest attempts to reduce war to a formula was by Lanchester.

    Lanchester's laws - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Lanchester worked out that if 10 men with rifles attacked 5, the attacking force's advantage was not numerical (i.e. 2:1) but related to the squares of the numbers on both sides (i.e. 100:25 or 4:1).

    Wordsmith
     
  5. These cosy economic theories tend to ignore the spatial dimension generally. However I wonder if Slywotsky's theories might be fiddled with in a defence context?


    edited to add: Oh shit! Well that's what to fill this afternoon with thinking about sorted...bugger.
     
  6. That makes about as much sense as a dick on a drumset. Talk about kicking open doors!

    It strikes me that some sciences -sociology, economics and such- go out of their way to prove stuff that everyone already knows. This report is one of that kind.
     
  7. Actually, whilst it may be a case of a mathematical stating of the obvious, this could have some useful implications.

    Consider being able to predict casualty rates/frequencies of attacks, surely there would be a logistical benefit to this in terms of the effective allocation of resources etc. Say, with this model, they then go on to model the requirements for a successful campaign for a given value of the varied constant, it could also prove useful in terms of planning an op wouldn't it? Mathematical models might not always provide us with an immediate use, but someone will eventually find one for it.
     
  8. Yes - I'm all in favour for statistical modelling as a contribution to logistical and higher level planning - even if it is down at the "how many rounds do we use in an average engagement" level. I'm less convinced by it as a tactical planning tool. However, once the actual paper is published it might be more useful than the Economist summary.
     
  9. 'Maths of War' - the children 'educated' under the Blair regime cannot do:

    'Maths of the Market Stall' !!!
     
  10. One advantage of this might be to give the generals a tool to make the politicos face the cost and manpower requirements of an operation BEFORE they actually launch it, although like all maths it will be as accurate as the inputs; so a wildly optimistic underestimate of the size of the possible enemy and hey "we can do this without a shot being fired"
     
  11. But its nothing new, we already do that with Operational Analysts at HQs
     
  12. Sorry, this really isn't a dig at you.

    More than they're willing to contribute

    More than we have available

    Haven't you ever heard of "need to know" (yes, I know you have - this is about them not you).

    Oh, yeh. I'll wait to see the full paper, though, before I give it both barrels of disdain. There might actually be something worthwhile in there. Unlikely, given the summary, but I'll cling to my delusions, thanks ...
     
  13. No offence taken. Like you I'd be interested to read the actual report.
     
  14. Unless of course the politicians want it done within the current budget or the budget will be cut, and the Generals tell them "Yes, Prime Minister, I can do it."