Date of Award

Spring 1996

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Engineering Management & Systems Engineering


Engineering Management

Committee Director

Billie M. Reed

Committee Member

Resit Unal

Committee Member

Han Bao

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.E555 W45


Among the various missions and levels in a military organization, the term "Combat Readiness" is defined in many ways. To a unit-level command, such as an aircraft squadron, it simply refers to the unit's capability to perform its assigned mission when called upon. The proof of that capability is evident in the aftermath of combat, however, it is too late at that point to address any shortcomings that may exist. The problem is, how can the unit effectively define, continuously measure, and confidently forecast its ability to perform in combat? A quantitative model based upon historical data that encompasses all aspects of readiness within the command would be useful in addressing this problem. This research seeks to develop such a model that uses existing unit level data to measure and project combat readiness.

A squadron's level of readiness does not remain static over time. Every unit in the military organization moves through a cycle of standardized training and deployment. Readiness levels change with fluctuations in the tempo of operations and the numbers of personnel and equipment. A comprehensive data-based procedure for measuring these changes at the unit level does not exist. Data is continuously collected within each unit on a wide variety of items, from the mission-specific to the mundane. This data is routinely packaged and forwarded to higher levels of command for review and decision-making purposes. Very little of this information, however, is retained and used by the individual unit.

Readiness measurement in the military is not a new subject, but its focus in the past has primarily been upon large-scale forces. Military capability is a common subject in reference to defense budgets and weapon procurement, but these measures are usually based upon financial considerations, and not combat performance. The supply or logistics branch of the military has done considerable work in building mathematical models of military capability. However, they generally link readiness with sustainability of forces instead of performance in combat.

The concept of readiness for an individual unit is thoroughly defined by examining critical areas of structural and operational readiness. A model of mission execution is constructed to identify possible points of measurement. To prevent the creation of extra work for the command, established data fields are reviewed and sorted among the defined critical areas. These fields are reviewed individually, using various statistical methods such as regression analysis and time series decomposition, to determine characteristics such as trends, seasonality, and cycle. The data fields that are considered significant are grouped together into fourteen equations that form the readiness model.

This collection of quantitative measurements gives a comprehensive view of a unit's ability to perform its mission. The command can then use this information to determine its current capability, track its progress through training cycles, and forecast its readiness levels into the near future with some confidence.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).