Modern military technology can often be complex and very expensive to develop; therefore it is imperative that the right technology is chosen in operations planning or in acquisition processes. To evaluate the military utility of a technology is a multifaceted problem that deserves attention, since the consequences of failure to do so may be severe. Aspects to consider are not only the technology itself, but also what effect it will have on tactics, who the enemy is, whether it is actually allowed to use the technology and how well it can support in achieving the objective of a military operation.
The scope of this paper is to present a method that can be used for evaluation and ranking of the military utility of different technologies. The method presented in the paper is called “The process for military utility evaluation” (PMUE). It is a framework for how to do such evaluations, for example identifying important considerations and addressing the complexity of the problem of assessing military utility. PMUE is designed to be flexible enough to address different sorts of technological systems, to forecast military utility and handle what-if analyses.
PMUE is a step by step evaluation of different aspects of military utility, such as technological availability, legal limitations and scenario dependency. In PMUE these aspects are assembled into one final measurement of military utility for ranking purposes only.
In PMUE different methods of evaluation are used for different sub-evaluations, ranging from, for instance, actual testing and simulations to operations research and brainstorming. The reason for such an approach is due to the complexity of evaluating military utility; depending on which aspect to evaluate, certain methods lend themselves to be more or less useful. Choosing the most appropriate method for each sub-evaluation is a key to success in PMUE.
It is found that PMUE could be used for the evaluation of military utility; however it must first be properly tuned. The strength with PMUE is its ability to give simple answers to very complex questions; however the result of PMUE will never be better than the worst sub-evaluation in PMUE.
In order for PMUE to work knowledge, insight and willingness to unconditionally include all possible techniques and different areas of usage have to be included in the assessment. This requires extensive knowledge of the subject and understanding among the evaluators. Also it requires an open climate in the sense that no internal or external ideas, interests, prejudges that are either aware or unaware focus on or sort out concepts for other reasons than just the military utility.
The ability to make unbiased and well informed decisions in acquisition processes or operations planning is essential, since both taxpayer money and even national security might be at stake. PMUE is intended as a support to be used by the decision makers when making decisions of that nature.