Give him all the freedom that physics, engineering, and economics will allow

Sunday, October 29th, 2017

Techniques of Systems Analysis briefly considers unconventional tactics:

There are two parts to this, the enemy’s and your own. For the enemy, you are very interested in examining whether in plugging up one hole you have forced him to another hold which may be equally disastrous to you. That is, you have to examine the recommended system and ask, “What can the enemy do to circumvent it?” In doing this examination one must give him all the freedom that physics, engineering and economics will allow.

(We have deliberately left out social and political restraints. In the first pass at a problem one looks at capabilities and not intentions. While one may wish or need to modify his results to take account of such constraints on the enemy’s behavior, it is often very hard to do this in a reasonable fashion. Usually, trying to exploit such constraints mean dealing in Low Confidence measures. These of course can be useful. It is, however usually much more important to consider possible social and political restraints on one’s own behavior than on the enemy’s. Unless he explicitly and carefully considers such limitations, the analyst may find again that he is really dealing in Low Confidence measures even though from the viewpoint of technical capabilities it may look like a High Confidence measure.)

All too often one finds studies which are designed against a specific enemy tactic rather than against the enemy himself.

There are strong psychological reasons for this. As long as a system has obvious holes, there is no reason for the enemy or us to consider subtle tactics. However, by eliminating these holes one has, in effect, forced the enemy to try to be clever. Under these circumstances he may consider tactics which once seemed far-fetched and improbable. Unfortunately, one may have to overcome a great deal of mental inertia (one’s own as well as others) before one can take unaccustomed threats seriously, early enough to take effective action.

For our own side, as we mentioned before, the major objective of the Systems Analyst is not to analyze a given system but to design a system which will fulfill certain objectives satisfactorily. In doing this, he may also have to consider unorthodox or unconventional tactics in addition to recommending the development or procurement of new types of equipment.

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