High leverage interventions: three cases of defensive action and their lessons for OR/MS today.
Lane, D. C. (2010) High leverage interventions: three cases of defensive action and their lessons for OR/MS today. Operation Research, 58 (6). pp. 1535-1547. ISSN 1526-5463
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1287/opre.1100.0887
This paper has two aims. First, to present cases in which scientists developed a defensive system for their homeland: Blackett and the air defense of Britain in WWII, Forrester and the SAGE system for North America in the Cold War, and Archimedes’ work defending Syracuse during the Second Punic War. In each case the historical context and the individual’s other achievements are outlined, and a description of the contribution’s relationship to OR/MS is given. The second aim is to consider some of the features the cases share and examine them in terms of contemporary OR/MS methodology. Particular reference is made to a recent analysis of the field’s strengths and weaknesses. This allows both a critical appraisal of the field and a set of potential responses for strengthening it. Although a mixed set of lessons arise, the overall conclusion is that the cases are examples to build on and that OR/MS retains the ability to do high stakes work.