By By Maj. Chris Bachmann, West Point Dept. of System EngineeringSeptember 17, 2009
Major Matt Dabkowski, Dept. of Systems Engineering instructor and the team with which he worked, will be presented the 2009 Dr. Wilbur B. Payne Memorial Award for Excellence in Analysis at the upcoming Army Operations Research Symposium at Ft. Lee, Va., in October. The award is an Army-level honor that recognizes research that makes a significant contribution to the Army. This recognition is for his work in conjunction with the Office of the Army G-1 on forecasting individual Soldier deployment rates in the context of Army Force Generation.
The Army refers to the time a Soldier or Brigade Combat Team spends deployed in a combat environment as Boots on the Ground, or BOG. Conversely, the time a Soldier or BCT spends between deployments is known as "dwell." This BOG:Dwell ratio is an important, high-visibility statistic that serves as a leading indicator of recruiting, retention and morale issues for the Army, its Soldiers and their Families.
The Army's goal in the near future is a BOG:Dwell ratio of 1:2 with a long term goal of 1:3. Ideally, this translates into an individual Soldier spending one month deployed for every two months at home in the first case and three months home in the second.
Dabkowski served as the lead analyst from SE and worked collaboratively with Maj. Mark Zais of the Army G1's Strength Analysis and Forecasting Division.
"This was a fantastic opportunity for junior Operations Research analysts to attack a critical, Army-level problem with the skills and expertise I acquired in graduate school," he said.
The inspiration for the study came from former DSE faculty member Col. Kent Miller, who is now chief of the G1's Strength Analysis and Forecasting Division.
Before this study, the Army only reported BOG:Dwell ratios for the BCTs, which are typically better than the individual Soldier ratios. As a result of Dabkowski and Zais' work, the Army now has a mathematical equation for quickly and correctly calculating the BCTs BOG:Dwell ratios and a computer simulation which forecasts individual Soldier BOG:Dwell ratios.
Their analysis showed that the BCTs' BOG:Dwell ratios are hovering between 1:0.85 and 1:1. Consequently, it is not uncommon for young Soldiers to have spent nearly 50 percent of their initial time in the service deployed.
Earlier this year, Dabkowski and Zais briefed Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Peter Chiarelli on their findings.
"This is the most important briefing I have received in the past five years as a general officer," Chiarelli said at the conclusion of their briefing.
They also briefed Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. George Casey and Secretary of the Army Pete Geren at another meeting.
This work has had significant impact on Army decision-makers, who are leveraging the capabilities of the computer simulation to provide analysis and results for the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review.
This analysis will numerically demonstrate the future stress, because of the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, that will be experienced by individual Soldiers and could potentially change both Army structure policies and the resourcing provided to the Army.