learning with professionals - Higgins Counterterrorism Research ...


learning with professionals - Higgins Counterterrorism Research ...

■ Required vs. Desired. In addition to accuracy, other specifications, such as technical

parameters or level of output detail, generally have increased costs as the specifications

become more stringent.

■ Marginal Cost. Marginal or incremental cost bears a similar relationship to cost as

synergy does to value. One or many requirements might be satisfied with a single

element of cost, whether measured as a single minute, image, etc.

■ Cost Apportionment. The cost of a collection mission must be apportioned among

all the requirements against which collection was attempted, not just those for

which collection was successful.

The explanation of the impact of the situation on cost follows the discussion on issues,

unlike the section on value, for two reasons. First, other elements besides the consumption

of an asset’s time and the situational impact on consumption contribute to the determination

of cost. Second, the actual cost to collect information can vary radically from

the expected cost. The situation certainly impacts expected value, but value is determined

primarily in pre-collection planning mode. On the other hand, the cost of collection is

subject to the pitfalls of reality and the laws of probability during execution.

In addition to the generic factors itemized above, the following situational factors

could impact the calculation of an asset’s time to collect against a specific requirement. To

some degree, the collection requirements manager should be able to estimate the impact

of these factors on the time calculation.

■ Weather. Anticipated adverse weather conditions could cause a deviation in a normal

flight path or require a sensor to extend its dwell time in order to adequately

sense the target. Weather could also prevent collection from taking place at all.

■ Terrain. Like weather, terrain (especially man-made changes such as battle damage

or camouflage) could limit sensor access so that greater dwell time is required to

sense the target.

■ Enemy. The enemy could threaten an asset and hinder access so that fewer targets

could be sensed in a single mission. Hence the cost per requirement would be


■ Friendlies. Because of the imposition of restrictive rules of engagement, the time

required to collect certain information may increase. Flight paths may be curtailed

or the availability of certain desirable terrain, such as high ground, may be reserved

for operational forces.

■ Recent Asset History. The state of the asset, such as maintenance level, or of its

operators, including the level of sleep deprivation, will affect the efficiency of the

asset and hence time consumption. Overtasking could also result in inefficiencies

and human error.

■ Use of Marginal Assets. Because of issues related to asset capabilities, accessibilities,

and availabilities, in addition to the factors noted above, some assets may only

be marginally capable of collecting against a requirement. If marginal assets were

selected to execute the collection mission, their anticipated inefficiencies may


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