A tabu search approach to strategic mobility mode selection
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The complexity of military logistics and force deployment modeling requires the use of advanced computer models for analysis. The last twenty years has not only seen a concerted effort to improve the fidelity of these models, but development to improve their interconnectivity. The area of strategic mobility has received greater interest in the last decade as the US Military has become more reliant on a force projection posture rather than prepositioning its forces outside the continental United States. Strategic mobility describes how forces within the continental U.S. are deployed in support missions outside the continental U.S. This posture combined with the ever shrinking military budget and force size has placed increased emphasis on the capability to efficiently deploy personnel, equipment and support materiel. Mobility modeling is conducted at various levels of the mobility planning process. The result is a myriad of models addressing different aspects of the process. Current models addressing strategic mobility use aggregate network flow models, one-pass greedy approaches and simple bounding techniques. This paper presents and overview of these models and a new approach to improving the scheduling and assignment process using Adaptive Tabu Search. The results are then compared to current day solutions using the most widely used military model (JFAST). This approach considers current model limitations, then relaxes limitations of preserving pre-defined port assignments and then relaxes limitations of preserving pre-defined mode assignments. Analyses of all three new solutions are presented.