Optimization models and system dynamics simulations to improve military manpower systems

Downes, Patrick McNally
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Manpower policy decisions are an extension of traditional operations management problems. Manpower policies strive to place the appropriate and accurate numbers of the correct types of people in the right jobs at the necessary time. Managers create inventory by hiring new workers, either in entry level or more senior positions. Over time, managers promote workers to satisfy demand for more advanced positions. Managers face the challenge of determining the number of people to hire into entry level positions, the number of people already in the work force to promote to more senior level positions, and in some open systems when and how many experienced employees to hire into these senior positions. This dissertation studies and develops three different methods and approaches to provide improved decision support to a healthcare organization’s manpower system. Our research goal is to design models of the organization’s manpower system to improve human resource operations. The healthcare system of interest is the United States Army’s Medical Department (AMEDD). The research will be arranged in three sections. We explore current practices and build improved optimization manpower system models. We use multi objective decision analysis techniques to enhance the optimization models. Lastly, we construct a system dynamics simulation model of the manpower system to address the limitations in the optimization models. There are three main contributions of this dissertation to the operations management literature. First, the development of improved manpower optimization models can be extended to other manpower systems. Second, we develop a technique to assess the manpower system value based on a series of value scoring transformation functions and weighting the over two hundred sub objectives in the optimization manpower system’s objective function. This application of multiple objective decision analysis makes it possible to compare different manpower systems. The system dynamics simulation of a military manpower system is new to the operations management literature as is how we use the system dynamics simulation to update optimization model parameters to construct a more realistic manpower system model.