Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
CORMSIS Centre for Operational Research, Management Sciences and Information Systems

CORMSIS Seminar Event

16:00 - 17:00
22 January 2015
Room 02/3041

For more information regarding this event, please telephone Sally Brailsford on 23567 or email .

Event details

OR to strategic issues at the Ministry of Defence


This talk will describe some of the applications of Operational Research to policy and strategy issues for the UK Ministry of Defence over the past decade. In 2005, much of MOD's operational research was focused on improving the design of equipment and on balancing investments. These problems were well-supported by quantitative methods including simulation, spreadsheet modelling and optimisation. However, the focus of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory's Operational Research has moved over the past decade to increasingly address "wicked" human-centred problems including the nature of conflict, influence, deterrence, stabilisation, organisational design, recruitment and retention. This talk will give examples of the range of methods used to address these problems, including statistical and historical analysis, multi-criteria decision analysis, system dynamics, wargaming and agent based modelling. It will also focus in more detail on the methods used to test strategic plans for Afghanistan, and for improving senior decision making processes within the MOD.

Speaker information

Rob Solly,DSTL, is a Senior Principal Analyst with over 20 years of experience in operational research and decision support for the UK Ministry of Defence. After an engineering degree in Aeronautics & Astronautics, Rob conducted research to assess and improve the effectiveness of aircraft, ships, communications and surveillance systems. His teams' analysis informed the UK Government's decisions to invest in the Joint Strike Fighter and Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carrier, unmanned combat air vehicles, and defensive aids for aircraft. In 2005, Rob was made a Fellow of the Operational Research Society. Rob then spent six years leading the analysis of alternative strategies, planning assumptions and force structures for the MOD, culminating in the 2010 UK Strategic Defence and Security Review and the 2011 Defence Reform Review; including a one year secondment to the Pentagon leading the US DOD's analysis for the 2009 Quadrennial Defense Review. From 2011 to 2014, Rob led an initiative to improve the use of analysis and evidence across the MOD, building an analytical community from different professions and forging links with MOD's policy community. Rob now engages on these issues more widely as chair of the OR Society's special interest group on public policy design. He is currently the technical lead for Dstl's Strategy and Capability research programme and the co-ordinator of Dstl's preparatory work for the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review.

Privacy Settings