Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Operational Sciences

First Advisor

Jeffery K. Cochran, PhD.


Collateral damage presents a significant risk during air drops and airstrikes, risking citizens' lives and property, straining the relationship between the United States Air Force and host nations. This dissertation presents a methodology to determine the optimal location for making supply airdrops in order to minimize collateral damage while maintaining a high likelihood of successful recovery. A series of non-linear optimization algorithms is presented along with their relative success in finding the optimal location in the airdrop problem. Additionally, we present a quick algorithm for accurately creating the Pareto frontier in the multi-objective airstrike problem. We demonstrate the effect of differing guidelines, damage functions, and weapon employment selection which significantly alter the location of the optimal aimpoint in this targeting problem. Finally, we have provided a framework for making policy decisions in fast-moving troops-in-contact situations where observers are unsure of the nature of possible enemy forces in both finite horizon and infinite horizon problems. Through the recursive technique of solving this Markov decision process we have demonstrated the effect of improved intelligence and differing weights for waiting and incorrect decisions in the face of uncertain situations.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number