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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 13

I Colonial Origins

II First World War

III Between The World Wars

IV The Second World War

V Post-second World War

VI After The Joint Project

VII Science And Decisions At The Top

VIII Armed Services Technology

IX New Tasks And Projects

X Transfer Of Research And Development

XI Acknowledgement



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Science And Decisions At The Top

The techniques of operational research used in the Second World War were further developed in the fifties and sixties. Groups at ARL and WRE worked on mathematical assessment techniques, operational effectiveness and systems assessment, especially for weapons evaluation and trials at Woomera. The Scientific Advisers to the Military, Naval and Air Boards maintained small groups of operational researchers on their staffs, and scientists were deployed overseas in the Field Operations Research Section (FORS) in Vietnam, the Military Research and Development Centre (MRDC) Bangkok, and in Singapore.

The formation of an establishment dedicated to the application of scientific and technological advice and analytical expertise to defence planning was advocated by G. G. Schaefer and W. N. Hurst of ARL and B. Gilroy of WRE. The concept was accepted and the Central Studies Establishment (CSE) was formed in Canberra under the leadership of W. Watson in 1969. It was to be closely linked to the Department of Defence's major captial equipment cycle at all stages, e.g. requirements formulation, identification of solutions, feasibility studies, brand selection, tests and trials including war gaming.

Its first major work was the Naval Air Power and Tactical Air Weapons Systems study (NAP/TAWS).[67] This sought to compare alternative force structures with and without sea-based airpower in various forms by way of scenario analysis; sea surveillance and reaction, shipping protection, anti-shipping, air defence, offensive air support, and military movement were included. By a process of military judgment (military officers were included in the team) and analytical method, force mixes were compared and costs were assigned. The task was a watershed in defence analysis and was enormously large and complex. About 50 man years of in-house work was done under the leadership of Hurst and A. R. Taylor, supported by incalculable support from departmental and service officers.

From about 1975, CSE broadened its efforts to include logistics, manpower and ongoing operations, but force structure analysis remained its primary function. An important study was the Air Defence Study of 1976-78. In 1981 a comparison of RAAF Tactical Fighter Force cost and effectiveness in peace and in war when equipped with either the F/A 18 or variants of the F16 was completed.

These and numerous other studies such as aircraft carrier capabilities, and short take-off/vertical take-off aircraft comparisons have contributed objective components to the defence decision making process. But of course that process includes other non-quantitative components which have to be combined with the scientific input.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Aeronautical Research Laboratories; Central Studies Establishment (C.S.E.); Field Operations Research Section (F.O.R.S.); Military Research and Development Centre (M.R.D.C.); Weapons Research Establishment (W.R.E.)

People in Bright Sparcs - Gilroy, B.; Hurst, W. N.; Schaefer, G. G.; Taylor, A. R.; Watson, W.

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© 1988 Print Edition pages 960 - 961, Online Edition 2000
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