Thursday, July 22, 2010

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen Speaks on Operations Research

I just completed listening to the INFORMS podcast interview with Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He holds a Masters degree from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterrey, California.

It is a fantastic interview, conducted by Barry List, the Communications Director of INFORMS, and Peter Horner, the Editor of ORMS Today. In the interview, Admiral Mullen discusses the critical importance of operations research (O.R.) in military applications and how the needs for O.R. have changed over the past two decades. He talked about the issues of resources and constraints and the importance of optimization and systems thinking and even discussed linear and nonlinear programming.

I was really pleased to hear his ideas on logistics and supply chains and how important optimization is also in business, which was gratifying coming from a top military leader. In addition, his points about military assistance in disasters were extremely relevant and lessons learned from Haiti. He spoke of constraints, resources, and flows. He also emphasized the importance of systems thinking and how O.R. helps with framing problems, which is very useful.

He also emphasized how economic and business strength affects security.

He asked: "How do I optimize flowing the right information at the right time to those in the field and during warfare?"

You can listen to the interview in podcast form here. This interview should not be missed!