ARCHIVES - A Good START with LINDO
In September of 1989, the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) between the U.S. and the USSR was approaching the final stages. After years of negotiations, a major unresolved issue was the weapon drawdown limits. United States analysts used LINDO to help determine negotiation positions regarding these limits and to assess the final START agreement.
Treaty drawdown limits are time-phased strategic force reduction schedules, e.g., Minuteman IIIs will be reduced by 50 per year for seven years. Analysts for the U.S. developed a linear programming model and used LINDO to quickly assess the feasibility and impact of each set of drawdown limits under consideration.
The decision variables of the model were the number of available systems/weapons in each period. The objective was to maximize total military capability over the seven year period. Constraints were used to maintain the feasible alternatives (i.e., alternatives in which modernized weapons could be introduced as planned and enough weapons in inventory destroyed in time to meet the drawdown limits.
LINDO determined the best combination of systems and warheads to be retained each year during the drawdown period. How many other software packages do you know of who have been used successfully to support important national security arms control decisions?
If you are interested in details of the START application, check out the article by Owens, Parnell and Bivins in the May-June 1996 issue of Operations Research.
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