Experimental measurement of utilities and analysis of attitudes toward risk of small-unit combat decision makers of the United States Army Infantry



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The purpose of this study is to experimentally measure and study certain utility functions based on combat situations of company-grade Infantry officers. Utility is measured by comparing the level of combat effectiveness preferred by a subject of a unit he commands to his estimated expected level of combat effectiveness for that unit, relative to a given combat situation. Estimates by the subject concerning a number of friendly units in this given combat situation provide the multiple points necessary for the construction of a utility curve. The effects of combat experience and the unit commanded on a military decision maker's attitude toward the risk of combat is also studied.