System of Systems Engineering for Policy Design
Bristow, Michele Mei-Ting
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A system of systems (SoS) framework is proposed for policy design that takes into account the value systems of multiple participants, harnesses the complexity of strategic interactions among participants, and confronts the risks and uncertainties present in participants’ decision making. SoS thinking provides an integrative and adaptive mindset, which is needed to tackle policy challenges characterized by conflict, complexity, and uncertainty. With the aim of putting SoS thinking into practice, operational methods and tools are presented herein. Specifically, SoS engineering methodologies to create value system models, agent-based models of competitive and cooperative behaviour under conflict, and risk management models are developed and integrated into the framework. The proposed structure, methods and tools can be utilized to organize policy design discourse. Communication among participants involved in the policy discussion is structured around SoS models, which are used to integrate multiple perspectives of a system and to test the effectiveness of policies in achieving desirable outcomes under varying conditions. In order to demonstrate the proposed methods and tools that have been developed to enliven policy design discourse, a theoretical common-pool resources dilemma is utilized. The generic application illustrates the methodology of constructing ordinal preferences from values. Also, it is used to validate the agent-based modeling and simulation platform as a tool to investigate strategic interactions among participants and harness the potential to influence and enable participants to achieve desirable outcomes. A real-world common pool resources dilemma in the provisioning and security considerations of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore is examined and employed as a case study for applying strategic conflict models in risk management. Overall, this thesis advances the theory and application of SoS engineering and focuses on understanding value systems, handling complexity in terms of conflict dynamics, and finally, enhancing risk management.
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