Abstract for: Systems Tools for Supporting Strategic Decision Making at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

This report covers efforts of a team of systems thinkers examining the functioning of different aspects of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and identify areas where systems thinking and systems dynamics modeling could be applied. The authors focused on the flood risk management mission of the Civil Works programs within USACE. The earlier stage of this project involved the authors external to USACE learning about the organization’s missions and business lines, with help of the internal author. Later the project took three separate but interrelated paths: The first part of the project led to a computer simulation modeling of USACE’s capital stocks, introducing the concept of aging chain in its capital stock management. The second part of the project used systems mapping to illustrate the complex relationship between various USACE and other flood risk management programs. The third part of the project developed a coastal protection simulation game with an accompanying case study. We believe there are ample opportunities for USACE to leverage the tools offered in system dynamics, and our project have demonstrated how system dynamics community of practice can be established at USACE as a tool for communication, strategic planning, and education.